The Real America

A few days ago, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast less than 30 miles from a town [Victoria] where my wife and I lived for two years just after our graduation from LSU in 1967. Harvey’s Category 4 winds certainly wreaked the havoc that would be expected of a hurricane of that magnitude, but the rainfall and rising water damage over the four to five days since landfall has made it the worst rainfall disaster in Continental U. S. history. In 1970, I was transferred by DuPont to that company’s plant near LaPlace, Louisiana — which is about the same distance from New Orleans that Victoria is from Harvey’s landfall point. Interestingly, it was twelve years ago this week that New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Encouragement From Tragedy

I grew up in a small town about an hour’s drive North of New Orleans, so I understand hurricanes. I have close relatives who lived South of New Orleans, much nearer to the Gulf Coast, and some of them experienced considerable property loss from past hurricanes like Betsy and Camille. I certainly would not want my remarks here to minimize in any way the heartache people in Texas are experiencing at this time, but there is something very encouraging that I’ve noticed as I’ve watched news coverage of this hurricane.

The Real America

There is no encouragement, of course, in the numerous stories of loss. Those stories are absolutely heartbreaking. The encouragement is in seeing the real America — people from all over this great country pulling together to help those affected by this tragedy.

It is so refreshing to have multiple days in a row of this kind of positive news coverage, shoving all the hatred and vitriol among small factions in our midst to the back burner. The liberal media is having to search very hard to find negative stories in an attempt to hide the reality of what is going on: 1) the very prompt, efficient and well-coordinated manner in which the impact of this tragedy is being managed by governmental agencies at all levels [local, state and federal]; 2) charitable organizations pouring in with volunteers and financial resources [and very effectively coordinating their efforts with governmental resources]; 3) our President and First Lady personally visiting the state [and by staying away from the hardest-hit areas in order to avoid burdening their governments with security requirements that would dilute their effectiveness in disaster management], doing so in a way that showed compassion and support while avoiding the logistical issues associated with a Presidential visit; and 4) the lack of looting, complaining about poor government support, etc.

There are, of course, the never-fail-to-find-a-way-to-criticize-Trump die-hards in the media who are meeting head-on the challenge to find negative stories — “The President doesn’t show compassion during Texas visit”; the First Lady wore spike heels when leaving the White House for the trip”, etc. I’m sure some tenacious reporter will learn from an “anonymous source close to the White House” the shocking news that the heels were given to Mrs. Trump by a Russian official during the campaign collusion going on last year. Thankfully, these media outlets are the ones with small and dwindling readership/listenership/viewership — so what most people are being exposed to during this respite is the real America.

What Now?

I’d love to believe this will continue after Harvey is no longer a top daily headline — i.e., that there will have been at least one beneficial impact of Harvey 2017 [a wake-up call to the media, resulting in more sensible news coverage]. I won’t hold my breath on that, but it’s a nice thought.


Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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