When the Real America Stands up

When the real America stands up, it uses its strength to lift people up, to protect, to comfort, to rescue, to sacrifice.

(photo: Brett Gustafson, CC BY-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ever since the country voted to make America great again the media has been treating us to scenes of what is not so great about America: violent protests, the tears of the unfortunate Miley Cyrus, and organized, funded mobs beating up random Trump voters.

I don’t need to point out that right now the mind of America is deeply divided. Will the real America please stand up?

This post is not about that. (Big waves of relief, anyone?) This is about the soul of America.

I know what it looks like because I saw it last night.

It was an early, dark November evening. My daughter Gracie and her new husband John had just left my grandson’s third birthday party when they heard a crash. They saw a flash and a plume of debris surge into the air. John ran towards the accident while Gracie ran back inside to tell the rest of us to call 911. My daughter, Katie, called the police while she and her husband John M., her friend Heather, and my husband, Greg ran to the scene. I stayed back in Katie’s apartment with seven children – hers, Heather’s, and mine. We prayed the Rosary.

The car had flipped over. Inside was a young mother and three children, ages four, two, and ten weeks. Gracie’s John and two other guys reached in and pulled the children out first.  Then John pulled the mother out. He comforted her until the police came. Heather ran to her car for a blanket and wrapped it around the mother, who was in shock. She kept saying, “I need to call my mother; I need to call my mother,” reminding me of the way wounded soldiers at their most vulnerable cry out for their mothers. Heather got the woman’s mother (in Texas) on the phone so she could hear her voice at least. Neighbors lined the street offering support. Some held the children. Gracie put her coat over one of them. A big burly man with tattoos cradled the newborn.

The police arrived and formed a safe zone around the crash. The EMT’s came. (One of them turned out to be a formerly homeschooled friend of my children’s, a young woman named Catherine.) Miraculously, everyone was all right.

On the way back to the apartment Heather said, “The woman and her children were black. Most of the people who rushed to the scene were white. Where is the media when you need them?”

I may not be CNN but at least I’m here to tell the tale. This is the real America, the one I know and love. Occurrences like these are not just isolated incidents. The mind of America may well be divided right now and it may go on being divided but its soul is still intact. The soul of America is not as fickle as our votes – Obama for hope and change; Trump to make America great again. It’s not as easily corrupted as those who back, contrive, and profit off revolutions hope.

When the real America stands up, it looks like what I saw last night. It uses its strength to lift people up, to protect, to comfort, to rescue, to sacrifice. It thinks not of its own comfort, it has no agenda, it admits of no contrived divisions.

That is what unites us. We need to tell that story. It is our story. We don’t have to cede our story to the loudest voice be it Soros or CNN or Miley Cyrus or Obama or Trump. We can keep on telling it ourselves to everyone we meet every time we act virtuously.