From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.
I can’t completely articulate the devastatingly disastrous destruction directly caused by the ongoing mega-storm, Sandy. With her awesome power and endless well of natural strength she tore through and over our East Coast like a drunken bull in a china shop. Lingering ominously off land, she reared, and charged. With her great winds came rain, snow, sleet, and debris; floods followed. Oceans churned, waters surged. In her peripatetic path she toppled and tumbled all that man had built. Those who doubted her force were left humbled in her wake. Billions of dollars of damage, millions left powerless, thousands displaced, some homeless, and over 50 have lost their lives. Flooded streets, sunken ships, states blanketed by feet of snow. But that is not all.
Even as her state-by-state journey may be drawing to a close, her effects linger on. Obscured by the immediate devastation, are the blessings she bestowed. Hidden beneath her Halloween mask of murky water and debris, are her gifts of opportunity. Opportunity to realize our individual greatness, the opportunity to contribute that greatness to each other, to our communities, and our communities’ opportunity to shine among the inspiring stories of generosity and humanity surrounding us as the resounding call to action is sounded by those in need are the greatest opportunities of all. It is in these times of trouble, times of struggle that we as Americans band together. In danger and despair, we run towards not from each other. We unite as one.
To me there is no greater gift than the reminder of that union. A reminder that two are a couple, that a few build a family, that down a street lives a neighborhood. Sandy provides the reminder that while we are each one, we too, are many, and out of many we become one. The whole is truly greater than the sum of our parts. Through this sense of union and through our unique ability to come together, our nation has built itself and prospered for over 200 years.
In the past few days I have been struck by the spirit and generosity inherent in Americans. The spirit that can only be awakened in each of us by the knock of the common cause is the spirit of America. A nation so large, encompassing so many cultures, full of immigrants, of different religions, a place of different languages, and the sounds of conflicting dialects — it is this nation that time after time proves that together is better. Together we profit and together we mitigate our losses. Sandy reminds us how a presidential campaign that seemed interminable, divisive and polarizing now seems so small; the politics of separation being too weak, and far too temporary to hinder our spirits, to lessen our resolve.
Sandy’s strong winds and pounding rain didn’t make us generous, but they did create the opportunity for us to prove to ourselves that we are. In a season of holidays, of disguises, of family, of the great harvest, and of the giving of thanks, isn’t the opportunity to do them all at once the best gift of all? Rather than focus on what she took from us, we have the opportunity to rise to the occasion and focus on what she has given us, and that is a view of ourselves, a view into our own humanity — an opportunity to come together like a nation should, like America does. Sandy made us more American, more human, and much more aware.
Long after she is gone her name will be retired, her waters will have receded, and her path will be rebuilt. Sandy’s greatness is her strength, her power, and her unstoppable resolve, qualities we Americans all share.