Powerless in Texas

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Powerless in Texas

Snehal Shingavi

Two images capture the crisis in Texas perfectly. First, nurses at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center came to work on Thursday to this: “A notice said the water went out. The notice then listed some instructions for using the restroom, such as to not put toilet paper in the toilet when urinating, and to use trash bags to remove feces from the toilet and to then place it in a biohazard bag.” Reminder, this is in the middle of the pandemic. Second, Ted Cruz, the senior Republican senator from Texas, got on a plane to head to Cancun, Mexico. When asked about why... he was fleeing in the middle of the crisis, Senator Cruz gleefully threw his daughters under the bus, saying they had a school vacation and wanted to “take a trip with friends.”

Texas has, in a matter of days, revealed just how unprepared its infrastructure (both economic and political) is to deal with the new normal created by climate change. The horror stories abound: elderly folks without food or heat; people stranded in cars for warmth; a few dozen reported dead; vaccine distribution halted; citywide boil-water notices because of treatment plant failures; hundreds of vehicular accidents; emptied grocery stores; millions without power; millions more without drinkable water.

The press conferences that happen every hour on the news (for those who still have power) are maddening in their hypocrisies: the system could not have possibly prepared for this once-in-a-generation crisis, but in the same interview, there are clearly people who knew that this could happen and they will be held accountable. Heads will certainly fly, just not the ones that count.

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