Are you one of those Americans who’s having difficulty connecting the dots between what you see on the television and your own experiences, when it comes to how folks in this country treat one another?
Turn on the TV, and there are lots of protesters…lots of hate. Screaming.Violence. Just unbelievable stuff.
Indeed, if what you see on TV was your only frame of reference, you’d surely think by now that the U.S. was the most polarized country on the planet.
But what you see on TV isn’t your only frame of reference. Thankfully, the principal information source for your worldview is your own experience moving out and about in the course of living your life.
One of the silver linings to the arrival of Hurricane Harvey is that just when it seemed…on television…that Americans couldn’t be any more discordant in their dealings with one another, images that burst through the prevailing narrative showed Americans of all colors (literally) aiding one another in a great time of need.
Now that fellowship is being evidenced with regard to Hurricane Irma.
Case in point:
Even before Irma arrived, and Floridians were frantically making preparations, an Orlando-area woman was desperately searching for a generator in case power went out at her residence. Pam Brekke’s father, a Korean War veteran, suffers from congestive heart failure, and relies on the aid of an oxygen machine to take the strain off his already-delicate heart.
Shopping for the elusive generator at a local Lowe’s store that just happened to have a few remaining, Brekke thought her prayers were answered…until she noticed the customer right in front of her had managed to get the last one. Brekke burst into tears.
And that’s when her prayers really were answered.
That same customer, Ramon Santiago, saw how upset she was, and walked up to tell her that she could have the generator he had in his hands. Perhaps the best part is that he did not even know precisely why she was crying – he just knew she wanted a generator. So he gave her the one he had.
Santiago, whose first language does not happen to be English, said simply, “She need the generator. It’s OK. No worry for them.”
And when the store learned of what Santiago had done, they tracked down another generator and set it aside for him to have – for free.
“I wanted to make sure he received it because he definitely deserved it,” said manager Melissa Rodriguez.
Just a random story of which to be mindful the next time you’re watching CNN or some other mainstream TV news network, and you’re thinking that one half of America really walks around hating the other half.
Once again…don’t believe the hype.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large