Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s havoc a hum­bling re­minder

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion - STATE SEN. LENA TAY­LOR

You have seen im­ages of wa­ter rip­ping through Texas com­mu­ni­ties.

Wash­ing out roads, sweep­ing away cars and shift­ing the foun­da­tions of homes, Hur­ri­cane Har­vey left a path of de­struc­tion and an op­por­tu­nity for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

In a na­tion gripped by par­ti­san bick­er­ing, fights for trans­gen­der equal­ity, ill-thought im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, white na­tion­al­ists’ up­ris­ings and in­ter­na­tional mis­sile threats, we have been in an ex­tended night­mare of man pit­ted against man, faith against faith and Amer­i­can val­ues tested in the face of con­flict­ing ide­olo­gies.

Then Har­vey showed up to douse the flames of divi­sion and dis­ar­ray. Har­vey re­minded us of who we are as a na­tion and a peo­ple.

Some brought boats.

Oth­ers pro­vided food, dry clothes and sup­plies.

Many held hands and made hu­man chains to pull strangers from ris­ing wa­ters. Oth­ers drove peo­ple out of harm’s way. From neigh­bor­ing cities and across the coun­try, peo­ple showed up when it counted. Har­vey, like Hur­ri­canes Ka­t­rina, Sandy and An­drew, humbly re­minded us that in the end we are tread­ing wa­ter to­gether. We sink or sail con­tin­gent upon our abil­ity to do what is right, fair and just by one an­other.

This storm, too, shall pass. It will be then that we truly mea­sure what we are made of as a coun­try. Hard ques­tions will be asked of our lo­cal lead­ers, leg­is­la­tors and pres­i­dent. We will be forced to face how we have treated oth­ers on “prin­ci­ple” to de­lay re­sources and fund­ing pack­ages to neigh­bors in New Or­leans, New York and New Jersey when they needed it most.

While Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as­sured Tex­ans the ad­min­is­tra­tion is there for them, some will re­mem­ber that Mike Pence, while still a con­gress­man, in­fa­mously said we can’t al­low a nat­u­ral disas­ter to bank­rupt our next gen­er­a­tion.

So, we will wait to see what fi­nan­cial cost leg­is­la­tors are will­ing to bear to help a city that is not their own. Ka­t­rina and Sandy’s dam­ages were $160 bil­lion and $70 bil­lion, re­spec­tively. It’s ironic that nearly all of Texas’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion op­posed the relief pack­age for New Jersey dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Sandy. I guess they are ask­ing oth­ers not to do unto them, what they did unto oth­ers.

We will wait to see which scam­mers show up, to bilk Tex­ans out of their money.

We will de­bate the role of cli­mate change in the sever­ity of Har­vey.

We will lament in­fras­truc­ture and city plan­ning.

But na­tion­ally and lo­cally, we should be re­minded of the ex­am­ple set by the sur­vivors and vol­un­teers of this hur­ri­cane.

We can weather any storm, when we work to­gether.

Lena C. Tay­lor is a Demo­cratic state sen­a­tor from Dis­trict 4, with of­fices at the Capi­tol in Madi­son and in Milwaukee. Her web­site is legis.wis­con­sin.gov/se­nate/04/tay­lor.

State Sen. Lena Tay­lor.

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