Editorial » Commentary

Bill Colrus: What Matters Now

By Guest Author| Jan. 21, 2010, 9 a.m. Comment

In January, Chattarati invites leaders and thinkers to participate in What Matters Now, a commentary series of ideas for our region in 2010.


Written by Bill Colrus.

Images of the dead, dying, and displaced people of Haiti are among the most harrowing the world has ever seen. In response, millions of people across the globe have found ways to help — whether by pushing the leaders of their respective nations to act swiftly or by working in spite of them — and have, in turn, inspired millions of others to do the same. It might be hard to fathom right now, but one silver lining in this unfathomable tragedy is that once all of the worldwide aid has been delivered and all of the rebuilding has been completed, Haiti could quite possibly be left with the most advanced infrastructure it has ever known.

While our country is blessed to not be suffering a disaster on the scale of the one we’ve just seen, our distressed economy continues to wreak havoc on the lives of millions of Americans. Bringing our country back from this brink will also take a team effort. For all of the people whose lives will be positively impacted by, say, the opening of a new Volkswagen plant, thousands more will continue to struggle. Maybe even you.

As our leaders bicker and fumble in their panicked attempt to fix our nation, our nation’s success will ultimately rest, as it always has, in the potential of our people. With that in mind, what matters now — for Chattanooga and for the country as a whole — is giving.

Give not looking for recognition, only for the opportunity to give again.

Give to help lift others up so they are then also able to give.

Give up your pride long enough to allow someone else to give to you.

A spirit of giving forces us to challenge each other. Challenging each other means taking risks. And taking risks is the only way to achieve great things.

Whether you give your money, your time, or your talents, just give. I dare you.

Here is a list of ways to give to the relief efforts in Haiti.

To give to the people of our region, just look around. Opportunities are everywhere.

Bill Colrus is a former editor of the Chattanooga Pulse.

Comments (3)

  1. Bob Wiegerson Jan. 21, 2010

    well said Bill, thanks.

  2. cmwillison Jan. 24, 2010

    I greatly appreciate the challenge to do something personally, rather than merely lending support to some group or voting a certain way. Anything positive you do as an individual, or with your family, can have a very meaningful impact--for you and them.

  3. bruce caldwellon Jan. 31, 2010

    I do not disagree with Mr. Colrus main point of giving to help others and ourselves but his point about Haiti needs to be examined. Whatever infrastructure that will be built will fall down again just as soon as we leave. The problems in Haiti had less to do with with poverty than it does in their leadership and their culture which is not based on justice. There is no hope for a future because the people are not free and they do not have any laws to protect their freedom. Without our military, the aid would not get most of Haiti. There is a functional government just on the other side of their island and we are close by. They are lucky we are such a giving people as is the rest of the world but very little will change unless they are able to change. We can not force change there anymore than we can in Afganistan. We could have the same earthquake and with the same numbers injuried or dead and our country would recover. We did after WWII, the depression, and 9/11. We are both humans but we have a history of laws and justice to help us recover with our own resources. It is important to keep that distinction about America. We have advanced from the colony days but Haiti has not changed much in that time.

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