It's our duty to help the world
Rep. Ron Grantland, Guest columnist
It is hard for us to truly comprehend the death and destruction of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Southeast Asia. The massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a giant wall of water to swell across the ocean at hundreds of miles per hour striking the shore with little or no notice and instantly killing more than 100,000 people and leaving thousands homeless, widowed, orphaned and alone.
I am proud to be an American because, in spite of our many flaws, there is an inherent sense of decency in our people. Our shared values transcend political philosophy. This is why the United States was the first country to offer financial assistance to the devastated nations in Asia.
The Bible teaches us in Ecclesiastes that "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." There is a time for political fighting; it is one of the great features of our Democracy that, as Americans, we can air our political differences publicly.
It is also true that there is a time for putting away partisan politics and joining together for the common good. Now is clearly that time.
This week we have seen political rivals, former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, work together for the common good by raising money to bring the basic needs of food, water, shelter and medical assistance to those suffering due to the Dec. 26 tsunami.
Bush and Clinton are asking Americans to contribute personally to the international relief effort through any of the creditable aid organizations listed on the USA Freedom Corps web site at http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov that are already on the ground in Southeast Asia providing valuable supplies and services to the survivors.
Alabamians know what it is to suffer through major natural disasters. We experienced the violence of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. As extensive as our damage was with this terrible storm, it pales in comparison to the violence and destruction of this tsunami.
After looking at numerous news stories and photographs of the destruction and reading several heroic survival stories and tragic loss accounts, I cannot truly comprehend what has happened to the people in Southeast Asia. I feel strongly that I should do something to help this region of the world.
It is our duty as Americans to come to the aid of the downtrodden, the suffering, the helpless and the hopeless. This duty or value is instilled in us because of our heritage from which a significant influence is derived from our faith. America's best face is shown when we provide care and comfort to those in need.
I call on you, as Alabamians and Americans, to join me and thousands of others in supporting the American relief effort for our countless brothers and sisters halfway around the world who need our help. As Americans, this is the time for us to make a difference for those in need financially, through donations, and spiritually, through our unceasing prayers.