What do you think about America right now? It’s hard to be positive if you glance at even a few seconds of news on any given day.
Still, there is much to be thankful for and celebrate about this country. As a nation, we don’t spend near enough time on that. We need more reminders about the ways Americans still know how to love their neighbors.
The wildfires that raged across the western part of Oklahoma last month devastated cattle grazing lands, scorching an area the size of Chicago and New York City combined. For the surviving cattle, the most urgent need is food. Thank goodness for Washington, DC and Oklahoma City then, right? Government to the rescue!
Actually, the heroes are total strangers from states as far away as Michigan and Montana. These strangers have been hauling truckload after truckload of emergency hay to western Oklahoma. Organized via Facebook, and an old technology called word-of-mouth, the donated hay has been pouring in, thanks to regular folks --- not the government.
A man from one of the hardest-hit towns in the state boiled down the Good Samaritan hay help like this: “If we waited on the government, we wouldn’t have it.”
One tiny town has volunteers working 12-hour shifts, distributing donated hay at the town’s rodeo grounds. Without the emergency hay, many ranchers would be forced to sell their already decimated herds.
When it comes to serving people, you don’t wait for government aid or permission.
Two brothers who raise cattle near the Kansas-Oklahoma border drove two tractor-trailers with 64 bales of hay to the ranch of a man they’d never met. The brothers understand what the man is going through. Their family’s land burned last year and hay donated by strangers saved their herd. Now this man’s 100 cows will be able to survive too.
“They think it can’t get any worse,” said one of the brothers, “but when these loads of hay come in, it gives you hope.”
As a nation, we need to reconnect with this idea that when the chips are down, as Ronald Reagan put it, “government is not the solution to our problem --- government is the problem.” Ultimately, America will be okay because of its ordinary citizens --- people who still know how and strive to do the right thing.
When it comes to serving people, you don’t wait for government aid or permission. You just get busy helping.