Respectful Insolence

Another call to help vaccinate Las Vegas!

On Friday, I posted a plea for donations to the JREF effort to help poor families vaccinate their children against childhood diseases.

Over the weekend DuWayne Brayton did me one better with his plea:

I have been where a lot of those families are. While $25 may not seem like a hell of a lot to most people, when you are to the point where you have to ration your eating to five or six meals a week, to ensure your children get enough to eat, that works out to being a lot of meals you will miss that month. And I can also attest, trying to functionally work when you’re only eating one meal, ever day or so is not easy and certainly not healthy. These are folks who cannot afford to lose a single damned dime. And so there are a lot of kids not getting the vaccines that will not only keep them safe – they keep their communities safe too.

And so as bad as things are right now, I managed to throw down $25 dollars and will sleep somewhat more soundly tonight, knowing that I just ensured that a child in Nevada who wouldn’t have been vaccinated will be now. And dammit, if I can manage that, what can you manage?

An excellent question. What can you manage? DuWayne reminded me that I’m in the very fortunate position where it’s been a long time since $25 represented much money to me at all. Not everyone is so lucky. In fact, to a lot of people, $25 is a lot of money.

Comments

  1. #1 Bronze Dog
    June 29, 2009

    My income’s pretty much nil, thanks to college and the economy, otherwise I’d happily donate. I have, however, donated $30 to a different fund for buying mosquito bed nets in Africa to prevent the spread of malaria this year anyway.

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    June 30, 2009

    JREF are pretty good at hiding the link where you can pay, but here is it.

    I feel like I want to get angry about US social welfare policy again, but it’s not my country.

  3. #3 Andrew Dodds
    June 30, 2009

    It just seems so insane.. any money raised by making people pay for vaccinations will be more than lost in emergency treatment in the case of a moderage outbreak..

  4. #4 Kitty
    June 30, 2009

    It always shocks me to read about children in the US not receiving needed medical attention because of financial reasons. This, however, should not be a matter of individuals being unable to afford vaccination it should be a matter of the nation not being able to afford them going without it.
    That the richest nation in the world does not vaccinate for free, but charges ‘administrative’ costs to those unable to afford to eat properly, should be a national scandal and seen as state sponsored child abuse.
    But what do I know? I’m not a US citizen and I’m a socialist so I’d probably be lynched for my views by some of the folks I’d be trying to help. But it sticks in my craw that for the want of the price of a take-away meal kids are left unprotected while the fat cats get their multiple million dollar bonuses for wrecking the economy.
    I feel very sorry for these kids but I won’t be sending a donation. What very little I can afford goes to children in countries which really can’t afford to care for their kids.
    (#1 I’m with you on that one).

  5. #5 Calli Arcale
    June 30, 2009

    Kitty — you can choose to help whomever you wish to help, of course, and no one can support every worthy cause. Your means of assuaging your conscience is to say that you are choosing only the most needy — yet one could also argue that ignoring the sick in one’s own backyard is hypocritcal, and also, more brutally, that the American kids may be more likely to benefit from the help. Does malaria prevention help if the kids wind up slaughtered in a civil war, for instance?

    In the end, I try to avoid such thinking, because it’s impossible to know all ends. So I try to spread out my giving, rather than just focusing on one effort. I know I cannot help everyone, and I know that when I choose to help one, I am choosing not to help another. But that’s preferable to choosing to help neither. I give a great deal of money to causes right here in America, not because I am selfish or wish to enable the wealthy as they blissfully continue to squelch social welfare programs, but because I care about the individuals involved. To me, it’s not important what country they come from. It’s just important that I know they need help, and right now I see a means of helping, so I will help.

    South Dakota or Lesotho. Nevada or Afghanistan. The difference is not important. The need is important. So, give if you can, and if you can’t because you have committed to other causes, that is fine. That’s a good reason not to give. There is no need to justify it.

  6. #6 Andrew Dodds
    July 1, 2009

    Cali –

    I have to disagree quite strongly with your position. The fact is that denial of basic medical care to the poor should be a strongly political issue; it makes no economic sense, never mind ethical sense to deny this care – it is driven purely by a bankrupt ideology.

    Just as in the case of Africa, where mountains of aid have been poured in, when a real political effort to isolate and bring to justice the plutocrats who have been siphoning the cash straight back out would have had far more effect. Simple ‘apolitical’ aid means that those in power have even less check on their actions. Even the most absolute historical tyrant had to at least keep most of the population fed; now even the most mundane requirements of good governance can be Somebody Else’s Problem.

  7. #7 Ren fruoken
    July 1, 2009

    You americans are crazy.

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