Hey America. Are you watching Texas? No, not the floodwaters — the people and how they are getting along during the largest natural disaster in U.S. history.

A couple weeks ago, our nation was a powder keg of emotionally charged division. The streets and media channels seemed to be flowing with an ever-increasing volume of hate and divisive words. This was not the America we all knew and loved.

And then came Harvey.

If you didn’t know, Houston is not only the fourth-largest city in the United States, but also carries the distinction of being the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis in the nation.

To visit this part of the country is to witness what experts project America will be inside of a generation.

Were Houston a box of Crayons, this region would be the big 64-count set — with every nationality, creed and orientation generously represented.

And herein lies what I believe is the Texas Miracle.

Hurricane Harvey put a hurt on this part of Texas like nothing ever before in history. As Harvey dumped feet of rain in short windows of time, people found themselves fleeing fast-rising water.

The storm’s damage, now estimated at $160 billion, is the largest ever recorded. And Harvey, unfortunately took innocent lives and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Stress, displacement, fear and uncertainty — the perfect storm for people to turn against each other.

But Texans are different. Fiercely independent and determined to always do the right thing, the DNA of the state is on full display for the nation to witness.

In this region populated with every race, creed, color and orientation, people repeatedly pull together with a higher purpose. To help one another is normal. To help someone during times of need is an unspoken tenet of the Texas fabric.

What some may see coming through television screens as remarkable acts of kindness or generosity are truly not unusual in this fiercely independent part of the country.

Texas is a place where a long, strong steak of independence continues to run close to the surface. And for those on the coast, getting knocked down repeatedly by Mother Nature is simply part of life. Getting up, rebuilding, and moving forward is a discipline forged over dozens of generations.

When I first arrived on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a friend explained to me why, at least in his interpretation, this immigrant-rich region is so welcoming to others and repeatedly rises together during times of crisis.

“During a hurricane, if you see a hand coming up from the water you never stop to wonder who is behind it,” he said. “One day it could be you.”

With all apologies, excuse me if I am not too surprised at seeing people pouring out their hearts or putting themselves into extreme danger to help one another. Learning to respect, value, and put the needs of others ahead of yourself during these trying times is normal. And if this represents the future America, our nation is in good hands.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher of The Galveston County Daily News.

(6) comments

David Doe

I believe it's politics that have created this Divide, and the Media has exacerbated the situation.

George Croix

Amen to that!
It doesn't help that so much of 'information' now comes from a little electronic screen dominated by 'social media' where anybody can post anything and find willing believers, where trolls with big spoons stir pots for their own amusement, especially when so many have no common sense filter to separate the reality from the fictional narrative(s) and intentional misleading.
For those able to do so, get out of the house or offcie, and go out in the real world, and the sight of people caring about and helping others, not giving a fig about PC or demographics, can be seen to be much more common than we are too often led to believe, but such doesn't constitute 'news', so gets little play until things like this make the sights and sounds of cohesiveness unavoidable and undeniable.

George Croix

ps:
The Harvey response, the 'Texas miracle' as the author calls it was not built on diversity at all, IMO.
It was, and is, built on common human decency, a trait with no need for any lables or categories.
But, that's just me.....

Steve Fouga

I predict that if Hurricane Irma strikes Florida, Georgia, Alabama or the Carolinas, we will see exactly the same response from people there -- neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers, altruism from the wealthy, volunteerism from everyone else. Texas has no monopoly on kindness or, for that matter, on diversity. Hurricanes tend to strike diverse populations, because those are what the American South has.

I'm on board with David and George in this discussion. Kindness and cohesiveness are far more common than many folks believe. It's one thing to root for or against disembodied causes, right or left, black or white, seen on a TV screen or in a Facebook post; it's much different to look a human being in the eye, see their suffering, and refuse to help. In fact, I'd say it almost never happens.

That attitude doesn't entirely translate to everyday life, of course. But it's a lot more prevalent than cable news would have you believe.

Mark Aaron

"I predict that if Hurricane Irma strikes Florida, Georgia, Alabama or the Carolinas, we will see exactly the same response from people there -- neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers, altruism from the wealthy, volunteerism from everyone else. Texas has no monopoly on kindness or, for that matter, on diversity. "

I agree. Well said Steve. People from anywhere in the country will come together to help each other in times of crisis.

Josh Butler

I love my Texas, but this is really the American miracle. Please don't let the media regain the toxic narrative they were pushing. If Irma decides to target the United States, hopefully people will come together in a way like the example Texas has set.

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