Words more hurtful, less powerful


A friend of mine is attached to the Red Cross in Brazos County, which, incidentally, covers Madison County and the surrounding area.

He recently came off of foot surgery (had it several months ago), and went through a bout of rehab to help regain his strength and to shorten his recovery.

We were chatting one day recently, and I had asked about his foot and how things were progressing in rehab.

His response was puzzling and heartbreaking. He said the rehab was painful, but not as painful as reading the vicious attacks in social media and the news outlets regarding the Red Cross and its work during Hurricane Harvey.

He was visibly distraught; he worked 100-plus hours per week during the event, helping with rescues, handing out necessary items, doing all the things that normal people would expect from the Red Cross in times of crisis.

While this was a time of crisis, we live, however, in — as the curse goes — interesting times.

The social and political climate we have today is striking in that in pretty much every issue of every size and stripe, pitched camps of opinion form, and there’s much ado about every conceivable right or wrong, all mostly sans facts or common decency.

Couple of things: the complaints about the meals were patently false, and 12 seconds of an internet search would have pointed that out; complaints about help were the result of the frustrations of the people, stemming from the Red Cross being overwhelmed with victims; and money provided to victims is coming, even though it’s slow.

Further, complaints about the salary of Red Cross President Gail McGovern, while correct on amount, were misplaced and really dumb as far as timing and intent.

As a statement from the Red Cross to the media states, many of the complaints stemmed from incorrect social media posts. I have even seen some telling readers to skip certain charities because their CEOs are paid, sometimes exorbitantly.

So you’ve got a beef. So what? What does that have to do with the hundreds of staff and volunteers that actually went down to help people who were devastated by a hurricane?

What possible good did complaining about salaries and, in the cases of the victims who were being helped, complaining about conditions, do for you? What ever happened to being grateful that someone, anyone actually came down and bothered to help?

More to the point, why was this not brought up during a time when any problems could be addressed in a decent manner?

A friend of mine, who during the frenzy over the Rev. Joel Osteen using his church to house victims, posted something very poignant, very thought-provoking, and to anyone who plans to be a keyboard activist with little information, a lesson:

“When I talked to God, he didn’t ask me what (insert name here) was doing. He asked what I was doing.”

Bravo to the men and women who faced hardship to help others. That’s the story there, not a salary.