Just weeks after violent riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought fuel to the fire making many believe that Americans are more divided than ever before, the scene in Houston, Texas, is the exact opposite.
The impact of Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas has been described by officials as “catastrophic” and the National Weather Services released a statement saying, “This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced.”
— NWS (@NWS) August 27, 2017
The before and after photos showing the record flooding that has overtaken the city of Houston are both heartbreaking and humbling:
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 27, 2017
A remarkable amount of flooding in Houston. Here is a before and after of the I-160. pic.twitter.com/S9W5J3ZbFe
— Ben Parsons (@Ben_Parsons__) August 27, 2017
Given the recent media coverage that has dominated headlines, one might think that there would also be reports of white nationalist groups flocking to Houston to help all of the white citizens, and members of AntiFa coming to the rescue of anyone hanging an anti-Trump banner from their front door. But the exact opposite is true.
The true heroes that are emerging in Houston aren’t defined by the color of their skin, or their religious or political affiliations. They are defined by the difference they are making in a community that needs their help.
“I’m going to go try to save some lives,” a man from Texas City told a reporter, as he helped lower a boat into the floodwaters.
'GOING TO SAVE SOME LIVES'
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) August 27, 2017
The sentiment of unity was shared across social media, and people of all backgrounds and races came together to rescue the elderly, children, and pets from the dangerous flood waters.
— Joshua Reynolds (@joshjreynolds) August 28, 2017
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 28, 2017
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 27, 2017
Houston firefighters rescue woman's dog & cat from 2-alarm fire. See: SE-023MO TX: PETS RESCUED FROM APARTMENT FIRE pic.twitter.com/i7Nrwrt5WD
— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) May 17, 2016
Big love and respect to the amazing rescue crews keeping vulnerable children and the elderly safe in Houston.pic.twitter.com/MptDQNkdW9
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) August 27, 2017
Residents of Houston are also receiving help from the Cajun Navy, a grassroots group of volunteers that made its name by rescuing stranded families during a massive flood in Louisiana last year.
In addition to filling its Facebook page with messages on how people can help the victims of the storm, the group gathered volunteers in Baton Rouge on Monday, with a fleet of trucks and boats, in preparation for its rescue trip to Houston.
— Priscilla (@MaeMee) August 27, 2017
One of the most important things about the Cajun Navy is that it is demonstrating the impact everyday Americans can have when they come together and volunteer their time and resources. In many ways, they make a difference faster and on a greater scale than the federal government.
As New Orleans journalist Karen Dalton-Beninato noted, “Private boat owners are rescuing more from Harvey than any agency could. Like Louisiana’s Cajun Navy did last year.”
Private boat owners are rescuing more from Harvey than any agency could. Like Louisiana's Cajun Navy did last year.https://t.co/aT6V8Ogwvk
— Karen DaltonBeninato (@kbeninato) August 27, 2017
At the end of the day, while many politicians and mainstream media pundits push the narrative that the United States is filled with division based on race and political affiliation, the fact is that those people who are defined by that narrative are a small segment of the population, and it is only when they receive media attention on a grand scale that people begin to believe the public is more divided than it actually is.
Mother Nature has no discrimination when it comes to wreaking havoc on cities and neighborhoods. The people who give selflessly with their time and resources, and who push through the obstacles to help those who cannot help themselves are the ones who should be recognized and celebrated by the media, because they are the ones living out the example that today’s children need to see.
— Cory Smith (@CorySmithNBC5) August 28, 2017