The recent events reminded me of the differences we still have in this country. I am not talking about rich verses poor, or black verses white or others of color, or religious verses atheist, or even republican verses democrat. No my Tribe, as I like to call it, is made of all these people but with a couple of unique differences. When those in my Tribe are faced with disaster, as we have faced here in Oklahoma, we focus not on looting but protecting all who can not protect themselves, we care for ourselves and others and do not blame the world for the situations we find ourselves in, we run to a disaster or problem, head on. My Tribe believes in service above self. That’s because the people I associate with – My Tribe – consists not of Blacks, Whites, Gays, Hispanics or Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these are an opportunity to show ourselves what we are made of. My Tribe will go into burning and blown up buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to make things work.
There are some things my Tribe is not good at. My Tribe doesn’t make excuses. My Tribe will analyze failure and assign blame, but that is to make sure that we do better next time, and we never, ever waste valuable energy and time doing so while people are still in danger. My Tribe says, and in their heart completely believes that it’s the other guy that’s the hero. My Tribe does not and has never made someone else responsible for their own safety, and that of their loved ones. My Tribe does not depend on the government. My Tribe doesn’t see black and white skins. My Tribe only sees black and white hats, and the hat we choose to wear is the most personal decision we can make.
My Tribe thinks that while you are born into a Tribe, you do not have to stay there. Good people can join bad Tribes, and bad people can choose good ones. My Tribe thinks you choose your Tribe. That, more than anything, is what makes my Tribe unique.
Membership in my Tribe is not free. My fellow Tribe members have been the first person at accident scenes. They have crawled into overturned cars on major interstates, cars whose wheels were still spinning, and gone on hands and knees through broken glass to comfort strangers while others stood around outside and watched like it was some TV show.
My Tribe members simply do what millions and millions and millions of my fellow Americans do every day, in ways large and small. They step up to the plate, not because they want to be heroes, but because someone has to do it. These simple people donate their time, their money, their food, their cars and their houses every single day, and ask or expect nothing in return.
Hurricanes and storms come. They have come for all of human history, and more will happen. Tyrants and cowards also come to steal or destroy what they cannot make themselves, and sadly it will happen again. It takes courage to fight oncoming storms. Courage isn’t free. It is taught, taught by certain tribes who have been around enough and seen enough incoming storms to know what one looks like. My Tribe will pray for the best but plan for the worst. What Tribe do you belong to?