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Sinclaire Sparkman: Naturally a disaster

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Sep 8, 2017 at 1:00 PM

While 80 wildfires blaze throughout nine western states, Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey floods and Florida prepares for Irma’s destruction, it’s safe to say things look pretty grim. We may even feel another tropical depression here in Tennessee as fallout from Irma creeps north early next week. It’ll hardly compare to the damage felt in other states. 

Before I say anything about climate change and the dangers of ignoring the facts of this matter, let me direct your attention to one of the minor themes of HBO’s war-driven hit series, “Game of Thrones.” Bear with me and expect no death spoilers.

The white walkers present a particularly daunting obstacle for the entire land of Westeros. No matter who sits on the iron throne, the frozen dead are a threat that cannot be ignored, so much so that in this world of splintered loyalties and warring nations, the best option is probably to lay petty quarrels aside and begrudgingly lock arms through the winter’s blizzard of white walkers. 

I like this minor theme of “big threat brings us together,” because it really puts things into perspective. While no one wants to fight the dead or flee from a hurricane, the conflict of such perhaps can allow us a tiny respite from our differences. It sounds great in theory, but it’s hardly reality. I’m sure that sitting in traffic for hours during an evacuation and wrestling with uncertainties about ever going home really calms the nerves. On the other hand, the silly things that seem like the end of the world when the sun is shining become smaller in the face of imminent destruction. 

These things ravaging our land allow us an opportunity to take a step back, take a deep breath and re-evaluate how we treat each other, even in the face of the grimmest results. It is through the darkest times that we can see our true selves. 

Natural disasters are inherently inevitable in our world and apparently becoming more common. The damage has been done. Our climate is changing no matter if it will bounce back in a couple hundred years or not. We’re here now, and we have to deal with it. 

Maybe your neighbor is one of those “crazies” who wants to see every Confederate statue torn down, or maybe they’re one of those “lunatics” who wants see a border wall, but would you really let them drown in a flood or burn in a fire? I hope the answer is no, but I’m not banking on it.

 Why not stop worrying about selfish ambitions and do some work on saving the planet? But we won’t. We still don’t care even in the face of all this destruction. Our culture is Cerci Lannister. 

Is your bunker ready? I hope so. Get out the dragon glass, because it’s not going to stop any time soon. 

Alas, dreary visions of the immediate future aside, we will eventually see the other side of the bigger threat that causes us to come together. Humans are resilient creatures, and we rarely forget. When the sun shines again, we’ll be back to squabbling over statues and “fighting the power,” but for now, maybe for a little while, we can look at each other with compassion instead of chagrin. Lend a helping hand to those in need and lay down our pride in exchange for kindness. 

Winter is here in the form of natural disasters, and our one hope is to come together.

 Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at ssparkman@lebanondemocrat.com and follow her on Twitter @wilsoncoreports.

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