I write this not knowing how long my power will stay on, so apologies if I seem frantic or unfocused.
Texas is currently in a state of emergency. Millions are without power. People are desperately trying to find warmth, as their health declines and the body count rises. Food begins to spoil, as homes enter their second day straight without power. People have begun to venture out of their homes to try to find food, but either find that the stores are closed or are met with a line that wraps around the block. Individuals who are working from home due to the pandemic, like myself, find ourselves temporarily without work, as we fear how long this may last, worrying about what our upcoming checks may look like and if we will be able to cover our rent and utilities. The highways are completely shut down where I live, and every time I head out on to the road, I am guaranteed to see several accidents and watch as three ambulances whiz through intersections.
My power has gone out for more than 16 hours, two days in a row. I felt as the heat slowly seeped from my home as the temperature dropped to near freezing. This makes me one of the lucky ones. As I am originally from Baltimore, I am lucky to both be properly acquainted with the cold and have clothing appropriate for this weather. I shudder as I think of those entering their second or third day without power, with nothing to keep them warm. Then, I think of the nearly 28,000 people without homes in Texas, quite literally freezing to death at the moment.
The lights flickered just now and my heart jumped into my throat.
There is no shortage of horrifying stories coming out of Texas at the moment, whether it be the individual human tragedies or things like the animals freezing to death at the San Antonio primates sanctuary. When you read these stories, keep in mind that this is entirely the fault of the leadership in Texas.
Texas is a unique state, in that the majority of it is not part of the national power grid. It has been privatized and thoroughly deregulated. El Paso, Texas, which is part of the national power grid, still has power. Former Governor Rick Perry has said, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.” Perry is purposefully downplaying the situation. It is about far more than ‘keeping the government out of our business’. People are dying because of the decisions made by Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, and their ilk. I would say that I’d like to see these people tell a grieving family that ‘the sacrifice was worth it for deregulation’, but knowing these ghouls, they’d probably gladly do so.
If there was ever a time to rejoin the national power grid, it’s now. Email your representatives. Tell them that the human cost of having our own power grid is not worth it. If you feel like you’re being ignored, organize. Threaten to vote them out of office if they don’t move to make a change.
All of this was entirely avoidable. The most we can do now is make sure it never happens again.