The Ides of 2017
Still One Nation, Indivisible – Where It Most Counts
As I write this, I am reflecting on what has been happening in our country. These are the times that our humanity is really tested. This year, many Americans have been concerned about the direction our country is heading. Our most recent election seemed to polarize us as we watched those for and against candidates dig their heels in as they took their political battle stations.
On one side, we now have those that fear our new president will roll back the progress they believe we have made culturally. This feels like a direct threat on their way of life and the vision they have for our amazing country. On the other side, many of those that voted for our president are people who have watched their jobs and towns dry up over the years. They feel ignored and like their voices have been stifled.
August began with extremist groups making it clear that violence is okay when it comes to pushing their beliefs. Unfortunately, this escalated to the point of a young mother losing her life. No matter what a group calls itself, if it uses violence to get its message across, I lose all respect for it and its cause. It’s important to remember that the actions of the few dos not define the actions of the many. Some may say that it is ignorance, but I choose to believe that the overwhelming majority of people are inherently good citizens that wouldn’t intentionally hurt others. There are, of course, those outliers that cross that line.
After these events, I watched our society start to rip apart at the seams. It felt as though we lost a basic level of love and respect for our fellow man. I believe that, for most of us, the events that unfolded in the first three weeks of August were ultimately heartbreaking. The hardest part to comprehend is how we got to the point of people losing their lives. The absolute worst thing that should ever happen to someone who is passionately representing their political beliefs is the disappointment of losing. By all means, rally voters, spread your message, and take full advantage of your rights to free speech and our democracy. But nobody deserves to die just to get a point across.
Just as I was starting to seriously question my belief that most people are inherently good, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. We watched as people steeled themselves and fear set in. And then Harvey hit land not once, but three times. The people in Houston and many surrounding cities had their lives completely upended by nature. The stories kept coming in about innocent people who died or were left stranded or hurt. The heartbreak of August 2017 was just unrelenting. You could see and feel a country-wide depression setting in.
As Hurricane Harvey started to subside, we began to see glimmers of hope during this very dark time. There really is no good in trying to justify what happened to those hurt by these August events. But the response to Hurricane Harvey truly showcased what our society is about. The stories that followed the damage reports were about the professionals and selfless volunteers helping their fellow man. For some, that meant rescuing those that were stranded. For others, that meant using their medical skills to treat those in need. Sadly, some volunteers even ended up giving their lives while trying to save others.
None of these heroes asked people what their political beliefs were before rescuing them. They didn’t refuse to help anyone simply because they disagreed. We watched as our whole country came together to help those in need. We set aside the things that had torn us apart just a couple weeks earlier and focused on working together. Our society coming together for one common cause like this without hesitation has truly been beautiful to watch. For what it’s worth, not only has my belief in the basic good in people been renewed, but it is stronger than ever.
Of course, the road to recovery for those affected by Hurricane Harvey will be a very long one. I can say that I have complete faith in our citizens doing what is needed to make this road as short and smooth as possible. It will take a lot of effort, materials, and money to rebuild the lives of those hurt. I encourage you to donate and help in any way that you can. I have included links to some reputable non-profits set up to help those in need rebuild their lives.
American Red Cross
Best Friends (Support for animals)
Houston Food Bank