Are we stingy?

I’m going to quote my friend Bob at length here. But I’m not cutting-and-pasting all his links, so be sure to click through. And scroll down, he’s also listed a number of organizations to which you can donate.

Writing from Tasmania, which is a great place I’d love to write more about and surely will someday. But I just don’t feel like it right now.

I wish I knew how to do more to help the people who need it right this minute. I wish I knew how to get my government to behave without its usual level of shameless self-absorption and shortsightedness.

$35 million. Swell.

The death toll is rapidly approaching six digits — imagine 30 September 11ths, if you wish, with all the sudden speed, chaos, and complete wreckage of human life that entails — with the number of affected people surely ten times that high. And the richest country in the world, the one which believes itself to be singular among nations (thus ironically fulfilling the notion before the neurons have even cooled), can only muster a few dollars per life destroyed.

What’s $35 million?

The amount it takes to fix up one park in Pittsburgh.

It’s exactly one new school in Montclair, New Jersey.

It’s what Dick Cheney put in his own back pocket by ditching his Halliburton stock.

And it’s one four-thousandth of what the U.S. has spent invading and occupying Iraq.

Tens of thousands of dead in a dozen countries on two continents, after a disaster so large it literally changed the map of Indonesia and completely obliterated the southernmost tip of India.

Survival infrastructures are simply gone now in many places. Famine and pestilence are likely to take at least as many lives if the rest of us fellow humans don’t do enough to help right now.

$35 million. George W. Bush is telling the largest Muslim nation on Earth that the massive destruction in Aceh is worth less than the United States spends on occupying Iraq every day.