It’s Not Luck

Lucky Leo’s is back!

The boardwalks are back, and so are many of the beaches in Seaside Heights. After being devastated by Hurricane Sandy last October, this “Jersey shore is open for the summer and ready to receive our customers,” Governor Chris Christie said during a reopening ceremony. “This is going to be a really good week.”

They’re cleaning up in Granbury, Texas too after the town of 8,000 was overwhelmed by a category EF-4 tornado, “the kind of wind that drives two-by-four planks through roofs and tosses real pickups like Tonka trucks,” The New York Times writes, (May 16).

When Jerry Shuttlesworth lost his bull-terrier, “Junior,” friends spread the word through social media and last Friday, someone called Shuttlesworth to say that “Junior” had been found and was at a local shelter. “You could call it a miracle,” Shuttlesworth’s said. “He’s scratched up and a little traumatized, but he’s eating. He’s my baby. I don’t care about anything else.”

They’re already cleaning up in Moore, Oklahoma after that area was hit by an EF-5 – the highest level of tornado winds clocked at 200 miles per hour.

And the same in Boston, after the Marathon bombings claimed three lives and 264 casualties.

But it’s the stories of courage, and compassion that link all of these horrific events.

The Washington Post (May 22),  reported that “Austin Deweese, 20, Jonathan Welborn, 19, and Derek Hole, 24, drove four hours from Joplin, Mo., to drop off supplies for the residents of Moore. Hole, who worked in search and rescue after the Joplin tornado, and who lost a few friends in the storm, said, ‘We’ve been through the same thing.’ Welborn added, ‘We wanted to return the favor.’ ”

But it’s not just individuals. Corporations are helping as well. “Tyson’s brought in 60,000 pounds of food to the city Wednesday. Martin Childers, head of the poultry association, said Tyson’s was there at any natural disaster, serving food to disaster relief workers.”

Houston Texans team owner Bob McNair donated $100,000 to help in relief efforts. “It’s just an unbelievable situation,” he said, “and we just wanted to say: ‘We’re sorry they’ve had this disaster and hopefully this will help a little bit.’ ”

After last month’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, hero stories abound of individuals who ran towards the two blasts to help those in need. When Boston’s Mayor Thomas Meninospoke at a chief executives club earlier this month, he thanked everyone for their part in helping the city recover from the Marathon attacks. “I’ve never been prouder of our city,” Menino told the crowd. “When the world turned their eyes to Boston …. they saw greatness.”

In less than two months – from Seaside Heights to Boston to Granbury to Moore – citizens came together and worked for a common cause: to rebuild. It’s not luck. It’s hard work and a resolute spirit.

Now it’s time for Washington to demonstrate some of that spirit by rebuilding the trust that they’ve lost with the American people. According to the latest Gallup Poll on Honesty/Ethics in Professions, Congress sits at the bottom of the list along with car salesmen.

The partisan divide in Washington is no longer frustrating; it’s become petty, cheap and self-destructive. Washington, in both rhetoric and lack of action, has become a place where politics trumps problem-solving; where political one-upsmanship is a full-time sport; and where a handful of extremists can hold the entire process hostage to any kind of meaningful action.

Both sides need to put aside the rhetoric, the finger-pointing and continuous efforts to undermine the other and work together as they were elected to do. Both sides need to take a lesson from Boston, Moore, Granbury, and Seaside Heights and collaborate on the issues as hand. Maybe they could start by sharing a cinnamon bun at Lucky Leo’s!

“We are 100 percent ready for visitors,” Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers said. “Please, make your plans to come here… If you want to help us, the best way you can do that is to come here and have your summer vacation with us.”

When times are tough and people are hurt, angry and uncertain, the best way Washington politicians can help all of us is to work from what unites us rather than battling over what divides us.

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