In the aftermath of this horrendous storm, one positive result is that it will—for a time—bring people together. People come together to help out their neighbors in need. Many people in my region are volunteering to help the victims of the storm, opening up their homes to provide a place for people to shower, as well as offering food and helping with the gargantuan clean-up effort that now must be undertaken.
Hurricanes are fairly unique as disasters go, in that they affect an enormous area, leaving millions of people across vast far-flung areas in shared suffering (see endnote). In this case, this is from Canada in the north to Jamaica in the south and from Nova Scotia in the east to Michigan in the west. At least briefly, we are no longer just neighborhoods, cities, states, or voting blocks, but one country, one people—and indeed, as this storm’s impact stretches across many national boundaries, we become (at least for the affected countries) one world, at least in a limited sense. This unity, even if fleeting, is an interesting contrast to what will be the subject matter of my upcoming post. Sure, problems will emerge, tensions will develop between certain groups—with certain usual suspects being more responsible for this, and politics as usual will get going likely rather quickly as the election draws near. But at least for now, some of that will be put aside.
- Endnote: I’ve been following hurricanes for a long time, and I’ve seen some strong and highly destructive, long-track storms, but this one is fairly unprecedented in its scale and certainly in its track. It’s an open question as to whether global warming is involved, because we are still in an active period of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. We will see.