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Aug 31 2017
by Marthena Phan

Why Politics Shouldn’t Matter During Hurricane Harvey

By Marthena Phan - Aug 31 2017

I despise the current President of the United States.

I furrowed my brows in confusion when he brazenly called Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals.” I gasped in outrage when he mocked a disabled reporter (this really hit a nerve with me because my younger brother also has a disability). I seethed when he proposed to build a wall and ban Muslims from entering the country. I shook my head in disbelief when his staff insisted that his inauguration crowd was the largest in history despite concrete evidence proving the contrary, and I scrunched my face in disgust when he refused to directly condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Most recently, I was furious when he pardoned Joe Arpaio, and even more so when he admitted to announcing the pardon during Hurricane Harvey for increased ratings.

However, I couldn’t help but feel the same shock and anger I often direct at the President when I came across this tweet:

Do I believe that many voters in Texas erred when they cast their votes for our current leader? Yes.

However, I don’t presume that just because their state is predominantly red and thus in support of President Trump, the people who are currently being affected by Hurricane Harvey don’t deserve our help and prayers.

As Americans, we (or at least most of us) wholly believe in the principles of equality and unity. And during these extremely tumultuous and divisive times, we need these fundamental concepts more than ever. Thus, denying our fellow Americans in Texas the assistance and invocations they desperately need to survive through this perilous storm simply based on their political affiliation would ultimately be a serious violation of the very principles we strive to live by and is, quite frankly, extremely un-American.

Additionally, as citizens, permanent residents or whatever else of a country, we must fulfill our duty of protecting and helping one another during times of need, and Hurricane Harvey is definitely no exception.

Just imagine if someone had posted the exact same tweet above, but instead of a red state, he or she was attacking a blue state. What if during Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged through the eastern United States in 2012, someone tweeted that New York, a largely Democratic state that was severely impacted by Sandy, didn’t warrant prayers and help just because it had voted for Barack Obama? Many would be outraged. They should be at the callous tweet posted at the beginning of this essay, too.

Over the past few days, I’ve been watching the news to stay updated on Harvey, and my heart breaks every time I see a house, which holds a family’s precious memories, destroyed; a boat full of frightened people and courageous rescuers; or people wading through and even sitting in high waters that threaten to submerge them. I even have family in Houston right now going through an experience that they nor anyone else should ever have to endure.

Therefore, despite my strong dislike for President Trump, what he stands for and what he’s said and done, I am casting aside my political opinions for the people affected by Hurricane Harvey, who only by coincidence happen to live in a state that cast its electoral votes for the President. 

Lead Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Marthena Phan - Florida International University

Hi! I'm Marthena Phan, and I currently attend Florida International University as a Biology major with minors in Chemistry and English. Although I ultimately aspire to attend medical school and pursue a career in developmental and behavioral pediatrics so that I can treat special needs children and youth, I harbor a steadfast passion for writing, which I eagerly look forward to sharing with other writers and readers through the diverse and dynamic Fresh U platform. In addition to medicine and writing, I love singing, playing the guitar and ukulele, reading, swimming, relaxing on the beach, bike riding, and jamming out to oldies. I am beyond excited and overjoyed to be part of the Fresh U family!

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