The last few days have been exceedingly difficult. Some folks haven’t had power in over 48 hours, some haven’t had running water, and some of those who were fortunate enough to have running water eventually had pipes burst. Power outages at grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, clinics, veterinarians, schools, and other critical pieces of disaster infrastructure have wreaked havoc on the daily lives of millions of people. Businesses have been shut down, people who earn hourly wages or are on commission have likely missed out on shifts and sales this week, and with the aforementioned pipe bursts, the financial strain will no doubt continue for many, many people.
And the public help has been lacking. This is not a political post because the biggest failure rests on the government as a whole rather than one specific political party. But the government of the State of Texas failed its citizens. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) had plenty of warning that temperatures would be unusually low for an unusually long time, but they did not take the steps they should have to prevent such widespread chaos. Utility companies have been bound by ERCOT’s incompetence, and in addition to all of the other awfulness, a spike in electric and gas prices will likely cause yet more financial strain for millions of Texas in the coming weeks and months.
But none of that really matters right this moment. What matters right now is that we, as Texans, understand that we’re in this together, and that rebuilding will happen. Texans are strong, proud people, with an iron will dating back to pre-Alamo days when enterprising but down-on-their-luck Americans fled to Texas to start life anew. There wasn’t much help from anyone, but within a generation Texas had gone from pioneer territory to a Republic to a member of the United States of America. That kind of progress in the face of extreme adversity is a hallmark of Texans today. We might get knocked down, but we won’t be down for long.
And there are plenty of other examples. Hurricanes have brought out the best of citizens as folks with bass boats cruised down suburban streets in Houston, rescuing humans and animals. Tornadoes have leveled towns that were subsequently built back up with the help of citizens willing to travel from unaffected areas. These snow storms and freezing temperatures are just one more opportunity for Texans to prove why they love Texas so much.
So please allow this letter to serve the twin purposes of consolation and motivation. The last few days have sucked, and there’s the distinct possibility that the next few weeks will suck as well, though in different ways. But the things we must remember is that we’re in this together and that Texas and Texans have always found a way to adapt and overcome. Please, stay warm, stay safe, and be kind. And in the future whenever there is a disaster that affects others but not you, remember what it was like to be cold, hungry, angry, and desperate, and use that to remind yourself to help those in need.
God and Texas,
The Cosas Totum Team