At times, such as the weeks before presidential elections, we Americans may seem to others - and even ourselves - to be among the most fractious people on the planet. Heaven knows, our disagreements can be unpleasant, our differences long-lasting.
Then along comes a story such as the one out of the New York City area last week.
Some neighborhoods of the Big Apple, along with many coastal communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are suffering badly from Superstorm Sandy. Tens of thousands of people need help, and much of it is coming from neighbors, even in states far away from the disaster zone.
But the keys to an effective disaster relief effort are organization, communication and familiarity with the area being helped.
An organization heard from months ago in New York City had all that. So some of the members of Occupy Wall Street reactivated the day after the storm. They have been delivering relief supplies to storm victims who need help. They have established dozens of relief centers in New York City. They have gained a reputation as one of the top volunteer relief organizations in the city.
The Occupy Wall Street folks have stepped up to the plate. That doesn't make their political agenda any more acceptable to some people. But it is a welcome reminder that, disagree as we may, we Americans tend to stick together when the chips are down.
Good for the Occupiers.