I’m not a fan of Ted Cruz, but I’m failing to see the actual problem with his recent egress of the war torn (oops, I mean weather stricken) bowels of Texas to go to sunnier climes (a word that I’m presuming is derivative of climate in some way – I’ll look it up later). Give me a moment and I’ll breakdown my thoughts on this. I just want to say that I’m not defending anything else that he’s done in the right or in the wrong; I’m only discussing the vacation. Also, if I later hear something that makes me change my mind about this, I will change my mind. At the moment, I just don’t see the problem.
The Optics – This is the primary defense which is that it just looks bad, in much the same way that Nancy Pelosi wringing her hands over not having enough ice cream variety (or whatever that was all about) seemed tone deaf to people who couldn’t find toilet paper. I hate to point this out, but sometimes the phrase “It was a different time” can’t be so easily dismissed. We used to worship the rich and powerful in this country, and I would argue that we still do, but the narrative is that the divide between the haves and the have nots is too big now. Politicians aren’t very good at adjusting to new information. They probably still think it’s the 80s and that Robin Leach is still doing his thing *best Robin Leach voice* This jet-setting senator says, “No way I’m staying and suffering the cold,” as he flies off to a sunny adventure in Aaa cah pull coooooh. (I know he went to Cancun, but if I’m going to do a Robin Leach voice then it’s Aaa cah pull coooooh.
A Senator’s Job – I basically never agree with anything that comes out of Donald Trump, Jr.’s mouth (did I get the punctuation right there? if not I was being sarcastic) but he pointed out that a state senator’s job has little to do with the day to day operations of city and state. That’s the mayors’ and the governor’s jobs. Senators work with legislation. If Ted Cruz was going to do anything about the mess that Texas experienced, it would be next time they’re in session. We can talk about his lack of action when that doesn’t happen; but in the meantime, Ted Cruz wasn’t going to be doing anything that could have really helped. He would have just stayed at home. Essentially, what everyone is saying is Ted Cruz should have suffered along with the rest of. How about this? Maybe none of us should have been suffering. Maybe some people in power should take a real close look at the legislation that got us into this mess in the first place. We’re talking about a god damn vacation when we should be talking about the fact that utilities that we pay for every month failed us. These aren’t government handout utilities. We pay for this and the service providers failed us. Let’s talk about that, not a stupid Aaa cah pull coooooh trip. Sorry, Robin Leach took over again. Besides, our lawmakers don’t really do anything except vote unanimously for their own raises under good circumstances. Did you really expect that Ted Cruz would do anything when we needed him?
First World Problems – Finally, what are we actually arguing about here? I didn’t have electricity to watch NetFlix while I couldn’t go to work because the roads were treacherous. I know that people died, and I take that very seriously, but that’s not what the argument is with the Ted Cruz vacation situation ablation relation Rhythm Nation planet dies. If it was the difference between life and death, of course he would leave, and who would need to apologize for that? There was a bomb to be dropped by Japanese planes at noon (because it’s apparently WWII in my analogy) and Ted Cruz couldn’t be bothered to stick around be disintegrated with everyone else. The fact is that there were people who weren’t Ted Cruz who left the state to get away from what was going to happen, because they have the money to do so. There were people who had generators, because they have the money to do so. This is just a harsh truth of life that we’re desperately trying to ignore. Some people have it better than others. I don’t have the money to fly away for the week, nor did I have money for a generator, and I got basically lucky that the power failures weren’t all that bad. I do feel bad for the people who died as a direct result of utilities failures, and there should be litigation to punish the companies and legislation to avoid this happening again. And yes, there needs to be legislation; because while the free market would say let litigation decide, the moment that litigation would decide they would create legislation to stop the litigation. The simple fact is that for 90+% of us, the failure of the utilities was just inconvenience. Yes, there were people suffering, but there are people suffering all over the world even during good times. We don’t see that day to day, because to the people living in real poverty, we are all Ted Cruz going on vacation during a deadly storm every single day.
Let me wrap up by saying that there is almost nothing that I would generally defend Ted Cruz about. I don’t like most politicians enough to defend most of their behaviour. This just seems like a slow news week reaction, when it wasn’t really a slow news week. Can we please focus on the important part of all of this? Privatization of anything that is normally under the purview of the government needs to be ethical or it needs to be legislated. If there was real competition for utilities to justify privatization, this wouldn’t have happened. The fallout of being the company that couldn’t supply power and the resulting loss of customers would keep them in line. The customers really have nowhere to go though, because all the “providers” pay to use the same power grid (fact check me on that, but that’s how I understand it). We’re going to get distracted by petty bickering and the next time that Ted Cruz flies off on a sunny adventure to Aaa cah pull coooooh, and we’re stuck here with no power, it’ll be because we didn’t argue the about what mattered.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who is fully aware of the concepts surrounding the powerless and those who can buy power that is fully represented in this situation. It’s almost too on the nose.