Our Divided Nation Comes Together to Help in Disaster

As the storm winds of Hurricane Harvey intensified along the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday night, it was clear two things were about to unfold: another fearsome example of nature's power, and accompanying examples of the strength and resiliency of Texans.But in both categories, no one knew exactly what we would see. No one knew this would be a record-breaking storm with a punishing staying power, lashing the coast for days on end. And no one could know the specifics of the uplifting, magnificent faith and resolve that would play out alongside the disastrous images on our TV screens.It should not be a surprise that heroism and sacrifice are in abundance at times like this. But if we allow ourselves to be numbed by the constant drone of political bickering, from cable TV channels to our Facebook pages, it is easy to forget that the cliché is true: There are more things that unite us than divide us.We are reminded of deep truths on occasions like this. We see it when a tornado rips through Texas, or on occasions as shattering as 9/11. We see our shared humanity rise up to dwarf the shallow personal and political differences that grab our attention every day. It reminds us of the things that are ultimately more important than the constant ideological grind.Our political battles are always important; they involve plotting the course of our nation's future. But ultimately those are disagreements among people with various positions on various issues. When disaster strikes, we properly put aside those differences and focus on helping each other as human beings, irrespective of politics, race, religion or anything else.And as we simultaneously mourn the losses and celebrate the displays of love and courage, a spark of hope is lit. Maybe all of these warnings we hear about a bitterly divided America, an irreparably poisoned discourse, the ignition of a rhetorical Civil War — perhaps that's all wildly overstated.We normally see our differences on full display 24 hours a day, but as soon as something shakes us to our souls and reminds us of what's truly important, we see what rarely happens amid the rhythm of our daily lives: We unite.We've just come through a stretch featuring loud attempts to paint America with the unhinged extremes of the warring factions in Charlottesville. The truth is that America is best defined by the last few days on the Gulf Coast. There are far more of us who would help with flood rescues than there are racist white supremacist miscreants or the radicals bent on violent response.Our family has made some stops this week to load up on water, food and other basics for donation to the victims of Harvey. We have shared aisles with others laden with diapers and deodorant, lined up at checkout with fellow shoppers with baskets brimming with cereal, baby food and toothbrushes. A knowing nod or a brief chat is a small moment of bonding of a type happening every day as we mobilize to ease the unimaginable suffering in our state.For all I know, these folks may despise the president I voted for, oppose the wall I want built, support the $15 minimum wage I think is crazy. And for these days of deeper significance, none of that matters.Soon we will get back to fussing at each other about the normal list of topics. That's fine; we have debates that need to continue. But as we return to our respective corners, let us re-engage for battle with some recollection of what it felt like for a little while to just be Texans, to just be Americans, to just be people.Mark Davis is a radio host and frequent columnist for The Dallas Morning News. The Mark Davis Show airs from 7 to 10 a.m. weekdays on KSKY-AM (660). Email: markdavisshow@gmail.comWhat's your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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