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We live in dangerous times, yet Americans are proving once again, they stand together, neighbor helping neighbor.

All the punditry that claims we’re sorely divided, all the toxic campaign rhetoric that suggests we’re polarized beyond redemption, dissolves into words without meaning when the United States is challenged.

Neighbors are helping neighbors in extraordinary ways along the East Coast. It might be as simple as buying diapers for the newborn whose parents lost everything in this storm-of-the-century, or as complex as trying to get New York’s massive transit system back into service.

Does anyone care about the color or creed or birthplace or party of our leaders at this moment?

I believe we all win when Republican governors stand with a Democrat President, when Democrats and Republicans in public service cooperate and work together. This disaster proves it is still possible, no matter how many billions of dollars each party has spent on ads attacking the other.

When the president calls so many utility officials across the country to get aid to New Jersey, does it matter how any of them vote?

Does anyone care who’s paying the first responders when they save lives? Help elders and families to safety?

Do we ask the party affiliation of the neighbors going door to door to check on flood survivors? Clearing debris and mud from their streets? Delivering fresh water and food to the homebound?

No.

I am grateful for every FEMA worker, every first responder, every paramedic and medical professional who is working together to help those in need. I’m especially thankful for the many who are volunteering, who are helping without pay, to ensure others are safe and healthy.

American Red Cross volunteers flew from Oregon to help New Yorkers before the airports closed, before FEMA staging stations were open. They’ll stay, like they always stay, until the work is done.

We’re not red states nor blue states in a disaster. We’re Americans, and we help each other in the worst of times. This storm of the century proves we’re still capable of that, neighbor to neighbor, no matter what the pollsters and pundits and cynics claim.

I am grateful to see so many neighbors helping neighbors. It restores my faith in American compassion, sometimes sorely tested in this campaign year.

Check the Red Cross donation site, to help “Superstorm Sandy” survivors and victims’ families.

Prayers and healing thoughts for all, from the West Coast …

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