While many of us took to Facebook to debate whether our current President is well-equipped or ill-equipped to run the country, a large section of the US population, cut off from all technology, was banding together, setting their differences aside and showing the rest of us what it means to be resilient.
Around 1 a.m. last Thursday morning Hurricane Laura made landfall in sections of Texas and Louisiana as a Category four storm. For the residents of Cameron Parrish Louisiana, Laura would be the strongest Hurricane to hit their state since 1856 – far worse than Katrina which was 15 years ago. The folks between Lake Charles, Louisiana and Beaumont Texas were bracing for the worst possible storm surge since Hurricane Harvey washed away their shorelines and homes.
As someone who lived in Florida for 41 years, I can relate to the feeling of utter despair when you wake up and find your whole world turned upside down. I can recall Hurricane Andrew cutting a swath of death and destruction throughout my community. I lived in what was considered ground zero. For miles upon miles there was not a home left in sight. It looked like someone had dropped an atomic bomb in that section of South Florida which coincidentally was 28 years ago last week (Aug. 24, 1992).
So far Laura has claimed the lives of 22 people in the US and has done an estimated 20 billion dollars in damages. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and may be without for days and weeks to come. Some folks have minimal damage while others only have the clothes on their backs and an empty spot where their house once stood.
Amid all the loss, destruction and chaos folks can be seen coming together and helping each other out. The whirring sound of chainsaws as neighbors help each other cut trees and clear debris. The tamping of hammers as people help each other cover holes in their roofs. Neighbors coming together for shared meals and water. Animal rescue organizations rescuing lost or stranded pets. The Cajun Army rescuing folks stranded due to standing water and storm surge. The American Red Cross setting up shelters and kitchens. Faith-based organizations hitting the front lines to get people to safety, comfort, food, and shelter.
During the harshest times of their lives these folks are coming together to show, that together, they can and will get through this rough patch. They can and will rebuild. They can and will be whole again. The more I watched the Weather Channel and saw the complete devastation of communities the more I saw people coming together - building each other up.
Right now, the whole country is one massive disaster zone for a variety of reasons. We’ve been hit by Hurricane Racial Divide, pummeled by tornadoes of protests turned to riots. Flooded by division and hatred and burned by the words we sometimes try to use to express our thoughts.
Sometimes we play nice and sometimes, in the heat of the moment, not so much. Trust me I am just as guilty.
We are emotional and we are passionate about our country! We speak our minds, state our case on twitter and Facebook and defend what we believe to be true, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes we find ourselves clashing ideals with folks we’ve known and loved for years.
This Country has overcome racial disturbances, violent riots, division, and disharmony many times in the past 200 plus years. Each time we come out of the chaos a much stronger nation. I’ve said this before, right here in this very same column space, we can always agree to disagree and do so respectfully. I am and will continue to respect, admire and be friends with many people, including those with opposing political points of views. What a boring nation it would be without robust discussions to hear and learn from or to offer a different perspective. In some cases, it may shift views and ideals. In other cases, it won’t and that is okay as well.
Hopefully, we can move away of always labeling people as being Right wing extremist or Far-left liberals. I think many of us are somewhat lost in the middle somewhere, trying to ultimately be compassionate, empathetic, and decent human beings in a county we all explicitly love.
It’s not an easy road ahead, but as we’ve shown and done in the past, we will come together as a nation and all the chaos we are experiencing now will be history - written into books with lessons to be learned.
I wholeheartedly believe that we as a nation are resilient. All the nonsense going on right now – this too shall pass. Let’s do like the folks in the wake of a hurricane and start picking up the pieces.
Patty Leon, Senior Editor