There is one constant in American politics that comes to the fore every time there is a disaster in this country: opposition to the federal government. That reliably right-wing opposition to the feds is always behind every deadly catastrophe.. The horrific crisis in Texas is the latest example of Republicans blaming a humanitarian emergency of their own making on anything unrelated to why Texans are freezing and dying.
The current Republican-caused disaster began long ago and will likely never be resolved because the GOP will continue unabated putting the “interests of the wealthy elite and energy companies far above the welfare of the people of Texas.” The real disaster is that when the next election rolls around Texans will flock to the polls and reelect the same people responsible for theit plight today.
As expected, Republicans immediately blamed the lack of electricity, clean water, and heat on renewable energy sources that make up a relatively small slice of the state’s energy needs. Of course Republicans refuse to acknowledge the current calamity was brought on by anthropogenic climate change and Republican opposition to involvement with the federal government’s energy oversight. As Associate Professor Daniel Cohan in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University noted:
“Texas has chosen to operate its power grid as an island.”
What that means is that Texas cannot import power from other states even while its residents are literally freezing to death. That is because Texas Republicans detest any federal regulations no matter the consequences. Or as former governor and Trump energy secretary Rick Perry said:
“Texans would go longer without power [and heat] just to keep feds out of their business.”
It is highly likely that Texans freezing and lacking electricity might disagree with Perry – at least until the next election. Within a month all will be forgiven and they will gleefully plan to reelect Republicans opposed to any kind of regulatory oversight that would have allowed other states to share their electricity with Texas.
Texas energy is under purview of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which was purposely created to be independent of any federal government oversight of energy distribution. All because Texas Republicans are intent of “keeping the feds out of their business.” See, Texas is independent and nobody tells its profitable and independent energy sector to winterize its energy grid – because despite climate scientists’ predictions; it will never freeze in Texas because the climate is not changing.
A colleague of this author, a highly-educated man, blamed the freezing temperatures and lack of electricity and heat on President Joe Biden.
According to the dyed-in-the-wool Republican, President Biden forced renewable energy on Texas residents and unilaterally shut down natural gas lines, nuclear power plants, and coal use as part of his liberal socialist green new deal. After reminding the genius that the Biden presidency was barely a month old, the man still asserted that if the election wasn’t stolen from Trump, Texans would be warm with all the electricity they wanted.
It would be a sad commentary if one state in the richest nation on the planet was unable to provide heat, water, and electricity to its residents, but Texas could have provided those necessities if it was not run by Republicans. In fact, the humanitarian disaster in Texas right now is precisely what happens when a virulent right-wing Republican state government is violently opposed to the federal government and doesn’t believe in global climate change. Subsequently, Texans are suffering.
It might seem apropos to say that Texans get what they voted for and deserve to suffer the consequences of Republican opposition to the federal government. However, regardless whether Texans want to admit it or not, they are American citizens and they are suffering a humanitarian disaster. It is time to show them just a modicum of compassion even if they did elect the people responsible for their deaths and despair.
The real issue is how to convince those Texans that it is not, as Republicans claim, renewable energy or President Biden’s fault they are freezing.
Sadly, it is almost certain that every Texas Republican running for office in the next election will be elected easily if they promise to keep the federal government out of Texans’ business and oppose efforts to combat climate change; the primary reason they are experiencing a humanitarian disaster.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.