Humanity always rises to the top

So much in life depends on our perspective. The glass can be half-empty or half-full, depending on how we choose to see it.

Hurricane Harvey is one terrible example. It destroyed lives and property, and yet in its aftermath, humanity came to the rescue. In one place alone, more than 600 miles way, an estimated 40,000 pounds of water and food were raised in a matter of days, and tons of bread in a matter of hours, simply because a few people put out a call to help.

“I said if I was going to go down there I might as well take some supplies with me, and it kind of just blew up from there,” Tyler Lucas, a Clovis firefighter, told the Eastern New Mexico News. They ended up sending an estimated $100,000 worth of “some supplies” down to the Houston area, in a tractor-trailer.

Such a response on the eastern end of our state is noteworthy indeed, but it’s not an isolated incident. It was part of a national response, something that transcended the political divisions of our time. I’m sure the same will happen in response to Hurricane Irma this week.

Amid such crises, we don’t let our political divisions stand in the way, but they don’t go away either. In the aftermath of Harvey came the Trump administration’s announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will come to an end if Congress doesn’t act soon. The victims of this decision are nearly 800,000 young adults who were mere children when they were brought to the U.S. without legal documentation.

The empty side of this glass is easy to see. These are Americans in every sense, except in the paperwork. Known as Dreamers, they grew up here and have their own all-American ambitions, but they must now pay for the “sins” of their parents, who didn’t acquire the proper documentation necessary as they sought to give their children a better life in this land of opportunity.

To throw these Dreamers out runs too far afield of our core American values—and that’s where you can see the half-full side of the glass.

Survey results released last week, in the aftermath of Trump’s announced decision, show an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the U.S. In Trump’s own party, a clear majority feels this way, while even Trump has expressed reservations about his decision.

If you’re in that deep, deep minority of people (15 percent, by one poll) who believes they should in fact be deported, I invite you to read a Sept. 6 article in the Silver City Daily Press, which focuses primarily about two Dreamers. They’re both Western New Mexico University students, and they might just inspire you with their ambitions, and worry you with their future if DACA is indeed ended.

They’re just two people, but their stories made me proud of be a New Mexican, because this is where they found their chance to earn the future they seek.

Meanwhile, back in Clovis, another story broke, this one about a 16-year-old boy who shot up the Clovis library, killing two and injuring four others in his rampage.

That story is bad enough, but then comes some incredibly dark pranksters (if you can call them that) who have been keeping FBI officials busy with their bogus threats of more violence.

There have been enough threatening phone calls in the aftermath of the shooting that officials have advised people on how to field such a phone call (remain calm, keep the caller on the line as long as you can, and write down as much as you can).

I suppose bad behavior is part of every tragedy. After Harvey, there has been intentional, sometimes cruel misinformation put out on the web on a daily basis—and, assuredly, there will be more after Irma.

But in Clovis, I’d wager that more people prayed for the victims and their families—and, yes, even the suspect, as some people’s hearts are indeed that big—than called in a threat.

Yes, there are people who do bad things in this world, but there are more, many more, who simply want to help.

That’s why I’m a half-full kind of guy. I believe in the better side of humanity, and fortunately, I have the numbers to back that up. There are far more good people out there than bad—enough to fill that proverbial glass with gratitude.

Tom McDonald is editor and founder of the New Mexico Community News Exchange and owner-manager of Gazette Media Services. He can be reached at tmcdonald@gazettemediaservices.com.