Saturday, September 2, 2017

In Praise of American Values


What a week. I mean WHAT A WEEK.

Houston area rainfall in INCHES

Where to start?  Virtually all US news this week—at least that reaching us over here in Greece on US TV—focused on Southeast Texas flooding, plus of course, tantalizing Presidential touches like pardoning a partisan supporter, banning willing soldiers from serving in the military, and substantially cutting taxes for the yet to be determined. Oh yes, and North Korea.

Sort of makes you think everything is underwater.   

As some of you may know, my son is a chaplain with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, which includes the city of Houston.  He was on site for the recovery of the six members of a single family (two great grandparents and four of their great grandchildren, ages 6 to 16) who perished when the van they were in was swept off the road into the water.  May God have mercy on their souls, and grant serenity of thought to the many torn apart by what this great storm has wrought.

But for the courage and perseverance of first responders, and an army of volunteers, each one risking his or her own life to save others, the death toll would be far greater.  Let us stop for a moment and look at the faces of these brave saviors.  They’re people of every color, gender, ethnicity, economic strata, religion, and sexual preference working together for a single purpose, to save another person’s life. 

That is not a Houston or Texas phenomenon in times of crisis. It is a tried and true, deeply engrained American trait. We saw the same courage in New Orleans during Katrina, and in New York and New Jersey with Sandy.  In trying times like these we see our true strength and values as a country come to the fore.

It is not a time for politics, polemics, or pettiness.

This is a time for reflecting on what brings us together, not to hammer away at what drives us apart.  Let us find a lesson in how individual Texans are pulling together to battle an unmitigated disaster, let us bring that sense of camaraderie into our hearts, allow it to fill our souls, and pray that it serves as an honest guide to what we all truly share as American values.


And for those who wish to donate to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief, here is the link.



  1. I am trying really hard, my brother. I believe in the deep, sympathetic humanity of the overwhelming majority of of humankind, American or not.

    I keep thinking about those who have lost loved ones, but also about those whose homes were the achievement of lifetime, who now have ruination on their hands. It is heartbreaking.

    But my mind also keeps going back to the Texas and Louisiana representatives in Congress who voted against aid for New Yorkers and New Jerseyans devastated by Sandy. And to the small government enthusiasts--like Trent Lott--who wanted FEMA to rebuild their beach houses after Katrina. And to the venom that comes from that sector of the US when it comes to the dangers to the planet of fossil fuels.

    Maybe if I was watching it all on TV, I would forget about everything but the suffering people. But I can barely look at the pictures you have posted here, which I imagine are mild compared to what I might see on CNN.

    I know I am being a terrible sour puss. Maybe those people trying to save that poor horse and each other all applauded Obama's position on Climate Change. I will tell myself they did. And that the rebellious Earth did not send this lesson on purpose to convince us ALL that no one is safe if our sacred planet is not protected.

    I will try. HARD! I really will.

    1. Thank you for doing as I'd expect you to do, Sis, for it is as should be done. The same should be done by those possessing differing opinions. The process shall not be easy for any of us, but difficult in the extreme, yet the alternative is simply unacceptable...and utterly dreadful to contemplate.

    2. Thank you for being my brother, no matter what. I will be sending my donations to the Sierra Club and to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In other words to the people who are working to slow it down before it happens again.

  2. Well, yes on all the climate science views. Of course, it goes without saying.

    But a lot of poor and working people were hard-hit by that hurricane. A friend in Houston couldn't watch TV news because she saw so much suffering.

    These crises bring out the best in people. It was first responders and community people who helped stranded and endangered people. And that shows me the goodness in so many people, like those who helped immigrants in Greece or other countries.

    But what is so upsetting today is that two "Dreamers" died saving people from drowning. They jumped right in to help.

    And now 800,000 people who committed no crimes are being criminalized by the White House resident and his pro-Confederate, anti civil rights attorney general.

    And two lost their lives doing the human, right thing. And the mother of one isn't being allowed to cross the border to attend his funeral.

    What is wrong with this picture? There is zero humanity in this administration which we have known since before it landed in the White House. But this is so cruel, one of the cruelest acts possible.

    And by the way, I won't donate to the Red Cross. They have a bad record from hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. See New York Times editorial within the last week.

    Finding good community organizations to donate to would be a better recommendation.