December 3, 2023

America isn’t as divided as you’d think.

As someone who has grown up in Houston my whole life, it was really hard to watch the city that I grew up loving and exploring become the modern-day Atlantis.

I was driving to California Baptist University the day Harvey was going to hit South Texas. I saw people preparing for the worst and it killed me inside knowing there is nothing anyone can do except pray, have a lot of canned food and board up their windows.

Recently in the media, there has been a lot of talk about how America is divided as a nation and how nothing positive is happening anymore.

I knew that narrative would change from what I saw at a gas station in West Texas. I saw people who were going toward the storm to help those who would need help after the storm hit. They did not know what people would need but they knew people were going to need help.

The storm ended up dumping 51 inches of rain throughout south Texas flooding the entire south side of the city of Houston. The next day, people whose houses were not flooded went out to help those who were flooded in their houses or about to be flooded because of the rising water spilling over from the bayous.

Once the water started rising and people were having to escape out of their second story windows, strangers started driving their boats down streets to see if anyone needed help escaping the rising waters. Once shelters were opened, there were so many people willing to volunteer and help with donations that shelters were having to turn volunteers away because there was too much help already provided.

Stories started coming to the surface from people who were rescued and then the  next day were on a boat helping rescue others. JJ Watt, Houston Texans football player, set up an account for people to donate money to relief efforts and, at the time of writing, has raised just over $27 million.

People have continually shown that no matter how much anyone says America is divided, when push comes to shove, America is a country united as one by loving and helping their neighbor in times of need.

I saw photos of neighbors helping neighbors, not worrying about skin color, ethnicity or religion. They were helping because they saw a human being in need of help and they had the capacity to do so.

America is a lot like a large family. Yes, we might fight over issues or with how to run certain programs, but we are a country of people who genuinely love one another. People would not be driving hundreds of miles towing boats to help those in need because they hated them. They did so because they saw neighbors who needed help.

We should all learn a lesson from Harvey that no matter what “hatred” is being spread in America, we as a nation still have a loving and compassionate heart.

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