Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts and Haiti

Today is the special election in Massachusetts to fill the late Senator Edward Kennedy's Senate seat. If the Democrat wins, we get health insurance reform. If she doesn't, we probably don't. It all comes down to this. I can only begin to imagine how Senator Kennedy would feel knowing that his seat -- that one vote -- could derail the year's worth of progress that has been made.

You do understand, don't you, that there will be no second chances, right? If we don't get whatever we can get this time around, we will get nothing. There will never again be 60 votes in the Senate for reform -- at least not in the foreseeable future.

As I said in my post yesterday, I wish those who are skeptical about reform would answer the phones here for a couple of days. There is deep human tragedy abounding. In America. The wealthiest country in the world. The reform bill Congress has negotiated falls way short of an ideal, but people with pre-existing conditions will get insurance. People who are lower middle-class will get subsidies. It's far from perfect, but it's better than nothing, and nothing is the only alternative.

Speaking of tragedy, I've been hemming and hawing about what to say about Haiti. I thought it was really distasteful to get emails from other American nonprofits last week, right after the earthquake. I also know that we and other American nonprofits are suffering from the economy, so it's hard to tell people to give elsewhere. But when push comes to shove, I have to tell you: Give elsewhere, to Haiti.

There are many ways to give. My personal choice is Partners in Health, which provides health care supplies and assistance. Network for Good has a group of stores where your purchases will be used to help Haiti earthquake victims. Oxfam is an international aid organization that is focusing on Haiti. There's also Doctors without Borders and, of course, the Red Cross.

Keep in mind that, if you give by credit card, the charity will lose part of your donation to a transaction fee, so sending checks is an option that avoids this.

There is tragedy in the United States, but not on the scale of what we are seeing in Haiti. I don't have a lot of money to give, just like the rest of you. But giving anything is better than giving nothing. In a tragedy of this proportion, no amount is too small. Send a child a bottle or water or some food or some medical supplies or assistance.

But please do something. Jennifer

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer maybe it's not all lost? Or am I clinging to straws?