There’s nothing like a crisis, whether borne by nature or made by man, to unite the human spirit.
We’ve seen it play out numerous times before, whether it was in the days after 9/11, when neighbor comforted neighbor and the nation stood as one against terror, or that day back in June of 2015, when residents of Charleston joined hands by the thousands to march across Arthur Ravenel Bridge in a show of unity following the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
And now we’re seeing images of that same spirit being splashed across our TV screens and covering our social media pages as the heroes of Houston emerge to help one another cope with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Authorities in Houston estimate they’ve conducted 2,000 rescue missions thus far, and that doesn’t take into account the numerous instances of people wading into neck-high waters to help others escape from submerging cars or folks who have launched their boats and scoured neighborhoods for the stranded.
TIME put together a montage of just a few of the rescues taking place across Houston:
And then there’s the “Cajun Navy” that has deployed from southern Louisiana, a ragtag group of boat owners looking to help others as they themselves were helped when Hurricane Katrina ravaged their communities back in 2005, forcing many of them to seek shelter in Houston. And Houston welcomed them with open arms, which is why the Cajuns are now staging their own Dunkirk-esque rescue mission.
It’s times like these when real America gets to show who they are and what they are made of — usually in stark contrast to how they are portrayed by the media and Hollywood. Let’s face it, the media and the coastal elites love to put Americans in boxes based on race, religion, political leanings, or any number of descriptors that don’t come close to describing the fabric of our society. It’s easier to write us off that way.
But we are so much bigger and better than those puny little boxes can contain and those puny little minds can imagine. Here’s the “secret” the media doesn’t want you to know: this is how it is most of the time in communities across the country, whether it’s a block party to celebrate friendships, or a community coming together to find a lost dog, or a GoFundMe account to help a young family pay unexpected medical costs.
We’re always one hurricane or terrorist attack or lost dog or sick child away from seeing the true grit of Americans, which is to say that it is always on display. And it’s not the small numbers of white supremacists rallying to save a Robert E. Lee statue or even the larger number of antifa fascists whose Cat 5 hatefulness for the U.S. is wreaking havoc on cities and monuments nationwide.
No, it’s the Coast Guard frogmen dropping out of helicopters to pluck families (and, often, their cherished pets) out of danger; it’s the lady going for a walk who happens upon a stranger being swept away in floodwaters who ignores the danger to herself to help a fellow human; it’s the reporter who comes across a truck driver stuck in his cab (that is dangerously close to being filled with water) doing the right thing and flagging down help.
But you wouldn’t know that this is real America, judging by CNN’s endless Trump bashing or The New York Times continually ignoring the true peril of the antifa crowd. If there is a silver lining in what’s going on right now in Houston (and, yes, it’s surely of little comfort to those who’ve lost their homes and possessions), it’s that social media is bursting at the seams with example after example of the best that Americans have to offer one another. And our best is pretty damn awesome.
Let the white supremacists march. Let the antifa destroy (as long as they keep destroying liberal havens like Berkeley). The heroes of Houston are here, and they are just what we need to remind the media, Hollywood, and coastal elites that America is great because everyday Americans are good.
Thank you, heroes of Houston, for all you are doing!