Texans have a sense of community

At the end of August nobody could miss the terrible weather event that took place in Texas. This storm did a lot of damage in the region of Houston. Many pictures and videos of this disaster have been broadcast on television, on the Internet, on the radio or in newspapers. The Houston area was drowned under the water. Americans and the whole world were shocked by this disaster and Houston was the focus of attention of many reporters all around the world.
According to the first estimates, the storm caused at least 44 deaths, many injured people and more than one million victims. Many military and police officers have come to help thousands of Texans trapped by the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey.

On the other hand, many volunteers are involved in helping people who lost everything during this storm. Camp beds were installed in non-flooded public buildings. In addition, many people have “left their lives behind” to help those in difficulty. Some carry families on their boats, others save babies or helped in emergency shelters. Some people even drove more than 5 hours to help rescue.
The Texans have a very collective spirit in general, but this is even more visible in this type of disaster. This type of behavior makes me rethink about Kemnis’s text “Barn Raising” in which the author speaks essentially about the spirit of community. Kemnis explains in this text that each one is useful in one society and needs others, even if he does not like it. This is how he defines the community. In this type of community there is no place for individualism or egoism. Everyone has to make their own contribution and this will inevitably benefit society. This is totally the case in Texas when many people volunteer to help others who are in a worse situation than they are. They are ready to welcome them home, give them food, help them find their family, even if they do not know each other. Two characteristics of the community approach to democracy are visible following this event. The first point is that one can always accomplish more with a group of people. That’s what’s happening in Texas right now. Thanks to a great mobilization, many people were saved from the floods. On the other hand, the second characteristic is that individualism comes in second place. People do not stay at home, but come out to help people in trouble. The principle of civil republicanism rests on a common good which in this case represents the security of the population in Texas. In moments like this, there are no more social classes as described by Sumner. Everybody is at the same lever on the social stairs.
In addition to the Texans, it is a whole country that supports this state through donations of clothing, food or money. US President Donald Trump also traveled to Houston to support the people and expressed his immense joy in the effectiveness of relief services.
There is no doubt that this storm has created a strong spirit within the Texas community, but also within the United States.




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7 Responses to Texans have a sense of community

  1. dasboot01 says:

    I agree with the comparison between Kemnis’ “Barn Raising” and the Hurricane Harvey situation going on in Houston. I think it’s important to understand that the US typically doesn’t resemble the type of society found in “Barn Raising.” The relief effort in Houston is not a normality in the US and really drives home the idea that as a community we can accomplish so much.

    “Barn Raising” is set in a society where the community comes together as means to improve survival odds for the whole town which is much what is happening in Houston. The city (and the surrounding communities) are banding together since in the end having a strong Houston is good for the country as a whole. I have to think about the fact that there are smaller scale disasters going on in this country everyday that aren’t being addressed. Issues with homelessness, mental health, drug addiction, and crime plague the country everyday and where is the help to prevent these from happening.

    It is estimated that the cost of repairs in Houston are going to be in the ten billion dollar range, which is not much compared to costs spent on persistent issues such as mental health treatment and jailing prisoners where that number is in the forty to fifty billion dollar range. If the nation could unite like “Barn Raising” and Houston there could be a great improvement in quality of life throughout the nation and the US community could greatly benefit.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/nyregion/citys-annual-cost-per-inmate-is-nearly-168000-study-says.html (source for the 40 – 50 billion dollar range on prison sentences.)

  2. Megan Lynde says:

    I’m glad you chose to talk about the connection between Hurricane Harvey and Barn Raising. It’s strange to see that even in a country that’s considered highly individualistic, people are still willing to help in a time of need. I think Americans cycle between being individualistic and being community oriented depending on their environment at the time. Most Americans live a convenient lifestyle where we don’t need direct help to complete every day tasks like getting water or food. Because of this we are capable of putting ourselves first and we don’t have to focus on helping other people sustain a specific lifestyle. However, when natural disasters occur, humans cannot conquer nature’s devastation alone. They need a community to support them. This is why I believe that depending on the circumstances, people cycle between being individualistic and being community focused.

  3. jisthelamb says:

    You made a significant bridge between the Texans sense of community and “Barn Raising”. As you stated, “In this type of community. there is no place for individualism or egoism. Everyone has to make their own contribution and this will inevitably benefit society. This is the total case in Texas when many people volunteer to help others who are in a worse situation than they are”(ennausa). Essentially. we see that when individuals come together in efforts to help their neighbor there is a higher common ground being accomplished which is safety and care for each other. The Hurricane Harvey resulted in a lot of devastation including displacements, food shortages, health scares, water traps and sadly, fatalities. Gratefully, people were able to put aside their idiosyncrasies and aided each other. They learned they could count on each other. This is what Kemmis would identify as the importance of working together.
    ennausa. (2016, September 5). The Texans sense of community.
    Kemmis, D. (1990). Barn Raising. University of Oklahoma Press., 120-127.

  4. bijanm1995 says:

    I have also noticed how we tend unite as a country after a crisis emerges. Wether it be a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, no matter how divided our country is we always come together in times of crisis. The massive inflow of people volunteering their time and money after this disaster in Texas to help people they have never met just goes to prove this point. I do think our general culture is more individualistic here but in times of crisis we tend to become more collectivized in our efforts to save people and rebuild the community.

  5. Courtney says:

    I think it was interesting how you compared Barn Raising to what is currently happening in Texas. In the US people typically keep and only care about themselves. I think that this was a great comparison in the sense that in both the text and in Texas people have to set this idea aside and do what is best for their community. I think it is amazing to see how when a disaster strikes people are so willing to go and help those that they have never met. I think this is because people realize that when something bad happens it is easier to overcome it with the help of others. In Barn Raising, people had to set aside their differences and work together and in Texas, people have to come in and help those who lost all their belongings in the flood. Although our society is not always like this, I think people know when something bad happens, it is better to come together than to suffer alone.

  6. langer032 says:

    I like the comparison you have made from Barn Raising to the events going on in Houston. I like what you said about how this event has brought the country together as a community. And it is a great thing to have happen. However, in my opinion it is a shame that it takes an event like hurricane Harvey to bring the country together like this. We should be doing our best to try and do what is best without having a historically bad hurricane having to hit. It just goes to show what egos and pride can do.

  7. ghostcole says:

    I also liked that you compared the events going on currently in Houston to Barn raising. In barn raising people within the community put their dislikes and hate aside to help each other. Houston has gotten numerous amounts of volunteers from various states that are all trying to help those affected by the storm. In barn raising Kemmis mentioned that the people within the community learned to count on one another. With the catastrophic events taking place in Houston we are seeing that we can all unite to help those in need. Volunteers who came in from other states went to help on their own will no one forced anyone to help. We are seeing people donate their own time to help evacuate those stuck in their homes and help people settle into shelters and we are seeing thousands of people donate money and necessities to families who have now lost everything. Not only have volunteers help out while it was still dangerous there are volunteers who are staying to help those families affected rebuild their homes. Regardless of all the risk which included death many still risked themselves to help other we are seeing people have more sympathy towards others. This in a large scale is what Kemmis envisioned when he wrote barn raising that when we can put all differences aside we can accomplish great things.

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