Dr. Bill Atwood

The real America

Things got very ugly last month in America. It was sad to see and hear about the racists rantings, the violence, the hate-filled speech, and the anger that a few of our fellow citizens embrace. The fringe element of our society doesn’t define us; they misrepresent us.

I was looking at an American Flag and the silk that was used to create the symbol of our nation was bordered by a golden fringe. Nice to have it there, but the fringe was not the part of the banner that mattered. The stripes, the field of blue, and the fifty stars are what the world recognizes as the representation of what America has to offer. Nobody pays a great deal of attention to the fringe.

Last week we saw what really happens in the United States when a horrible event takes place. Americans show their true colors when things get rough. In the days that followed the riots fueled by one group of the fringe against another group of the fringe a real storm blew into our lives. Harvey slammed into Texas with a vengeance. Harvey stuck around, and delivered even more rain and wind. Almost fifty inches of rain fell; enough to cover the entire state of California with two inches of water. The infrastructure was damaged and so the sewers ruptured, roads collapsed, power went out, houses and entire neighborhoods vanished with the wind, and dozens perished.

That is when the real America came out and the real America was visible to the world. The volunteers who joined with the brave professional emergency services folks arrived to help the victims. The volunteers who drove to Houston, and those who brought boats to rescue people trapped in their homes, cars, and offices.

There wasn’t a governmental quota system designed to ensure the order of rescue worthiness in place, nor were there any who seemed to care about the race, religion, or gender of the victims. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Americans helping one another because the chips were down as the water was rising. Money is pouring into the coffers in huge amounts through charities such as The Salvation Army and Franklin Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, to the people who need the help. Major corporations are collecting dollars and products are being shipped to provide the basic necessities of life.

The acts of rescue, the donations of treasury, talents, and time, really define who we are. We see it in our area whenever some horrible thing happens here. When many houses went up in flames three years ago due to a couple of fires, the response was overwhelming. The victims felt the love and support from us.

Sunday was a National Day of Prayer for the victims. When President Trump called upon us to join in prayers he knew that was only one step. He knows that the prayers will be answered because the people who will be praying will also find themselves called into action. Harvey will prove to be no match for the power of prayer.

After Sept. 11, the world saw how we react when we see people in need. America really isn’t represented by whom we elect or by the actions of the fringe element. In the song, “The House I Live In” by Frank Sinatra, the lyrics mention flags, businesses, schools, and other aspects of what is America. The line I enjoy the most states it so very well, “especially the people, that’s America to me.”

The Lone Star State isn’t alone. Ignore the fringe and look at what America really is - the people.