Children play soccer outside the dorms at the Baby Jesus of Prague Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Katherine Engqvist/New Gazette staff)

Editorial: It’s what we do with anger that matters

Langford resident reacts to Trump’s comments

For roughly 40 years former Langford fire chief Bob Beckett, represented the best of who we are as a community, a province and a nation.

Beyond putting his own safety at risk every day on the job, Beckett took on larger issues in the world and was, in his own quiet way, the personification of the best of our collective characters.

He helped L.A. firefighters extinguish fires after the Rodney King riots, went to help in Bosnia and Afghanistan, stood at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center, and almost exactly eight years ago, when Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, went to Port au Prince, where he discovered an orphanage about to be closed as a result of the disaster and a short time later, a second because of the endemic poverty of the nation.

Last week another man, the president of the United States, spewed hateful and racist characterizations of a group of nations, including Haiti and the entire continent of Africa, and went on to question why the U.S. would consider taking in more people from those nations.

It’s the sort of thing that could easily inspire outrage, anger, and even hatred in the hearts of people like Beckett who have met and interacted with the people the president so ignorantly disparaged. But Beckett’s reaction can be instructive for us all.

During a recent interview with the Gazette, Beckett admitted those statements angered him, and had the potential to give rise to the negative emotions that, when felt by forces of racism, bring out the worst in human beings.

But Beckett has chosen to rise above those emotions.

In the face of these hateful sentiments, Beckett went to speak to the Rotary Club of West Shore and to others about helping to fund orphanages in Haiti. He spoke about the poverty that has endangered orphans in that country and how a small donation every month can raise those children from that poverty and give them a chance at life.

He also spoke about the pride and dignity of the Haitian people, and how they deserve the respect of the world because, despite poverty and natural disasters, they still stand tall and look you in the eye when they shake your hand.

It’s fine, even natural, to be angered by racism and ignorance, and to feel those emotions.

But it’s what we do with those emotions – our actions – that allows us to rise above hatred and ignorance to show the world who we are and what we believe.


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