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Wendy Abrams Headshot

Reality Check!

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When did we Americans become so spoiled and have such a sense of entitlement? Since when are we so fragile that when an accident happens or a problem arises, we are so overwhelmed with self pity that we are unable to shrug it off and make the best of the situation. While things may not be as we want, we too often forget to count our blessings. Are we so oblivious to the real problems of the world, and if so, is it because the news media chooses to focus on the hype rather than the heft?

The top story of the day is about the Carnival Cruise ship where the power went out. The Associated Press reported on the "3 nightmarish days" where passengers had to suffer with backed-up toilets, dark cabins and limited food (Navy helicopters flew in Spam, Pop Tarts and canned crab meat.) It is a bummer of a vacation. But let's put this into perspective -- it was not tragedy. Tragedy is the cholera outbreak in Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people are living in tent cities, left homeless from the earthquake. More than 800 people have died from cholera, another 12,000 have become sick, and 200,000 more are at high risk. Tragedy is the limited access to food and their fight for survival on a daily basis. They would give anything for a SPAM sandwich with wilted lettuce. Clean water is at a premium. The children living in the tent cities don't have backed-up toilets, they walk considerable distance for access to a toilet. And every night is dark in their bedroom, but unlike the passengers of Carnival cruise who had to sleep in dark rooms, the people living in the tent cities don't have beds and blankets in their cabins. And they only wish they had to endure 4 days of suffering.

The sad irony is that more money will probably be distributed to the cruise ship passengers who sue the cruise ship for pain and suffering than will go to help the suffering in Haiti. As we approach Thanksgiving, I think it is time for us to give thanks for what we have, and to put a bit of perspective back in our lives.