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The real America

Posted: September 7, 2017 2:49 p.m.
Updated: September 8, 2017 1:00 a.m.

I believe it to be a reasonable assumption that lately in our country there has been a state of division, if you will. What we have seen many would describe as not a minor division, but rather a gross separation of our citizens. It would be nearly impossible to walk by a working television or computer screen without seeing groups from the left and the right fighting in the streets and flashing signs promoting hate and violence. If we only follow the sensationalism on social media or in the news, we will begin to buy into the concept America is on the edge of civil war. If all we see is mask-wielding radicals causing terror on our streets or white-supremacist groups running down pedestrians with their cars, we will begin to accept the idea that the very foundation our nation was founded on is surely crumbling.

I will stop here and say, “This is not who we are.” 

And now I’ll go out a limb and say, “We are better than this.” 

Call me a dreamer, but yes, we are much better, much bigger, and more loving of a country than the above-mentioned negatives. Call me a dreamer, and I’ll tell you how I continue to be amazed and inspired by the real America -- the real America, where in the most tragic of circumstances, the best qualities of Americans are revealed.

Throughout history, we have been united by tragedy. These distressful events are not ideal, nor are they desired. But it is within these tragic times that the best of humanity is able to shine. And so, enter Hurricane Harvey. But with all of her destruction, a silver lining has appeared, though no upside of such a horrific disaster could ever balance out the downside. Yet it is not difficult to see what has been revealed in Texas -- the absolute true goodness of the real America. As roads and entire communities were being submerged in water, hope floated in and, just like everything in Texas, did so in a large and bold manner. People from all over our country and of every color, origin, religion, and class ran towards the storm, to Texas, willingly putting themselves in harm’s way to help their fellow man, many using their own resources to rescue complete strangers stranded in rising waters. A city of millions came together regardless of their neighbor’s political views, or whether they were for or against gun control. Whatever divided us in the days, months, years prior to Harvey had no place among the heroes, no spot in line next to all the selfless, charitable, and brave Americans.

Moments like this are rare, but can be so defining. We just hope we can pause long enough to see all the good.

The triple landfall of Hurricane Harvey has brought utter devastation to Texas, but the storm waters also brought in an enormous supply of what has been more than inspiring. But in the face of great suffering, as Americans pulled each other from the floodwaters, the truth revealed itself: the real America would not be divided by our politics or the color of our skin.

We have a lot more that brings us together than divides us. Ordinary people rose to the challenge. We see the real America in the “Cajun Navy,” a plethora of Louisiana volunteers, who immediately mobilized with their own boats and headed towards Houston to join the already overwhelmed search and rescue efforts.

We see the real America in the relief organization, Team Rubicon, as they dispatched more than 2,000 volunteers, almost all military veterans, to help storm-battered communities dig out and rebuild.

We see the real America in Houston’s J.J. Watts calling on his fellow athletes to help raise funds in the wake of the disaster. And what began as a goal of $200,000 has surpassed a mind-blowing $20 million.

We see the real America in celebrities like Sandra Bullock, who has made one of the American Red Cross’ largest individual contributions of $1 million. Bullock said, “There are no politics in eight feet of water. These are human beings in eight feet of water.”

We see the real America in “Mattress Mack,” who opened up his two furniture and mattress stores in the Houston area for anyone who needed shelter from the storm and a warm meal.

We see the real America in ordinary citizens rescuing complete strangers.

Of course, the human race will always have problems to solve, issues to work out. But it really is quite simple if we take note of the grander scheme.

And if anyone questions our united, not divided, state of Americans, point him or her in the direction of Texas. This is where they can see a true example of the real America.

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