You People in Texas

Ah, Texas. Or as my friend Gloria called it on our trip across country many years ago, Tay-hahs. You some-bitch. It took us 3 days to drive across it that summer. What the hell? After a steady diet of the same top 10 hits on the only radio stations we could get in the car from Connecticut to Texas, I remember the cool radio station in Austin was a sound for sore ears. There were hundreds of flies at our campsite in Amarillo, there were no bodies of water, and we had a waiter named Laredo at the restaurant we picked because we wanted to hear real country music. He told us, “Don’t pay me no nevermind if you just want to set and listen to music.” We also visited the restaurant that was featured in the Porky’s movie. And we stopped at the Space Center in Houston, which was wicked cool, but we couldn’t get a tour of Mission Control because there was a shuttle flight going that day. What can I say, we were well-rounded 20-somethings in the 80s. But that’s pretty much all I know about Tay-hahs.

When the news first hit about the snow and the cold this week, I was like, whatever. You’ll be shut down for a day — boo hoo, and oh, funny, you are using a spatula as an ice scraper. I turned my attention to the 3 back-to-back storms they were predicting here in New England. I get a lot of my news from Twitter, for better or worse, so then I started reading about no electricity. Then I learned about the whole, Texas is off the grid because they don’t want to be regulated thing, like since like the railroad times, and they want to secede, and oh, right they voted for Trump and his lackeys. Twitter was all about you people totally deserve whatever you get.

I agreed. A few tweets were like, “But people are really suffering!” And I had a bone-weary, unfiltered snowflake liberal reaction of, I am tired of bailing you people out when your own stupidity gets you into a huge mess, and when your stupidity gets me into mess. I have my hands full still recovering from Trump’s nonsense, I don’t have time for your no heat, no electricity, no water problems. You people are on your own! I was really, really angry about it, and there is nothing like YOU PEOPLE to make me feel justified, even righteous.

How do you like the liberal snowflake now, ya bahstids?

Not my finest moment, but I do have sanctimonious tendencies. The tweets of liberals I follow who live in Texas were posting and retweeting the result of what happens to people and houses without heat, electricity, and water in freezing temperatures. Burst pipes, people trying to keep their elders, children, and pets warm under piles of blankets. My conscience started to poke me, but I was still pissed. My alter ego Blanche, who likes to give me a hard time aka the truth, was sitting on her barstool, with several shots of whiskey and an ashtray half filled with butts.

“This is really serious, you know. These people are in trouble.”

“Well that’s what they get for being Republicans. Things are great until they’re not. Let their Republican leaders bail them out.”

“Greg Abbott is a douchebag, and Ted Cruz is shit on the bottom of my shoe — they’re not going to do it,” she said, sighing like she was explaining something to a toddler, which she kind of was. She downed a shot and took a long drag on her cigarette.

“And I should? These people stormed the capital!”

Blanche raised her eyebrow at me. “Not everyone in Texas is a MAGA conspiracy asshat. And what about homeless people, people of color, indigenous people? What kind of hypocrite are you going on and on about social justice, and you’re ignoring them?”

I was still mad, but she had a point. Blanche just sucked her teeth at me. The funny thing is I had to Google where to give money to. My inbox is full of lefty snowflake causes and alerts about people in precarious situations, but nothing had come up about where to give for Texas aid. Maybe we’re all feeling a bit, sanctimonious? Blanche gave me a “nice try” look, said “Just click donate,” and downed another shot.

I found a vetted place that was helping people secure housing and sent the money, but I was still nursing a grudge. Then the feed shifted to Beto O’Rourke organizing a phone bank of volunteers to check on the elderly and AOC raising (as of Sunday) $4 million. Then, as we like to say in these pahts, light dawned on Marblehead. This is what real leaders do. And, also, this is why I’m not a leader. But I was finally able to stop being mad about the money and the situation and be human enough to say, yes, this is the right thing to do. How can I help?

And the hard truth, as Blanche was trying to tell me, is that this is what these past 4 years plus a pandemic have brought me to. How easy is it to YOU PEOPLE others when I’m tired and anxious and angry. And my realization makes me better than MAGA asshats! Yes! Blanche just shakes her head and walks away.

If you would like to help:

The Austin Urban League

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is raising money for Texas: You can donate to housing and food oranizations.

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