Pat Robertson is an idiot and how we can help Haiti

So let me get this straight; because a few Haitian slaves promised their souls to the devil if he helped them expel their captors and become free, 200 years later an earthquake is God’s punishment? Do I have this straight? Well according to the evangelist Pat Robertson this is in fact the reason why Haiti just experienced the nation’s worse natural disaster in over 200 years. As a former Christian and religious scholar I can tell you dear readers this is not the type of sentiment shared by Jesus ( but possibly by the god I read about in Genesis, now there is a guy who holds a grudge!). Seriously, please do not believe Robertson’s statement. The idea that the slaves made a pact with the devil comes from 1700 propaganda put out after the successful slave revolt. How else could god fearing slave owning Christians account for such an act?

Thankfully the Christian Science Monitor has come out with an article denouncing Robertson’s statement. They call him laughable; I call him a dangerous idiot. Just once I would like the Christian god to come down and strike people like Robertson.

Last night I was so enraged over Robertson‘s statement I researched charities who are helping in the Haitian relief effort. I wanted to see how much of our money really goes to the needy and how much goes to “administrative costs”. Both the Red Cross and United Way have large over head costs yet the Red Cross says on average .92 cents out of every dollar goes to relief effort. I want to believe them, but since the CEO makes almost a million dollars a year, I have my doubts. The United Way does not say how much goes to relief and reading their financial statements is like reading about government bureaucracy.

“The Board of Trustees helps strengthen the United Way system’s leadership role in nonprofit accountability practices by providing thought leadership on numerous strategically-focused committees.

Finance, Audit and Compliance committee members are charged with fiduciary oversight, including overseeing internal and external audits, and ensuring compliance with financial procedures and federal/state legal requirements.

Community Impact and Resource Development committee members are charged with developing strategic partnerships, including strengthening donor relationships and identifying priority public policy issues.

Governance committee members are charged with the board nomination process, including identifying and nominating individuals representing the diversity of society and overseeing performance and evaluation of current trustees.”

Sounds top heavy to me. I want to know how much of my money goes to relief, not how they are structured.

Over at The Clinton Foundation I found that 98% of all money donated goes to relief. I had to do some math while looking at the tax return and financial statements. I was really impressed by the transparency of the foundation (after all, we are talking about Bill Clinton). It so happened that as I was looking NPR had the former president on. He talked about what Haiti needs most; water, lots and lots of water. The infrastructure has collapsed so the water is not flowing. People will die due to lack of water. The former president promised that a $10.00 donation will supply a lot of water. So I decided to donate some money; and did so in part because of what the idiot Robertson said. If we all donated $10.00 we will not only help the Haitians but we will show Robertson that his words have the opposite effect. Let us show him he may be the one who made a pact with the devil.

Sunday, no Monday Rant. What happened to being polite?

My weekly rant is a day late; last night my family took my son out for his 18th birthday. By the time we returned it was late and I was too tired to properly rant. Andy Rooney can do it every Sunday, but not me, some Sundays I do not feel curmudgeonly.

So this week I have been paying a lot of attention to public comments made by everyday people in reaction to news articles and Facebook posts. When did we stop being a polite society and turn into a society where people feel the need to point out other’s failings or write snarky posts just because they can?

I used to like reading the comment section in the Huffington Post. I like to know how others feel about issues and the state of our country. As someone who always likes a good discussion, these kinds of sites gave me a good platform in which to engage with other people. But lately it seems that the comments section is turning into a high school classroom where it is more important to be heard than listen. We cannot learn from each other if we refuse to listen to each other. And what’s up with people who have nothing to add to the conversation but love to point out other’s spelling errors? Each time I read one of these snarky posts I want to reach out and hit the poster with either a large Oxford dictionary or Miss Manner’s book. Who are these grammar and spelling police and why do they do this? Is there a large section of society that finds it thrilling to point out a misspelled word? I’d like to see them do something constructive with their time. Can’t they take up a different hobby, like sky diving sans parachute?

I understand a lot of people who respond to news articles are simply stating their opinion and venting frustration but when they cross the line and start knocking other posters it becomes clear these are simply close minded people who only want to be heard whether they have a valid point or not. We all have an uncle like this, and while we put up with family, it hard to put up with a room filled with angry old men who spout hate like kids spouting baseball stats. (Do kids still talk baseball?)

What really confounds me is when people post snarky comments for absolutely no reason at all. Two days ago Barns & Nobel posted a thank you to all those who bought the Nook. Here is a Facebook site devoted to all things B&N and one would assume only have followers who liked B&N. Not so it seems. Along with members thanking B&N for the Nook and writing about how much it is enjoyed were posts from Kindle users who made remarks like “try all you want, it is not a Kindle” or “You wish it was as good as a kindle”. WTF? This was not an open debate between the two e-readers yet some people went out of their way to post as if it was. Why? Does this make them feel better about themselves? Are these the same people who in school had to pick on someone weaker? Is this yet another way to feel cool and hip? What happened to being polite? What happened to keeping quite when there is nothing good to say?

I expect this type of behavior when I am reading about politics and religion. These two subjects can generate snarky, mean spirited and ugly remarks like nothing else. Unfortunately it seems this type of “debating” style is bleeding over into other areas in society. The internet is showing us people like to “get into” with others over even the smallest subjects. Many in our society are losing the ability to hold their tongues or articulate a point without putting someone else down. It is sad and I am getting sick of it. I long for the day when we could agree to disagree.
There I feel better, I ranted without generalizing (I hope, if not I apologize) or calling anyone a horrid name. If I spelled something wrong (which I do from time to time) I don’t want to know. What I do want to know is what, Dear Readers you think of public comments. Does any of this faze you and if so how do you deal with them? What do you do when one of your comments is followed up by a snarky unnecessary reply? Have you ever gotten into it with someone else? Come on, let’s rant about this together!

Yes, I am feeling old; my son turned 18 and it hit me last night, I am not officially a parent of an adult! I am too young to have an adult child, I swear I am!