Blogs > Sara Gutterman > November 2012 > Surge of Humanity rolls in with Sandy

Surge of Humanity rolls in with Sandy

The devastation induced by Hurricane Sandy is nothing less than heartbreaking. A continent away in the northwestern part of the country, I watch as sad news stories break one after another about communities that have been pummeled by the storm.

Breezy Point, Queens, with 80 homes destroyed by a raging inferno that one resident said was ‘reminiscent of Hellfire.’ Lower Manhattan deluged with up to 15 feet of water. And entire portions of the New Jersey shore altered, perhaps forever, by the storm’s ferocious title surges.

But, as we have seen time and time again, Americans are never better than when we unify in the face of a common challenge. And that’s what we’re seeing in the aftermath of Sandy—people helping neighbors and strangers alike, without thought of political gain or economic expediency.

There is nothing more inspiring than seeing the lengths to which our nation’s emergency response personnel will go to save lives. It’s impossible not to feel buoyant when hearing about the extraordinary nurses from New York University Medical, who administered hand-pumped oxygen to critical care infants and transported hundreds of patients to safety after their hospital lost power.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the destruction that, to date, ranges from North Carolina to Maine and inland as far as Wisconsin, including dozens of deaths, over a million evacuees, and estimated damages and impact to the economy in excess of $50 billion, the humanity of our nation has, once again, surfaced.

Sandy is bringing people together in a palpable way, suspending ideologies and political polarities. It’s almost ironic that the election is only days away, at a moment of time when the deep schism that has engulfed our country couldn’t feel less important or further away. It’s hard to make sense of the stark contrast between the hatefulness of our political rhetoric and the compassion that has been elicited by Sandy’s ruthless wreckage.

As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo states, “Extreme weather patterns are becoming regular, and we need to be prepared. We’re experiencing a 100-year flood every 2 years. It’s a new reality that we’ll have to deal with. And, just as Ground Zero stands as a monument to human capacity and endurance, we will rebuild our city.”

Perhaps it’s time for us to use Sandy as a reminder of our own humanity, and that we don’t have to wait for extreme catastrophes to display it.

With all of our family, friends, and fellow citizens who have been adversely affected by Sandy in our hearts, all I can hope for is that we continue to act, and vote, with humanity rather than hatred.

Do you have a story about humanity shown in the face of Sandy’s destruction? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

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Posted: 11/1/2012 10:31:25 AM by Mary Kestner | with 1 comments
Filed under: Sandy

Dixie Wong
I like your statement that we should "act and vote with humanity rather than hatred".
11/2/2012 6:18:40 AM

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