Sunday, January 24, 2010

I don't get it.

**Please don't get me wrong**, I am glad that so many people are coming together to raise money and send help to Haiti with this telethon, but I just don't understand what it is about America or about celebrities that makes us think that this one superstar-studded telecast will solve all the world's problems, and by participating we can somehow make up for all the other days out of the year when we only think about ourselves. Does it make us feel better to ignore problems at home and think we are the big bad studs coming to save poor Haiti? I can't decide if the trendiness or patronizing undertones are bugging me more as I watch. It reminds me of my university days when hipsters with very organized dreadlocks sat around talking about "Africa." Just "Africa," as if all those various cultures/humans/countries/souls were just one big entity that we had the right to discuss rather than driving 15 minutes to the ghettos of Houston to do any actual humanitarian work.

I'm not trying to take away from these efforts, but let's make sure we remember those struggling with poverty and lack of medical attention every day in our own cities. My fellow dental students and I can attest to the poor health we see every day in our patients. There are parts of San Antonio that might look similar to developing nations and those people aren't getting George Clooney to come by and drop off some cash.

I know some people are saying, well, poor people without jobs only have themselves to blame because of xyz, but the Haitians didn't cause this earthquake. (Tell that to Pat Robertson, another post in itself.) You know, I don't think anyone strives to live in poverty, but life happens. I personally live a great life and have virtually no financial responsibility as a student and a girl with very generous parents & grandparents, but I have recently had a taste of the tougher life. Since turning 25 and being kicked off my parents' insurance I've had to shell out some serious dough for various prescriptions and doctors visits. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, are you hearing me?? It's no wonder so many people avoid taking preventative measures and put off getting regular checkups!

I can't tell you how stressful this new health insurance ordeal has been and I am angry with myself for previously being so naive. Now I really think twice before handing over a prescription for antibiotics (making sure to write the generic) to my patients and getting irritated when they are non-compliant in filling the prescription. All of us need to get involved in solving these societal problems because even though we are sitting pretty right now, you never know when a law firm might go under, when cancer might strike, or when some other earth-quaking, life shaking change could occur leaving even the most prepared, hard workers looking for help.

So in addition to updating your facebook status about how awesome you are for donating to the Haiti Relief Fund, keep being awesome after facebook forgets about Haiti. Donate some old clothes, volunteer to hang out with sick kids and get educated about health care legislation. I am very busy and somewhat lazy and if I can make time for these things, then so can you.

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