September 1, 2017

SPIKED: We Need More Texas Attitude And Less PC:

The official response to Harvey appears to be very competent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was on the ground two days before Harvey reached land. Texas governor Greg Abbott deployed the entire Texas National Guard. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner quickly activated police and firefighters, and provided calm, clear instructions to residents. This was much better than the response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005 – indeed, it seemed to show that the authorities had learned the lessons of the botched response to Katrina. . . .

As capable as the local, state and federal disaster response has been, what has been even more impressive is the great effort made by thousands of ordinary people, volunteering to help their fellow citizens. Seeing massive flooding and destruction, many would think: ‘How do I get out of here?’ But in Houston we saw lines of cars towing boats, people driving into the worst of the flooding. Like the cavalry, on came the hundreds of the ‘Texas Navy’ (joined by the ‘Cajun Navy’ of Louisiana) in fishing boats, jet skis and kayaks.

They went about their business with modest determination. CNN found two men loading up their boat, heading into the storm. ‘What are you going to do?’, the CNN reporter asked. ‘Go try to save some lives’, one of the men said, in a matter-of-fact way. Those without a boat helped, too. Five volunteer rescuers from Lufkin, Texas stopped at a gas station, and a guy handed them three $100 bills, according to a New York Times report. ‘Texas people just stick together’, said one.

While Hurricane Harvey brought out the best in many, it also brought out the worst. Across social media, certain liberals were feeling less than sympathetic to Texans, seen as Trump voters and Republican Party backers. ‘I don’t believe in instant karma, but this feels like it for Texas’, tweeted a University of Tampa professor: ‘Hopefully this will help them realise the GOP doesn’t care about them.’ (This professor was later fired for this tweet, which he shouldn’t have been.)

The heroism shown by ordinary Texans has been a great antidote to the prejudices expressed by well-off liberals towards ‘deplorable’ Americans. The politically correct view is that white folks are irredeemably racist, and the country is inescapably divided by race, yet the images from Houston told a different story: a black deputy sheriff wading through floodwaters with a white child in each arm; a white SWAT officer carrying a Vietnamese-American woman and her baby through floodwaters; three Asian and Hispanic constables moving an elderly woman in a wheelchair.

As it happens, this was not exceptional: as anyone who has travelled through Texas and the South will know, social interactions between people of different backgrounds are casually pleasant. Unlike PC liberals, most people don’t see life through a prism of racial categories. In response to Harvey, we didn’t see the ‘diversity’ of essentially different people – we saw citizens helping citizens, Texans helping Texans.

Yes, but that offers insufficient opportunities for graft and political manipulation.

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