Our Better Angels

Anyone with any sense of emotional integrity cannot help but be moved by the horrific events of nature on the coastal regions of Texas. Houston, the nation’s 4th largest city, is experiencing the disastrous effects of destruction, flooding, death and dislocation of the city’s inhabitants. As I write this post, the future for hundreds of thousands people is unpredictabe in the immediate future. Beyond the impending uncertain fate of the next few days, the way forward will be a daunting task.

In the midst of this horrendous human disaster, I can not help but think we are witnessing what is inherently good about America. It is indisputable evidence that there is a sense of common decency and compassion in the hearts of Americans most effected by this act this of nature.  In a nation which the current administration in Washington, D.C. seeks to divide us into a “us versus them” equation, the events in Texas prove there is no “us or them” when it comes something like this.

There is no distinction between those responding to the human crisis particularly in Houston and I would imagine all across the coastal region of Texas in general. Race makes no difference. African Americans assisting Latinos; Whites carrying Latino children in their arms through three feet of water to safety; Coast Guard helicopters rescuing the elderly of all races trapped in their homes; Law enforcement demonstrating what it really means to “protect and serve”. No one cares if someone is a Democrat or Republican; No one is asking a rescuer if he or she is gay or transgender; At the request of Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner, undocumented immigrants should not hesitate to seek help or risk deportation during this crisis, a clear violation of Texas SB4 law being challenged in the courts. In short, this gives new meaning to Abraham Lincoln’s eloquent remarks at his first inaugural  speech in 1861:

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

What is happening in Houston is a dramatic affirmation of our “better angels.” And no amount of hate and vitriol emanating from the current occupant the White House can squelch this demonstration of human decency and compassion by  the American people.

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