Better than the cavalry

By boats, trucks, and buses, they are coming. From Maine, Idaho, and Texas, they are coming. Bringing food, water, blankets. Above all, they are bringing hope.

What our government was unable or unwilling to do (which it is, remains to be seen) our people are now doing on their own.

It is a sight to warm the heart.

As a people, we Americans are, and always have been, kind, generous, and open hearted. In times of need, we do not leave others standing by the side of the road, whether it is a stranger in need of assistance on the shoulder of a highway or a city succumbing to rising waters.

It seems we do best in times of crisis, when the creative energy of our individualism is turned voluntarily toward the service of the common good. In easy times, we seem to forget the needs of our brothers and sisters and turn our efforts, instead, to the self-referential pursuits of spending and acquiring.

Perhaps this crisis will remind us that government is not an impediment to personal freedom so much as a tool of the collective will. What we are trying to do as individuals and small collective cells, the government should have been doing instantly, and doing it in our name.

I remember the police mottos in various towns where I have lived: “To Protect and to Serve.” Our government, in its zeal to protect, has forgotten how to serve.

It is something we as voters, and our public officials as policy makers, need to remember if we ever want to have a government worthy of the goodheartedness and courage that our citizens are now showing in the wake this terrible national disaster.

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