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Citizens United

The Clash is the only band that matters.  Rejecting the nihilism infecting the punk movement, they had one unifying political message in their music -- the system has failed us, so it is up to us to help each other.

I reflected on this as I woke up this morning and started reading more about The Planet Hoostin (sorry, movie joke).  Lots of us remember Hurricane Katrina and how what initially was a triumph of the human spirit quickly fell away into chaos and the dark side of humanity.  And with Trump continuing to show all the emotional depth of a cabbage, I have spent the entire time since Harvey hit landfall waiting for that to happen.

And not only has it not happened, but we are seeing an organization and effort that hasn't been around since 9/11.  It seems no one is bothering to wait for the government to do anything, THEY are doing it.

And it's beautiful.

You have to keep in mind that Texas is rife with social problems.  Other than Austin, the races there don't like each other and don't pretend to.  And all that is being thrown aside as everyone helps each other.

I need something to uplift my spirit and my faith in humanity, so let's take a look at some highlights, shall we?

1) . Volunteers.  Tens of thousands of them.  People couldn't wait to get out of New Orleans.  Now, we have the exact opposite situation.

2) . The makers of Budweisser have suspended production of beer so they can can fresh water and get it to people in Houston.  (One might argue that Budweisser is already water, but that's not a joke I'm going to make right now.)

3) . One guy is helping keep the spirits of kids up in the shelters by dressing up as Spider-Man, and the kids are eating it up.

4) . Joel Osteen and the hypocrisy of the Prosperity Gospel have finally been exposed.  He's taken such a hit that a satirical article on the Babylonian Bee about Osteen cruising the streets of Houston in his luxury yacht and passing out copies of his books to stranded residents was being reported as real news, to the point where the Bee is having to spell out that it was a joke.

5) . While Osteen had to be shamed into opening the doors of his megachurch to give people shelter, Jim McIngvale showed people how it's done.  McIngvale is known locally as "Mattress Mack," a furniture dealer with his own chain of stores called Gallery Furniture.  Known for commercials where he, in typical Texas fashion, bombastically makes his pitch to "save you more money!", Mattress Mack took the extraordinary step of opening up his stores to act as emergency shelters.  Besides getting food and water to people there, he let first responders sleep there and ordered his delivery trucks to assist in rescue operations.  Take notes, Osteen, THAT is how you do the Lord's work.  There is currently a movement for Houston to declare Mattress Mack Day to honor him.  The guy should be nominated for sainthood, too.

6) . Jeff Lindner is a weatherman for Houston who also works for the Harris County Flood Control District.  He used his weather reports and knowledge to make advisories and offer guidance to people looking to escape the storm and floods.  It worked, with the evacuation going as smoothly as could be expected.  In recognition of this, one Blake Ford launched a GoFundMe to give him a dream vacation.  People have contributed $10,000 so far.  Lindner's response?  "I am blown away about it.  I really can't believe all this.  I was just doing my job."

7) . This is the American South, which means one thing -- monster trucks.  Josh James is one such person, a mechanic at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.  James has himself a monster truck that sits over ten feet off the ground.  Needless to say, the floodwaters and adverse conditions were nothing new to him, so he started cruising through an area called Copperfield.  While there, several people flagged him down to say a US Army vehicle was stuck in the mud and people were trapped in an apartment complex.  James came around and towed it out and drove the residents to safety.

Realizing this was Something Big, James contacted his teammates at Rednecks With Paychecks, a monster truck team based out of Dallas.  And before you could say, "Rally, boys!" five of them were patrolling the Houston area, rescuing people and vehicles.  They have also been transporting first responders to places their own vehicles can't reach.  So far, the tally stands at 200 boats, 300 vehicles, and 600 people rescued.  James is simply reacting to the cheers for him with modesty.  "When people need help and I can help, I'm out there."  And presently, if you type the word "rednecks" into Google, the first thing it autocompletes is "Rednecks With Paychecks."

It's things like this that make the little ball of dirt and ice that is my heart...melt just a tiny bit....

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