America has been rocked in the month of August by financial and political turmoil. There were the dreadful debt ceiling negotiations in Washington. The S&P debt rating downgrade, and resulting stock market plummets. But one thing we've learned in recent days -- mother nature is more powerful than us all.

Forecasters have had the U.S. East Coast on hurricane watch, as Irene makes its way toward a possible strike by the weekend as a Category 2 or stronger storm. Hurricane Irene has strengthened, and currently has winds of 100 miles per hour, moving west northwest at 10 miles per hour.

Landfall seems apparent. It's just a matter of when, and where, and what the damage will be.

If the power of a mighty hurricane didn't grab attention by Tuesday, a strong earthquake that shook the East Coast certainly did. At just before 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, a 5.8 magnitude centered in Virginia forced evacuations of all the memorials and monuments on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The quake rattled tall buildings in New York, and while no apparent major damage was done Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke urging citizens to remain calm. Many stood outside of tall buildings in Manhattan after the quake make momentary jelly out of steel and concrete while withstanding the blow. They were safe, but some weren't too keen on going back inside.

The U.S. Geological Survery said the earthquake was half a mile deep and centered near Louisa, Va., about 40 miles northwest of Richmond. Shaking was felt at the White House, and by President Barack Obama as he played a round of golf while on vacation at Martha's Vineyard.

Stock markets previously rocked by the debt ceiling and downgrade drama continued in New York without a hitch, showing they can more easily withstand the forces of mother nature than the fumbling of man. Yet, at the Pentagon in Washington, people reportedly ran into the corridors of the government's biggest building as it shook amid shouts of Evacuate! Evacuate!

Damage reports are still being collected from Washington, and while some was evident early, most were thankful it was mostly a mighty scare. A reminder, like Hurricane Irene, that mother nature is a powerful force -- more powerful than us at our worst.