In the face of the encouraging fact that for the most part Americans are generous in their willingness to help those in need, there is something deeply disturbing about the juxtaposition of the following stories:
On the one hand, there is news of the St. Louis Rams moving to Los Angles where they will play in a stadium complex — referred to as an NFL Campus — that will cost an estimated $1.86 billion. Specifically,
The owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, which could pave the way for the league’s return to Los Angeles.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres adjacent to the Forum a year ago, has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told The Times.
The owner of the Rams who is building the new “Campus” has expressed his willingness to pay the NFL, out-of-pocket, the required $550 million it will cost to move his team. Needless to say, the NFL owners voted unanimously to move the team. On the other hand, there is this harsh reality:
For the past four years, Syria has been in a civil war that has forced 11 million people— half the country’s pre-crisis population—to flee their homes. About 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced within the country and 4 million have fled Syria for other countries. The result is one of the largest forced migrations since World War Two.
The refugee crisis began in 2011, when thousands of Syrian citizens fled across the border to neighboring Turkey and Lebanon. By early July 2011, 15,000 Syrian citizens had taken shelter in tent cities, set up in the Yayladağı, Reyhanlı and Altınözü districts of Hatay Province, near Turkey’s border with Syria. By the end of that month, 5,000 of the refugees had returned to Syria. However, by late June 2011, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon had reached around 10,000 people. By mid-July 2011, the first Syrian refugees found sanctuary in Jordan, with their numbers reaching 1,500 by December. On 21 September the European Union approved a plan committing itself to taking in 120,000 refugees. The newly elected Liberal Government announced that it would bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015 and struck a cabinet sub-committee chaired by the Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, to fast track their resettlement.
Over the protests of the fear-mongers among us, the United States has also shown a willingness to allow a few thousand refugees to emigrate to this country as well. And as I say, we must read these clips while keeping in mind the fact that Americans are as a rule most generous in donating to causes. It is one of the more pleasing things to note about American character. But there are those very wealthy Americans who seem determined to squander their millions on unworthy causes. In their focus on the here and now of gigantic profits they are content to stand by and watch the impoverished and homeless increase in numbers in their own country, while (one suspects) totally oblivious to the needs of starving people in other countries around the world.
There is something bizarre about the fact that there are those among us who could do so much good with their multi-millions and who choose instead to spend all their time and energy finding ways to increase those millions. There is such a gulf between doing well and doing good.