When Tragedy Unites Our Country: How Hurricane Harvey is Bringing Us Together

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about Hurricane Harvey making its first landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017.

Weather experts knew it was coming. As with hurricanes and super storms we’ve seen in the past (Sandy, Andrew, and most notably, Katrina), no amount of preparation could have prepared residents, first responders, and area officials for what was to come. Harvey, unfortunately, was no different.

Harvey is being touted as the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, estimating over $160 billion worth of damages to the Greater Houston area. Over 30 deaths related to Harvey were reported as of August 30, 2017. And many survivors have been displaced from their homes, and won’t have a home to return to, once allowed to return to their respective neighborhoods.

It’s a natural disaster. A tragedy — multiple tragedies, in fact. It’s one of those tragedies that cannot be controlled (which is part of why tragedies that can be controlled are as anger-invoking as they are). It allows us to think about our freedoms, and how lucky we truly are to have homes to go home to, when they can be so easily taken away from us.

And hopefully, we are smart enough to not react like this every time there’s a new report from Texas…

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Fortunately, Coulter’s tweet is one in a sea of more positive reactions, including this from Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

And, both celebrities, as well as Texas-based companies, are organizing donation relief efforts, as well as offering shelter.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As further proof that Harvey is bringing people together rather than diving them, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has deployed aid to Texas, even after Texas did not provide the same aid to New York in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. Cuomo’s decision shows that in the midst of tragedy, we need to come together — instead of repeating the actions of past tragedies. Rather, we need to set a new precedent.

We’re witnessing many more examples, showcasing the precedent of coming together. A group of police officers risked their lives to save a toddler from drowning in a flood. Volunteers — outside of law enforcement and EMS — took matters into their own hands by making rescue runs, saving people trapped in flooded houses. Neighbors helped each other out in further rescue efforts, by any means necessary — including monster trucks and canoes. News reporters are putting down their microphones, and assisting in rescue efforts.

In a time when our country has reached such a state of division and political unrest, it is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to show what it takes to come together. However, the fact still remains that with the exception of a few outlying tweeters, we still know how to support each other in times of need. We still remember how, as a country, to recognize who needs help, and why it’s needed.

Millennials, be part of this coming together. We are the compassionate generation, the generation raising our voices, the generation that takes action. If you’re not sure how to help, NPR offers a great list of resources that can be found here.

Remember that even if Harvey’s affects aren’t being felt in your neighborhood, you can still make an impact. To be grateful for what you have. To still have faith in the United States of America and its people. And to witness people coming together.

Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz

Trumpcare…The Uncertain Future of America’s Healthcare System

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

“What did I do? I did my job. I slashed benefits to the bone; I saved this company money. Was I too harsh? Maybe. I don’t believe in coddling people.”

No, that wasn’t from a U.S. Congress member discussing whether or not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That was from a 2005 episode of The Office, when Dwight Schrute is given the responsibility of picking a healthcare plan for Dunder Mifflin’s employees. It sounds like something that politicians — especially lately — would actually say though, right?

The recent healthcare debate that’s permeated the American political landscape has not felt far away from the antics of Dwight — matters of life and death have been used as polarizing political pawns in an era of great uncertainty for not only the future of the Affordable Care Act, but for our identity as a nation.

The ideological differences between those both for and against the Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, which was based on Romneycare in Massachusetts), could not have been more clean than in Wednesday night’s CNN-sponsored debate, entitled “The Future of Healthcare.”

The debate featured 2016 presidential runner-ups Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, who spoke for over an hour and a half on policy and the heart of the divide when it comes to healthcare. To their credit, that was all they talked about — there were no personal jabs, mention of grabbing genitalia, or enhancement of body parts. It sadly was a refreshing reminder of how a political debate is supposed to be.

dwight_schrute.jpg

There were even instances of compromise — an almost forgotten concept recently — with both men agreeing that there is no reason prescriptions that can be purchased cheaper from other countries can’t be brought to America, and that wait-time for drug approval by the FDA can be cut down. They also expressed their joint disdain of insurance companies who care more about profits than patients.

Now to their differences, and to the divide amongst many Americans.

Ted Cruz wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and give Americans choices when it comes to their healthcare by providing an open marketplace amongst private insurance companies. Bernie Sanders argued for as single-payer system, similar to those in Canada and much of Europe, where healthcare is a right of every person, regardless of income and preexisting conditions.

Sanders was challenged on the struggle small businesses face to provide insurance for their employees, while Cruz had to answer to what Republicans plan to replace the ACA with, what happens to people with preexisting conditions, and whether or not birth control will be covered.

Turns out, a single-payer system, while it would cause increased taxes, would allow people with current and unknown preexisting conditions to maintain coverage, would not label all women as having a preexisting condition because of their potential to have a baby, and would promise that all Americans have access to decent care.

While promising to be a friend to small businesses and provide a wider variety of healthcare plans, private-based insurance — at least in the plans set out thus far by this Congress as a replacement of the ACA — fail to guarantee that average Americans will be able to afford them. And the lack of a solid plan is what is frightening.

Bottom line: healthcare is personal. No system is perfect. But surely, having no plan is deadly, for all of us.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.