Offering a Helping Hand Offering a Helping Hand

Why haven’t GOP officials joined in to help Texans during the current crisis?

A devastating winter storm left millions without power in Texas, and killed at least two dozen people. Christian Pavon, an 11-year-old child rejoiced at seeing snow for the first time in his life. Horrifyingly, he lay dead from hypothermia in his mobile home just 24 hours later as temperatures plummeted and the blackout persisted.

While Christian froze to death, a natural gas executive was caught bragging about “hitting the jackpot” as they jacked up rates. And though Texas deliberately took itself off the federal powergrid to prevent federal regulators, that didn’t stop Texas Governor Abbot from going on Fox News to lie that the power shortage was due to “frozen windmills” and the Green New Deal.

In reality, Texas is the nation’s leading supplier of energy and fewer than 10% of its energy comes from renewable sources—which only failed because Texas refused to weatherize them as required.

Cruz Sets a Different Example

Not to be outdone in failed leadership, Senator Ted Cruz skipped town to Cancun. Yes, the same man who mocked California’s energy failures during their wildfires, who ridiculed Austin’s Democratic mayor for traveling during an emergency, who blocked $2,000 of relief for struggling Americans, who banned refugees and asylees from bringing their kids to America for a better life—himself threw his own daughters under the bus and said they convinced him to go to Cancun for…a better life.

Somehow, according to Ted Cruz, Mexico is both so unsafe that we need to build a wall and so safe that Ted Cruz left his minor children there alone. Never mind the deadly blackout & international pandemic—Ted Cruz has discovered Schrödinger’s Mexico.

But what could he have done if he stayed, argue his defenders? Notwithstanding how disingenuous this question is, if the US Senator and alleged public servant from Texas doesn’t know how to serve the public as they literally starve & freeze to death, there’s an easy solution—resign & let an adult get to work.

Is This Not Unity in America?

Because adults have gotten to work. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has so far raised around $400,000—all of which is going to hungry Texans. Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke has organized a team to make over 1 million welfare calls to the elderly, while also providing support in Spanish and English at cities and towns statewide. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised over $4 million to support Texans impacted by the historic freeze. She also flew to Texas from New York to personally assist. Leadership isn’t a title—but it’s clear who Texans can look to for leadership in times of trial and tragedy.

And think about the deeper implication here that most in the media don’t seem to want to cover. Ever since the January 6 insurrection, the GOP has suddenly discovered its calls for unity, ignoring its past four years of partisanship, dehumanization, and outright enabling and acquitting insurrection. Now, three of America’s most progressive Democrats in Castro, O’Rourke, and Ocasio-Cortez have leveraged the full power of their networks to proudly and generously support a state in 100% Republican control for decades.

Is this not unity in America? Then why is the GOP still silent and why don’t they join with Democrats to serve all Americans?

Why Haven’t The GOP Joined In?

If you hadn’t guessed, the GOP calls for unity are insincere at best, and betray Republican and Democratic voters alike. So nevermind that the GOP hasn’t so much as thanked these progressive Democrats for their heroic work—leaders like Castro, O’Rourke, and AOC will continue to serve because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what leaders do. Shockingly, President Biden immediately deployed FEMA resources to Texas, and didn’t so much as demand a favor in response.

But in all seriousness, Texas absolutely needs reform and new leadership, and many thoughtful leaders in Texas have long been putting in the hours to make that happen. Electing thoughtful politicians focused on justice for working Americans is the best way to ensure this kind of a disaster never happens again. That is how we truly serve humanity. Let’s get to work.

Qasim Rashid is an attorney, author, and former candidate for US Congress. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.