Thinking Out Loud: Fending for Ourselves Just Fine, Thanks

Below I repeat a story sent to me by a friend about a catastrophic weather event that recently occurred in Marquette, Michigan, and its surrounding environs.  It is the story of American self-sufficiency and work ethic.  It is also a story that makes me ashamed to have constantly complained about the “harsh” winter we Washingtonians and Northern Virginians experienced these past few months.

Marquette and its environs, located in the northern part of Michigan, were recently hit by a “Biblical” snow storm — a “Category 5” storm — that dumped 44 inches of snow on the ground and included winds of 90 miles-per-hour, which broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in snow banks, closed all roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to tens of thousands of people.

And what, in the wake of this historic weather calamity, was the response of the people of Marquette and its environs?

The citizens got out their snow plows and began plowing roads.  They got out shovels and began shoveling walks and driveways.  They sent out caravans of SUVs to rescue people stranded in snow-engulfed cars.  Truck drivers and tow trucks voluntarily pulled people and cars out of snow banks.  Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to snow-bound families.  Those families, and other families, took in people who were stranded, many of whom were total strangers.  Everyone fired up their wood stoves, got out their lanterns, and put on extra layers of clothes.  They melted the snow for water.  They did whatever they had to do to recover and get on with their lives.

And what, in the wake of this historic weather calamity, was the response of the world outside of the town, and citizens, of Marquette and its environs?

There wasn’t one.  President Obama did not visit.  Neither did FEMA come calling with FEMA trailers.  Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were nowhere to be found.  Neither were MSNBC, CNN, ABC, Fox, NBC or CBS — apparently none of them considered a CATEGORY 5 storm important enough to report.  Neither did Bill O’Reilly visit, nor Oprah Winfrey, nor Chris Mathews.  Sean Penn never showed up, nor did Barbara Streisand or Brangelina.

Here is what also did not happen.  There was no looting, no spike in crime, and not a single government official — not Marquette’s mayor, not Michigan’s governor — went on television or radio and angrily demanded that the government “do something.”

A county emergency manager who was interviewed after the storm noted that, yes, a Category 5 storm is unusual, but should it happen again, they will be able to deal with it again — all by themselves.  After all, they’ve done it before.