Back to Normal in Texas, Sorta

Last week was a blur for many of us here in the Lone Star State. The whole state got snow. And ice. And wind. And many place did not have power for extended periods of time. Some people lost gas service as well. Others were on boil water notices. Still others, including me, had pipes burst. It was a mess. And Texas weathermen aren’t exactly known for offering great advice for cold weather.

But today is Monday, so we have to get back to normal. The snow has melted, the ice is gone, and most people who didn’t have power are basking in electric lamplight now. Some businesses have, of course, been affected by the same issues that plagued many homes across the state. But by and large, things are getting back to normal—or, at least, getting to getting to get back to normal.

I, for one, have faith that things will improve. I believe that Texans will rebuild and make due regardless of the adversity. Sure, it will take a while. I mean, there are only so many plumbers in the world, right? And while normally I would be the last person to believe in any proactive government improvement, I truly believe voices were and continue to be heard.

Government agencies such as the Public Utilities Commission, the Railroad Commission, and the Governor’s office, and the pseudo-governmental Electric Reliability Council of Texas have all received harsh but fair criticism over the past week. Clearly there were failures at many levels, including powerplant inspections, grid winterization, planning for cold weather, following guidelines issued by other environmental sources, and educating the populace about how to prepare for cold weather. But largely this was an example of people doing the best they could while those supposedly in charge of the situation fumbled.

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And the timing for change couldn’t be better. The Texas Legislature only meets every other year, and they just happen to be in session right now. This weather event, while catastrophic to many people across the state, provides an excellent opportunity to prove we can learn from our mistakes and implement contingencies so that the next time temperatures get this low people don’t suffer and, in the most severe cases, die.

So in many ways, today we get back to normal. But I don’t mean normal in the way of waking up, commuting to work, gabbing about the snow, then thanking every deity known to mankind that snow is, in fact, gone. I mean normal in that we can be an example of how things should be done. Being good neighbors by offering help to those who still need it. Being good Texans by trying to be the first guy on the block to have a post-snowpocalypse brisket on the smoker. And being good citizens by holding those at fault accountable and making it known that this can’t happen again.

And in the meantime, Dallas and Houston will go back to hating each other, Austin will go back to being weird, Fort Worth will go back to being a stereotype of Texas, and Beaumont will continue to suck. Let’s make the new normal the old normal. Let’s seize this opportunity to show the 49 lesser states why we are so proud to be from Texas.

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