Bad time to turn a cold shoulder
( @texastribune / Instagram )
Rationing my phone battery throughout five days was difficult. Realizing water was no longer a luxury we got to indulge in was also a whole other ordeal. Having to hunch up with 16 blankets and my entire family on the couch wasn’t all that fun either, honestly. Now, I won’t blame you if you’re thinking to yourself, “This is as worse as it gets, right?”
After an unprecedented winter storm took formation in Texas on Feb. 18th, over 14 million Texans are still without water or are under boil water notices, CBS News reported. At least 27 people have died because of the storm, and many have short supplies of food and drinking water. And what did our beloved politicians do?
Ted Cruz left for Cancún and then blamed it on his daughters. Greg Abbott complained about the outages and then blamed it on green energy. Texans complained about the cold and, get this, Democrats blamed it on...us. You’re sensing a pattern by now, I hope. This “pattern” actually exhibits itself in two rampant ways of thinking that are so agonizingly American and chauvinistic. They’re what we like to call the “bootstrap mentality” and “virtue signalling.” Allow me to illustrate them for you.
On the one hand, you have these unsurprisingly apathetic Republicans telling us to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and learn to deal with the record low temperatures. And, yes, it’s one of those things you hear that just makes you want to hit your head against the nearest wall. But what Republicans fail to consider is that years of having complacent and negligent “leaders” in office usually tends to result in a failure to accommodate climate crises.
When capitalism and power go hand in hand, this is what we get: independent power grids that struggle to supply Texans’ huge demand of power right now. All because Mr. Governor just doesn’t want to pay the fines or deal with regulations! Not to mention, after that 2011 winter storm that swept through Texas, the federal government required Texas to begin accommodating its infrastructure in a way that would promote insulation and warmth in the event of harsh temperatures. But we all know how that turned out.
We experienced the second coldest week in the history of Texas, but some people decided it was the perfect time to flex their regulated accommodations on 29 million people whose government failed to prepare them for this. So, no. This mentality won’t fly. It’s a painfully individualistic way of looking at things rather than observing and taking action through a community-driven motive. These are fellow Americans who have gone over a week without running water or power. The least they deserve is some sympathy.
A woman in Texas went on TikTok to express her grief regarding the stray animals she can no longer feed and her sick grandmother who lived an hour away. Here is our first joker who, for some reason, is still holding grudges against those who minimised the pain of those during the California fires, commenting, “y’all weren’t prepared. that isn’t a natural disaster. n y’all were making fun of california when it was literally on fire. no sympathy from me 😒.”
On that same video, we have a rather outstanding Canadian here who goes against the Canadian status quo and gives us a beautifully constructed comment at shock value.
And whatever the hell these are…
On the other hand, you have Democrats rubbing the soil from their moral higher ground in our faces, talking about, “Well, maybe if you had voted for x instead of y, you wouldn’t be where you are now!”
That, kids, is what we like to call “jerking off your own ego to your supposed moral superiority.” In other words, it’s just virtue signalling. In a time of crisis such as this, when an estimated 58 people have lost their lives to the cold, one being an 11-year-old child, a told-you-so attitude is not going to be the warm food a family eats, nor is it going to restore heat in their home. This attitude sadly presented itself on multiple platforms, especially Tiktok and Twitter.
Marcus DiPaola, a well-known news reporter on Tiktok, gave a clear and concise report on the Texas cold and simply just couldn’t resist giving his own opinion at the end. Many also took it upon themselves to leave some comments that warranted an eyebrow-raise here and there.
Like this champ here who thinks she’s funny because we all know the running joke about Texas: it’s racist, homophobic, and transphobic! And now is the perfect time to remind its people just that.
Perhaps I could interest you in this guy right here whose passive aggressiveness transcends mine.
Don’t be like these people. Instead of approaching crises in the every-man-for-himself manner that we’ve been conditioned to operate in, let’s instead divert that energy into taking care of the community. Community does not have to be something that limits itself to a 5-mile radius. It is not just your local homeless shelter or the church downtown that gives out food packages to marginalised families. We should be actively seeking out and helping those around the world, remotely or in-person.
Donate to mutual aid funds, share their links, yell at your representatives, organise protests, talk to those around you and listen to the affected. There are numerous ways in which you can take care of your people, and I hope you choose kindness every day.
In the meantime, here are some mutual aid opportunities.
Jazz Abraham is an Online Writer for Rowdy Magazine. She spends her days annoying her mother, crying over baby orangutans, obsessing over Brad Pitt, listening to obscure 60s rock, reading, and writing songs about things she’s never experienced. Her passions lie in film, music, the planet, and the amplification of silenced voices. You can reach out to her at @jazzabbraham on Instagram.