For the common good.
September 29, 2022
On a day when millions of Americans in Florida are under threat from a catastrophic hurricane, I don’t feel it is appropriate (for me) to write about political issues. Other commentators have made a different choice, which I respect. But as I thought about the stories that I would comment on this evening, they all paled in comparison to what is happening in Florida.
The force, scope, and duration of the hurricane’s damage are difficult to imagine—and the worst may be yet to come. Indeed, like Hurricane Katrina, it will take weeks to understand the extent of its devastation. Items that seem like temporary inconveniences—loss of power—can quickly turn into life-threatening situations for those dependent on medical devices and regular healthcare to sustain their quality of life. Distribution systems for food, water, gasoline, and natural gas will grind to a halt until power is restored and streets are cleared of debris. Communication networks and financial systems may be unavailable until the electrical grid is restored.
In the coming weeks and months, Americans will gather their resources and talents to come to the aid of their fellow citizens. Some of that aid will come in the form of private donations, but the vast majority will come from the US government. As Rep. Barney Frank said, “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” I would modify Rep. Frank’s aphorism by adding a phrase at the end: “for the common good.”
As I write about the political challenges we face, some readers question whether my optimism is genuine. It is. One of the reasons I am optimistic about our future as a nation is the scale and heft and momentum of America. The disaster in Florida is an example of why we should take comfort in being part of a vast nation blessed with abundant resources and a diverse population that shares a belief in the promise of America. Florida does not have the resources to recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ian. America does.
The relationship between the state of Florida and the rest of the Union has been prickly of late, but there is no doubt that the American people will spare nothing in the effort to help Florida recover from Hurricane Ian. That is as it should be.
Our thoughts are with the people of Florida as they face the challenges posed by Hurricane Ian—which they will surely overcome.
The Comments section of this newsletter is open to all readers. For those readers in Florida, please let us know that you are okay and tell us what you need. Be safe and proceed with caution as you venture back into your communities.
With affection and concern for the people of Florida,
Robert Hubbell & Jill Bickett.