Texas deserves better

As millions faced freezing temperatures and lost power, Texans were abandoned by lawmakers and some well-off liberals.

Ashley Pelletier, Associate Arts and Life Editor

Since Feb. 9, temperatures have been dropping in Texas. Over a week later, at least 30 people are dead, and Texas lawmakers aren’t doing much to help. 

Millions of households in Texas lost power. Natural gas lines froze and power plants could not provide them with electricity. For New England residents, being cold and without power is not unusual. However, the average temperature for Texans during the month of February is around 50 degrees. 

The consequences of these widespread power outages has proven to be astronomical. A mother and 8-year-old daughter died after running a car in their garage to keep warm. There were a series of accidents involving over 100 cars in Fort Worth, killing six. A family of four died in a house fire from an out of control fireplace. The state could not deliver thousands of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The devastating snowstorms as seen above in Dallas have led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a “disaster declaration.” (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

All the while, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz allegedly went on vacation. On Feb. 17, a picture of someone who appears to be Cruz boarding a flight to Cancun was posted on Twitter. The next day, Cruz released a statement regarding his decision, saying it was a “mistake.” He has since returned to Texas, claiming that he faced second thoughts while flying to Mexico as an effort to support his daughters after a “rough week.”   

Cruz clearly made a poor decision in not supporting his constituents, but Texans are facing scorn from people who are happy that they are suffering. Not caring or knowing about the situation is one thing, but wishing harm on innocent people is another. 

Earlier on Feb. 17, freelance journalist Marcus DiPaola, known best for his TikTok account that has amassed over two million followers, made a post on the app telling Texas to “enjoy” the outages because they voted for the Republican officials who deregulated Texas’s power grid. 

While I hope that most people understand what is wrong with this statement, I think it is important to talk about. According to the United States Census estimates, approximately 30 million people live in Texas, with around 25% of those people being under the age of 18. By DiPaola’s logic, the eight million children who live in Texas deserve to face crippling cold because Texas leans Republican. 

DiPaola is not the only person who has this viewpoint, but what makes his case different is his platform. He claims that his independent news coverage on TikTok is directed at children and other people who do not readily understand politics and news jargon. Although DiPaola clearly labeled the video in question as an opinion, thousands or even millions of online viewers will be convinced that the entire state of Texas deserves to suffer the consequences of the elements because their representatives made the wrong decision in deregulating the power grid. As an avid follower of DiPaola, I was incredibly disappointed with his actions. 

But it isn’t just Republicans and children that live in Texas. Only 4.6 million Texans voted for Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been on Fox News claiming that the widespread blackout is because the state’s wind and solar energy failed which “thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis.” Abbott said that these renewable energy sources produce around 10% of the state’s electricity. 

While wind turbines did freeze, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas found that the primary cause of the outages was natural gas providers. Gas-powered plants in Texas have little storage capacity on site because they assume that they will be able to take it directly from the ground. However, the pipes in these pumps were not prepared for the cold, so they froze. With half of the power that is usually provided by these plants being halted, there wasn’t much that could be done to keep the power grid up. 

Let me be clear, I do not agree with Republican ideology. I abhor the actions that Republican politicians frequently take to discriminate against and disenfranchise marginalized communities. 

However, I went to Catholic schools for 13 years. As early as kindergarten, I learned the “Golden Rule” from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

No matter who someone voted for, they do not deserve to freeze in their own homes. They do not deserve government officials who abandon them in their time of need. They do not deserve people who are in a place of safety and privilege making fun of them on the internet.