In a 1950 movie, Jimmy Stewart plays a wealthy eccentric whose mental state is questioned by family for preferring the company of a 6-foot-tall rabbit named “Harvey” over theirs. The problem is only Stewart can see and hear the animal. Entitled “Harvey,” the movie and the recent hurricane to hit Houston, bearing the same name, share a common trait.
Reporters interviewing hurricane survivors and critics having questionable agendas appear focused on a single-minded mission – to portray Trump negatively. Their problem, however, is interviewees’ negative comments, like Stewart’s rabbit, are virtually invisible. Yet, they still endeavor to pull the proverbial (anti-Trump) rabbit out of the hat.
Inquiries by reporters – those of CNN in particular – make one wonder if bonuses were promised for finding their rabbit. Repeated efforts to press interviewees for negative comments triggered positive ones instead.
Critics took aim to paint Trump as incompassionate, racist or whatever theme fed into the anti-Trump projection they sought to portray. Some criticism arose even before Trump could get airborne, claiming his visit was too early to observe the extent of the damage. This comment was made by one who should have known better about the morale boost a presidential visit provides victims of natural disasters. It came from former White House communications director and State Department spokesperson under President Barack Obama, Jen Psaki.
The day after Trump’s Aug. 29 visit, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota tried several times to bait Texas Gov. Greg Abbott into dissing the president.
When Abbot refused to take the bait, Camerota queried whether claims Trump lacked compassion for victims was evidenced by his failure to meet with any. Abbot responded the president was keenly aware of the extent of the damage and victims’ suffering based on his discussions with officials and review of video footage.
Camerota continued to parry with Abbot, clearly disgruntled as he deflected each with a positive comment. Despite record flooding, Abbot praised federal, state and local government coordination and Trump’s focus also on the state’s long-term recovery.
Meanwhile, safely in her own home, a black activist malcontent sought to stir up the racial pot. Logan Anderson, 24, describes herself as an “unwavering advocate for racial and reproductive justice. Unapologetic black feminist. Fighter, forever.” But, after her comment below, she can add “unsuccessful Hurricane Harvey racial instigator.”
Before addressing Anderson’s comment, it is important to understand years earlier she had earned 15 minutes of fame. At her 2015 graduation from LSU, her photograph, wearing Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo on her gown, went viral. Taking advantage of the publicity, Anderson touted her mass communications and political science minor degrees, asking for a job. It paid off – four days later she was hired by the Clinton campaign.
Whether Anderson intended to use Hurricane Harvey’s Houston destruction to regain the spotlight, she ended up doing so. But this time, by attempting to paint with a divisive brush the clear racial harmony evident in videos coming out of rescue operations, she incurred the wrath of bloggers.
Posting a photograph, Anderson criticized both its white rescuers, operating an airboat, and the rescued black victims in it, as the boat displayed a Confederate flag decal on its rudder.
In a series of tweets, Anderson wrote – with three skull emojis added to the message: “Y’all, the Confederate flag crowd is helping black people evacuate in Houston …” While intimating white rescuers had sinister motives (i.e., drowning) for their unsuspecting black passengers, she then admitted, “I would absolutely get on that boat … and then, when they dropped me off, I’d tear off the flag and drop it into the flood.”
Anderson never considered the boat operators’ pride in the flag was simply tied to their Southern heritage and not to racism, as obviously displayed by their lack of racial selectivity as to whom they rescued. Despite clear evidence humanity and not racism was at work in Houston, Anderson sought to become a cheerleader for the latter.
In 2005, the media ran with unsubstantiated claims recovery operations during Hurricane Katrina were slow because most victims were black. Not until well after this racial card was played was it ascertained “it was whites who were disproportionately affected by the disaster.”
With numerous videos on the Internet showing a mixed bag of races helping in Houston on both the rescuing and rescued end, one blogger proclaimed, “It kills the media that there’s such diversity of people in Texas that are helping each other.”
Among those wanting to make sure the media did not run with another false claim in Hurricane Harvey’s wake, a black woman, sharing photos of a white man carrying a black child and a black rescue worker carrying two white children, chided, “Race War? I don’t see it. I just see Americans.”
One of the few articles written praising Houston’s humanity still gave it a negative twist. Hailing the unity and compassion there, the author lamented it was but a temporary blip on the radar, ludicrously wishing for a longer-term state of emergency. Why? Because when Houston’s waters receded, so too would its humanity.
While Hurricane Harvey will make history as America’s most expensive natural disaster, it also underscores man’s humanity for his fellow man. It has been a 21st century Dunkirk in which private citizens voluntarily rushed to aid their government to help save lives.
In the 1950 movie, the audience is kept guessing until film’s end whether Harvey the Rabbit really exists or is merely a figment of Stewart’s imagination. In the final scene, Harvey’s existence is revealed as a security gate opens and closes on its own, enabling the rabbit to pass through. But here, the movie Harvey and news coverage on Hurricane Harvey diverge. In the movie, the rabbit proves real; however, any racial discord or lack of compassion by Trump for Hurricane Harvey victims is not.