President’s Message – September 2017
Generally, I use this time and space to tell you what I think about the state of politics in Texas or the nation, but the only thing on my mind these days is the state of the Texas Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
I’ve lived through plenty of hurricanes and tropical storms here in Houston, and I can promise you that there has never been a storm of this magnitude or with this level of destruction, from Rockport all the way to the Texas state line, and beyond. The lives and property lost are nearly unimaginable, even for those of us living every horrendous moment.
I was so disappointed that the media chose to take this devastating moment in time and put a political spin on it. Even more shocking was the level of ignorance I saw on social media: ignorant comments about global warming and those blaming the GOP for this storm. Really? I’m beginning to think there should be some kind of test before you are allowed to be a journalist or have access to social media.
Those fools just don’t get it. They have probably never set foot in Texas. They do NOT understand the “Texas state of mind”. But we do. And it has been on full display throughout this storm and I know it will continue during the long recovery.
The “Texas state of mind” is a full-blown “come and take it” attitude. Harvey could pound our shores, flood our cities and ravage our countryside but we Texans do not back down. We stand with our neighbors during and after such horrors. Our challenges in the coming months and years may be overwhelming, but it will not break our spirit.
Beginning as soon as the waters began to rise, those who could be were out in the storm helping. We had every available first responder and the entire Texas National Guard to rescue people but it wasn’t enough. Suddenly, every able bodied person with a flat-bottomed boat appeared, as if by magic, to help. It still wasn’t enough. Then came volunteers with boats came from all over Texas. It still wasn’t enough. Then over the highway horizon came the Cajun Navy and the other volunteers with boats from other states. It was enough. These good people all put themselves in harm’s way to help other survivors. It wasn’t their job – they were getting paid. They just came. And made a difference
What I witnessed was beyond anything you could have anticipated. Total strangers left their own flooding homes to help rescue others -and their pets. People left the refuge of their own boats to grab others caught in the currents and bring them to safety. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, black, white, brown or purple, or what your political persuasion might be. People reached out and helped each other in their time of need.
That is the America that I know, love, and still, believe in.
When the rains began to let up, everyone who could began gathering supplies and making their way to shelters to offer aid and comfort to the millions of people who had just lost everything. And with them, they brought hope. I could give you so many examples, but I only have one column……just troll Facebook if you need proof of the goodness of humankind.