If there is one thing that can unite all people in the United States — left and right, white, black and brown, young and old — it is that we are all fascinated and terrified by weather.
The images of Sandy (call her a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm, she was still powerful and devastating) left us all transfixed. Have we ever seen New York City the way it has been in the past couple of days, eerily vacant of traffic and people as public transportation shut down and subway areas continue to flood? The floor of the New York Stock Exchange for two days in a row due to weather for the first time since 1888.
If we are not part of the affected area, we sit and watch, because we know that the bell is not tolling for us, but it has many times before.
It is the one thing to which none of us are immune. Weather can hit us all, no matter where we live. Mother Nature does not play favorites when it comes to her wrath. Rich and poor can be affected the same way. Although the rich can use more resources to survive the effects (a Twitter account by a fake Mitt Romney advises those of his ilk to flee the storm “to your second or third homes.”), we all have to deal with the aftermath.
From blizzards in the north to tropical storms in the south, from tornados in the midwest to mudslides on the west coast, we all have our weather issues to deal with, and we all seem to unite as a nation when a group of us suffers.
The most prominent has been Hurricane Katrina, but hurricanes have devastated other areas in the gulf or along the eastern seaboard before and since.
We have certainly seen it in our own community. Just a year and a half ago when Vilonia was ravaged by horrible weather, help poured in from many other areas. A deadly tornado swept through the city at about 7:30 p.m. on a Monday. The death toll reached six. Devastation was widespread. Vilonia residents spent the past 18 months rebuilding their city and healing emotional wounds. Still, they will never forget.
And that’s what makes us all sit in wonder at the horrors of events like Sandy. It reminds us that we are not all-powerful. We need to respect the forces of nature, and we need to accept help when it comes.
But as has been the case many times before, help always comes. It will be time for us to help those in the Northeast. Let’s not let them down.