Archive for July, 2011

The girl who inspired a posthumous miracle

Rachel Beckwith, 9 years old. Maybe you’ve heard about this young girl already? Her story truly made me grateful.

As background, two charities are nearer to my heart than any others: charity:water and water.org. With the technology at our disposal, I believe everyone should be able to have clean drinking water.

Well, Rachel Beckwith thought so too, at 8 years of age. She already knew it was wrong that some children don’t reach their 5th birthday because of lack of clean water. In fact, estimates are that about 1 billion people don’t have daily access to that resource.

Rachel’s 9th birthday was June 12th, and this little girl asked for NO presents except to help her raise $300 in donations to charity:water. By her birthday, she was $80 short of her goal.

Then she died in a horrific, 14-car accident.

The story spread, and her own member page on charity:water was flooded with donations.

Take me for example. Even though I’m a member, I donated specifically in her name, and here is what I wrote:
I’m already a supporter of charity:water, but I’m glad to donate again specifically in Rachel’s name. She picked the right cause, and we WILL one day ensure no one goes without clean drinking water.”


Rachel’s posthumous charity:water donation page simply asks for $9 donations to represent her 9th birthday…but guess what? The girl’s wish has led to over $320,000 in direct donations. Her page is here: http://mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=16396&amt=9.00.

The Rachel Beckwith charity:water miracle has taken on its own life, multiplying due to people’s gratitude for this young child’s unselfishness.  And as I write this, there are still 26 days left for contributions before Rachel’s final gift has been counted; many more benefits will come.

With a smile on my face, I see that Rachel wanted her initial $300 donation to help 15 people; 3 families. At the moment, a minimum of 15,000 people and 3,000 families will be better off. It will be a joyous celebration to see the final tally.

We can remember this lesson in perspective for the rest of our lives. Some people say it’s impossible for one person to change the world. And many people would say it’s impossible to collect $320K for any cause in less than a week. It’s not. It’s a matter of having the right perspective.

Here’s more on this story:
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Reasonable compromises in an age of Washington madness

This morning, I read an interesting piece entitled “Is Obama the last reasonable man in Washington?” The author, Joy Reid, points out the following reaction to the nation’s first African-American President, Barack Obama:
…his very presence, from his name to his cultural background to wild conspiracy theories about his ideology — has seemed to incite a near frenzy of hatred on the right (and a sliver of the far left).
Sadly, Ms. Reid is correct. To validate the latter part of her comment, we need look no further than Jane Hamsher, the founder of the far left site Firedoglake. She recently called Obama supporters: “the dumbest motherfuckers in the world.”
Now, the President may not be the only reasonable man left in Washington, but he’s certainly one of only a handful. And it is extremely difficult to find any reasonable person among the Republicans hired to represent their constituents.
This past Friday morning, the President held a town hall in Maryland, largely focused on debt negotiations in Washington. A teacher asked an important question: she wanted to know what she was supposed to teach her students in an anti-cooperative age. She asked whether something had fundamentally changed, when members of the opposing party were willing to go on record saying they would not compromise. It is indeed a sad age; I feel for that teacher and for the members of government who are interested in leading this country towards a better future.
This President has been willing to compromise on every issue. He radically limited his healthcare reform package after holding a bipartisan summit with Republicans, and ensuring their concerns were addressed. In return, he got zero Republican votes for the resulting legislation. He limited his Wall Street reform. He allowed the Bush-era tax cuts to continue.
Now, on an issue that actually threatens to destroy the world economy, the President has been willing to grant cuts to Social Security and Medicare that even Republican presidents would have had a hard time offering. In exchange, Republican leaders walk out on talks because Obama asks them to end tax loopholes for corporate jet owners and absurdly profitable oil companies. No compromise from the GOP: not one solitary penny of additional revenue from millionaires and billionaires during times they’ve been successful, and the middle class has been decimated.
The fact is: though this clearly centrist President is willing to agree to almost any terms, we’ve seen where Republicans draw the line. That party believes that their Tea Party revolution is a powerful force. However, according to Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, it represents about 20% of American voters, and is in serious danger of self-destruction.
Enough is enough. If the GOP thinks that is a revolution, just wait until they see the reaction of the country and the world to their destructive, obdurate radicalism.
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