It has been a long summer. Somewhere between our vacations and our better natures, we were distracted by extremists and by hatred. Mock severed heads, political shootings, neo-Nazis, Antifa — it seems as if September could not come soon enough. And now we are confronted with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that has rocked the Houston and southwestern Louisiana areas, chastened our daily assurances, and reminded us of our consciences. Houston could be any one of our towns, any one of our cities — and Americans are rushing to help however they can. Others have already commented on the tragic irony of the need for disasters to remind us of our shared humanity; and it is heartbreaking that we otherwise seem to find no shortage of differences to separate what we have in common. And that leads us to an American paradox.