After a folksy opening paragraph, my college Class Fund Director had this to say:
“I can see where making a financial contribution to a relatively well heeled college such as ours, to some, smacks of insensitivity much less irrelevance. After all, there are so many other worthwhile endeavors along with gut-wrenching emotions that require our immediate attention. “The victims”, the plight of the Afghan refugees (not to mention the most at risk who can’t get out), etc. are burnt into just about each passing thought.”
“The victims”??? Is there some reason you put this phrase in quotes? Apparently you either don’t consider the people killed in the 9/11 attacks true victims, or you’re tired of hearing about them. You seem much more concerned about Afghan refugees - and juxtaposing them with “The victims” makes it look like you are equating deliberate murders by bin Laden and his terrorist crew with the war-related casualties and hardships experienced by Afghans.
Yes, this “smacks of insensitivity”, big time. But it’s not that or your particular brand of airheadedness that’s most striking. It’s this:
What were you thinking of when you put this crap in our class fundraising letter?
At a time when charitable efforts are stressed because of the strains already placed on Americans’ gift-giving resources, what you do not want to do is give offense to a big chunk of your target audience. And I can only imagine the hurt and anger felt by anyone who lost a friend or relative in the attacks.
As to my own contribution to the school this year, my first thought was that it shouldn’t be punished on account of you. But something else you said in the letter is giving me pause. “I like to think that when we finished our (education), we were “better,” in part, because we were taught to think, analyze, question, and solve problems. These are attributes and skills that are essential…for massaging the future into a more just and safe post-September 11 world.”
You see, that’s the problem. I can remember in our class too many people like you, whose reflexive guilt and loathing for their country and the principles we struggle to uphold, made it impossible for them to think clearly on any important issue. If the college is still churning out people like this (and you’re enthused that it is), then I may be doing more harm than good by contributing.
I’m seriously considering whether the money I was planning to send the alma mater would do more good at one or more of our domestic relief agencies. Or Doctors Without Borders.