Weathering the Partisan Storm: What Hurricane Harvey Tells Us About the Political Climate


Public domain image, Department of Defense.

Crystal Sung, Editor in Chief

While the ideological divide seems to be ever-widening these days, it’s reassuring to see how much we have mobilized in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The first major hurricane since 2005 and the wettest tropical cyclone to strike the US, Hurricane Harvey has caused at least 50 casualties in the nation. Over 30,000 have been displaced, mostly due to the flooding in the Houston, Texas, area.

It is truly incredible how civilians took matters into their hands when rescue teams and resources were stretched thin. Relief efforts were in many cases stymied by flooding. Consequently, many responded to calls for help through social media, paddling kayaks to bear others to safety.

The story that stood out the most to me was that of a woman who gave birth in the height of the storm and was rescued by neighbors who formed a human chain in the floodwaters to help her out of her house.

No one asked about where someone else was on the political spectrum before saving them, or ignored them because of their race or religion.

If we can overlook our differences in the face of a natural disaster, why do we insist on labelling each other in all other instances? Why does that same respect cease existing when we aren’t facing danger?

While it is shocking to see the aftermath and devastation of a hurricane, it’s equally surprising to see how much a storm can mend.


When the great flood comes

It washes away all prejudice

I only do what you would do for me

One for all and all for one

In arcane battle hymns we stand

Arms interlocked in damp unity

Deluged in love under jealous sky

Roaring rain cannot touch us

It changes us in unseen ways

The ultimate baptism


When did pointing fingers

Become our only occupation

All ceaseless jabber but no action

Bend the rules ‘cause each does what’s right

Everyone insists there’s a black versus a white

Majority, minority, Republican, Democrat

Misogynist, Nazi, white trash, elitist scum

All we know is a vicious cycle of calling names

Gag each other in diverse ways, no room for

Other opinions, all fire in a crowded theatre

How do we escape this impasse, no one knows

From furious tweets to profane beats

It seems all an epic tug of war, back and forth

Flies beating on the unyielding windowpane

Why do we wrestle endlessly on a sinking ship

Why can’t we join fingers

Like the peeling magic of that da Vinci fresco

White, black, brown, yellow, I don’t much care

If only we would go back to the drawing board

Recover virtue, respect, tolerance, compromise

It’s really not that hard – but then again maybe it is

When each of us has rainbow blinders on

Complacent in our righteous delusions

Unwilling to back down one bit, finger a solution

So here in an angry stalemate we linger