At the risk of sounding flippant, sometimes it takes a storm to make a village, ‘yall. As we all continue to watch images of tragedy and devastation in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we are also hearing and reading countless tales of heroism, selflessness and perseverance. Of individuals suffering but also of people – neighbors, volunteers, first-responders – helping people. It is both painful and inspiring at a time when many of us were starting to question the so-called brotherhood of man (and woman).
As I have written before, the media is arguably at its best in times of disaster; informing us, comforting us, reassuring us. I’m not talking about shootings or carjackings or drug busts and the like. Such stories seem to dominate day-to-day newscasts and headlines, while tales of heroism and charity largely take a backseat. I can still recall when Metro Mode/Model D first began its online publication. It was “all good news, all the time,” as they covered business and community. How refreshing, I thought; providing proof positive that ‘good news’ sells too.
In philosophy and religious dogma there is the timeworn question that goes something like, “If God is omnipotent or intrinsically good, why does he allow evil or bad things to occur?” “Because,” the typical retort follows, “Without the bad, we would not appreciate the good.” Harvey has forced us to consider what is really important in life as well as focus on our commonalties rather than our differences.
The headlines and news pundits have been forced to switch their focus from Charlottesville and division to Texas and unification. That is good – and, perhaps, a positive step toward renewing our faith in media and, most importantly, our society at large as we pray for the people of Houston and lick our wounds nationwide.