Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have unleashed destruction on Houston and Florida. I lived in Texas for four years during my undergraduate studies, so Harvey struck me particularly hard. This is the first time two category four hurricanes have hit the U.S. mainland in a single year. This has come as a shock to everyone who has gotten used to the lull in dangerous storms the past 12 years.
Despite the atrocities from these natural disasters, I see reason for hope. Before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, it seemed like the whole country was in an uproar over politics. The tragedy at Charlottesville was fresh, and it was almost like the media and our leaders was telling us we had to choose between right fascists and left fascist. For years we have been pitted against each other, viewing each other in the extreme so we will see the other as evil. I was afraid too many people had bought into these lies. I am relieved that my fear was unfounded.
The national response to Harvey – and now Irma – has been enlightening. The media still rages on in an attempt to use these disasters to divide us, but the majority of Americans are having none of it. I have heard countless stories of heroes in Houston rushing in to save others without counting the cost. My security company has an emergency response team in the city made up of security officers from all over the country. Everyone is coming together to support each other regardless of religion, race, or political ideology.
This is the real America. It is easy for us who follow politics to believe most people have adopted the right-left dichotomy and will refuse to listen to reason or attempt to bridge the gap. The truth is that most people may say they support a particular party, but they do not take it as seriously as some of us do. I contend that this, in fact, is a good thing. This is not apathy. This is who Americans are.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that politics in the traditional sense does not matter as much as we think. What is important is the values that we all hold, and the response to the recent hurricanes show that that our values are still strong. We may have threats from the extreme left and right, but they do not represent most Americans. When we’re staring at the face of evil, we will come together to support and help each other.
This was our response to September 11, 2001. We untied as Americans and as human beings. It may be disheartening to some that it takes a tragedy to bring this out, but it could also be a sign of hope. If things really get that bad, there is a good chance we will end up doing the right thing. Therefore, what is more important than spreading our political opinions is spreading the values of love and mercy and teaching the skills of patience, listening, and thoughtful contemplation.
In the end, we only want our political ideas to win because we think they will be good for people. We must not lose sight of our love for Americans and humanity. Even if we could win with hate and violence, it would be an empty victory. Much better is it to love people first as fellow human beings like we have seen many people do in Houston. Only when we’re willing to listen to each other and strive to get along can we reach the solutions that will be better for everyone.
Let’s not make the mistakes of the past. Let’s not forget what we’re feeling today. Let’s keep a memory of this moment in our hearts so when dark events inevitably occur again, we can remind ourselves that the worst of us does not define us or our neighbors. Above all, we must never let them permanently divide us.
May God bless Texas, Florida and all Americans.
© 2017 Dani MacInnes & On This Terrestrial Ball. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without permission from the author of this piece.