Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reflections: Conservative Charity as Seen Through the Lens of Haiti

As an avowed lefty, my response to the earthquake in Haiti has been to unapologetically encourage others to throw money at it. If something’s broken and you need to fix it, it’s going to cost you. If you need to throw it out, it’ll cost you to buy a replacement. If the better option is to repair it and the job is too big, or too far above your skill level to constitute a do-it-yourself-project, then you’re going to need to hire Mr. Fixit to do the job. And he doesn’t come cheap. The Haitians have comparatively little money. I have, ergo I give.

But that’s pinko me.

I have also been following quite closely the conservative response to this disaster (exiled as I am in culturally-challenged, constitutionally crimson Ohio). At the surface level, the republican/libertarian rhetoric regarding Haiti has been borderline acceptable. All agree that the event (though God’s will) has been a disaster and unanimously tsk, cluck, and shake a downcast head at the tragedy of the human slaughter and the magnitude of the infrastructural destruction.

As an enthusiastic lifelong [not to say “highly skilled”] practitioner of textual analysis, however, I have been able to discern some disturbing subtextual and intralinear vibrations emanating from the rightwing of our national bird. I will now generously broaden your understanding of the Big Picture by sharing a few of my insights.

An ideological conservative, just below the threshold of public speculation, reasons that the typical Haitian (being rather ostentatiously Black), should he have been fortunate enough to become an American, would instantly, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, also have become a Democrat; which is to say, a socialist. This reasoning is bolstered, if not proven beyond refute, by the fact that the native tongue of the Haitian people, although commonly known as “Creole,” is in reality a kind of degenerate form of French. A-ha! says our conservative. Are the Frogs socialists? Well, does a boiling moule poop in the soup? I mean, just take a gander at their health care system! Moreover, if you take the time to Google the issue, you’ll soon discover that actual French, as spoken in socialist strongholds such as Paris and Montreal, is a second official language in socialist Haiti. (Btw—our conservative is likely to point out—not only is a Frenchman an avowed socialist, but he also has yet to discover deodorant. Walk into an elevator with Pierre, you might as well be bulldozing corpses into a trench outside of Port-au-Prince for the stench of it!)

Now this next item in our analysis pertains largely to that segment of the conservative base known collectively as “evangelicals.” While most evangelicals, other than a handful of “televangelists,” are reluctant to lay an “act of God” at the actual sandaled feet of the Deity, one never quite knows, does one? It was, perhaps, not politically correct for the Rev. Pat Robertson to jump up on his hind legs and call the Haitians “devil-worshippers” on television, where children could hear it and repeat it on the playground. It is true, however, that Haitians are wont to answer the call of the midnight drums, gathering in the steamy jungle forests to take part in black magic voodoo rites, as often portrayed by Hollywood, or on the Discovery Channel. In this country, our own slaves sometimes tried to sneak away—despite all the advantages they’d been given in being brought to these Christian shores—to participate in similar dark ceremonies. For this reason, conservative traditionalists know a bit about what is spoken of here.

The logical conclusion to which these conservative musings redound is the same logical conclusion which conservatism is so very consistent in coming to: that the Haitians have in some way contrived to stage this whole “earthquake” scenario in order to play on the emotions of decent, hard-working Americans. These same hope, thereby, to extort additional and bigger handouts from the bleeding heart liberal big government socialists in Washington. How did these grasping, Third World supplicants pull off this seeming miracle? Well, as our monotonously Pro-Life brethren of the popish persuasian might say, “It’s a mystery.”

A "mystery" perhaps. But the facts speak for themselves.

In conclusion—our conservative quietly surmises—the best way we can help these poor bastards is by helping them minimally, if at all. They must learn to help themselves. Okay, sure--if we can supply a few canned goods and a couple of crates of shovels to get them started on the task at hand, well, why not? But throwing money at the problem, in this—as in every other—case, is not the answer.

I hope that this progressive analysis of conservative charity has served to enlarge in breadth and depth the understanding of my readership on the subject.