By Cheryl Mattox Berry
A man opens his home to strangers with two young children. Volunteers rescue a family stuck in the attic as floodwaters swirl a few feet below. Good Samaritans pluck drivers from flooded cars. These acts of kindness by ordinary people in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey don’t surprise me.
During the 25 years I’ve lived in hurricane-prone Miami, I’ve seen the goodness of strangers when disaster strikes. What astonishes me is how quickly compassion disappears and ugliness re-appears when things go back to normal.
It reminds me of a monologue I said for my sixth grade Christmas program. I told the audience that everyone goes overboard to recognize the less fortunate during the holidays but forget them come Jan. 1, because we become busy with our own lives.
The message: Help people every day of the year.
Mrs. Bernice Harris, my teacher at Walker Avenue Elementary School in Memphis, wrote that speech. I’ve tried to live by her words and pass them on to my children and others my entire life.
The long-lasting destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey will make it difficult for people to forget the victims. It will take months and even years to rebuild homes and buildings, and lives.
Hopefully, Hurricane Harvey will jolt Republicans in Congress into doing their jobs. They must work on behalf of all citizens regardless of their political affiliation, income, religion, gender and sexual orientation. They weren’t elected to kowtow to a wannabe dictator, Donald J. Trump.
Trump, who wants to run this country like one of his cut-throat business, can’t relate to losing the roof over your head, going without power and scrounging for food. He shows no empathy for those outside his wealthy circle of friends and business associates.
And he lies.
For a minute, we’ve put politics aside to render assistance to the people and areas hit by the hurricane. We must remind Washington lawmakers that the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina need to be applied in Texas, and there’s no room for political shenanigans by Trump and his cohorts.