• Makaela Stilton

Ted Cruz Flees Texas in the Midst of a Frozen Power Outage

The year 2020 came with a never ending cycle of disasters throughout the globe, and with recent happenings in Texas, it seems as if they have moved onto 2021. On February 14, a deadly snow storm covered largely populated cities in Texas, including Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, creating record breaking temperatures. Accompanying the frozen cities was desperation for electricity and heat, resulting in a state-wide power outage and a government-approved state of emergency.

The most reasonable explanation for such power outages is the fact that the majority of the electricity grids throughout Texas gain most of their power from natural gases, coal, and wind. Wind was no longer a source of power once the wind turbines froze, so the state was having to rely on natural gases and coal. But with the pipeline and increased usage of gas, little to no power could be provided. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ (ERCOT) suggested solution was to rotate which cities had power for a temporary amount of time, only resulting in a higher loss of power in the long run. These rotations were noted as bias for bigger and richer cities, leaving many low-income and POC communities in the dark in this time of crisis. United States Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District), the chair of the Environment Subcommittee for the U.S. House of Representatives, gave specific directions to the ERCOT as a way to figure out what went wrong in the Texas crisis and how to help. He wanted a series of documents based on the previous power outages in the state since 1989, also saying to the council, “the risk of increased extreme winter weather events in the United States underscores the need for adequate preparation. ERCOT and the state of Texas are well-aware of the weather predictions, yet you failed to prepare adequately for them.”

I believe that the communities that were failed by the Texas government have every right to be angry. This isn’t the first time a power outage has occurred because of a snow storm, and after even one state crisis, I think that a solution would be a first priority for everyone in the state rather than a simple short-term solution that would inevitably be unreliable in the future. Although there is a lot of blame put on Texans, a shortage of federal aid has come from the White House. As much as this disaster may be Texas’ fault, the head government has a role in helping the states, and leaving people in the middle of a frozen power outage with no running water and loss of income is not morally okay.

Another controversy has come to the light on social media regarding Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who left the state for a family trip to Cancún, Mexico while his state was falling apart. Only when he faced a significant amount of backlash on social media did he decide to fly back to Texas and publicly apologize for leaving his responsibility. He expressed no regret, saying that he only wanted to “protect his family” and take them away from the power outage. Yes, protecting and caring for family is important, however, when you have an entire state in the midst of a crisis, the choice between fleeing or attempting to help the communities in need seems obvious. When in despair and at a loss of what to do, a common outlet is to look up to a higher figure and seek hope from them, and when a famous senator is publicly abandoning all of Texas, it's hard to forgive and justify any of Cruz’s actions.

An additional layer to Cruz’s controversy is the fact that he traveled out of the country in the midst of a global pandemic. Traveling is very dangerous for you and the people you are exposing yourself to, putting Cruz in an even more difficult position for people to forgive him. I personally find it hard to see Cruz as a good person when fleeing Texas in a time of need, and I hope that communities going through hardships because of the power outage are going to get more of the help they need to get back on their feet.


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