Texans Deserve Better

In the midst of the snow storm in Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Cancun.

Photo via wikimedia commons under creative commons license

In the midst of the snow storm in Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Cancun.

Sam Renz, World Views editor

Here in Hillsborough, the frequent snow storms this season came with little surprise, and at worst, they served as an inconvenience. Snow in Texas, however, is an anomaly, so when the Lone Star State has a sudden encounter with the harsh winter weather, its citizens struggle with what we northerners never have to think twice about.

This past week, Texas has dealt with a difficult situation. In a southern state that rarely ever sees snow, most citizens and local governments don’t spend their time or resources preparing for such an unlikely event, but now that it has become a reality, Texans are facing the most extreme effects of this weather, with millions facing power-outages in poorly-insulated houses and even some roofs caving in.
Amidst such a tragedy, these suffering citizens deserve support from Americans and leadership from those in power. Although some members of Congress like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have organized relief fundraisers for Texas, far too many elected officials and newscasters have capitalized on this tragedy to create more political unrest and shift the blame.

Perhaps the most outrageous response came from Colorado City Mayor Tim Boyd, who blamed his own citizens in an insensitive FaceBook post, in which he said “only the strong will survive and the weak will [perish],” and “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!” This bleak, irresponsible post led to this Darwinist mayor’s resignation.

Meanwhile, as many Texans are forced to huddle around fires outside for warmth without access to electricity or hot water, Governor Greg Abbott spent his time and energy on FOX News, passing the buck to everyone but himself rather than providing for those he was elected to protect. He blamed the blackouts on solar and wind energy, and he went as far as criticizing the Green New Deal (which, to clarify, has not been implemented anywhere in America).

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also under fire after being spotted on a plane to Cancun with his family. When called out for avoiding this problem, Cruz promptly returned home, and claimed that he was merely dropping off his family for their vacation. (Personally, if I were a high-ranking elected official, I would not blame my own children for my careless mistakes, but Cruz’s immorality seems to know no bounds.)

Meanwhile, prominent news outlets have been using this tragedy as an opportunity to rile up their viewers and pin them against others. On one hand, Tucker Carlson hosted a segment on the right-wing channel FOX News, in which he blamed the power outages on wind energy, which makes up just a small fraction of the state’s power supply.

On the other hand, some popular left-leaning channels like MSNBC also capitalized on this natural disaster to throw dirt on Republicans. Admittedly, I agreed with many of their claims, some of which I have mentioned, but I cannot defend their relentless attacks on the right wing at a time when millions are suffering and voters are already polarized. Divisive news channels, whether they be on the right or the left, are only making matters worse at a time like this.

Ultimately, this extreme weather is a cause for concern with regards to both energy consumption and environmental policy in the near future. This unstable climate has caused millions of Texans to suffer, and if our country’s leaders don’t take immediate action to curtail the effects of manmade climate change, we will only see more of these problems. However, irresponsible and selfish local and state governments are failing to serve their citizens in the face of this alarming occurrence. All the while, news outlets on both sides have politicized these hardships to spew their divisive rhetoric, only fueling the flame and inhibiting progress.