Perspective is important. Some people become so involved in partisanship that right and wrong take a back seat to an us-against-them mentality. That issue comes to the forefront when tragedy strikes.

Perspective is important.


Some people become so involved in partisanship that right and wrong take a back seat to an us-against-them mentality.


That issue comes to the forefront when tragedy strikes.


What happened in Haiti last week would have devastated a country that had a strong economy. But Haiti was already in crisis. Poverty was a reality for more than half of the country. The infrastructure was in disrepair. The few bright spots that had begun to shine in the otherwise dismal economy were snuffed out by the quake.


Money doesn't solve all of your problems when natural disasters strike. But not having any will invariably cause more problems and make the ones you already had worse.


Thousands are dead. More will probably die soon due to a lack of medical care, food and clean water.


Americans and people from across the globe have rallied to help. But the devastation has made it difficult to get help to many of those in need.


It has been troubling to see the reaction of some people who have lost their perspective during this troubling time. Rush Limbaugh sees President Barack Obama wanting to help quake victims as taking the opportunity "look compassionate." Limbaugh even shot down the idea that Americans should help the victims saying that Americans already support Haitians through income taxes. Of course, it was the U.S. boycott of products from that country that helped seal the fate of their foundering economy.


As many as 200,000 people may be dead, but that didn't stop Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) from saying he believed giving Haitians in America temporary refugee status was a political ploy.


"This sounds to me like open borders advocates exercising the Rahm Emanuel axiom: 'Never let a crisis go to waste,'" King said.


Right. Emanuel probably even helped cause the quake.


That's the problem. These people have a pulpit but no message. They say the same thing about an earthquake in Haiti as they do health care bills or tax policy.


Trust me when I tell you there is a difference. If you can't see it, the problem is yours.


Speaking of pulpits, religious leader Pat Robertson even brought up a centuries old event to mention that some people see Haiti as cursed since they made a pact with the devil to bring an end to a 1791 slave rebellion.


Being technically accurate does not mollify people who realize how incredibly ill-timed and insensitive that comment was. In Robertson's defense, his organization has provided more than a million dollars worth of supplies to help fill medical needs in the country.


But as ridiculous as some comments are and as heartless as some people seem, you also have to maintain your perspective and realize that most people will do whatever they can to help.


Cell phone companies have made contributing small amounts as easy as texting a number. Many charities and religious organizations snapped into action. Celebrities and people all over social networking Web sites have spent a great deal of time and bandwidth trying to find a way to get assistance to the people who need it.


Tragedy brings out the best in some people and the worst in others. It provides the pressure to determine what people are really made of.


Under pressure, some people are transformed into diamonds. Those of lesser quality merely become squished dirt.


Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta Gazette in Augusta, Kan. Contact him at publisher@augustagazette.com.