Y’all. I had so much to talk about this week: Former President It Wasn’t Me’s incompetent representation at the impeachment trial and all the drama therein; Mitch McConnell managing to not just throw the impeachment trial, vote to acquit and then throw Former President Very Stable Genius under the bus for being an insurrectionist; the whole mess going on over at The Bachelor; Charisma Carpenter dumping the final shovel loads of dirt on the grave of Joss Whedon’s career (lol, who am I kidding, he’ll be back, they always are); and now Rush Limbaugh’s death … THERE’S A LOT GOING ON AND I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT IT ALL BUT …
As some of y’all might have heard or are currently experiencing along with me (or are reading this sometime later because you didn’t have power until now), we here in Texas had a little weather event this week, and shit went bananas.
At first, it was cute! Super cute!
Aww! Baby goats in sweaters in rare Texas snow! So cute!
But then it turned less cute, real fast. Our power went out Monday morning when it was roughly 18º, but we were lucky enough for it to return only about an hour later. Still, that one hour of lost heat meant our already under-insulated house’s temperature, even with a fire going, had dropped to the low 60s, high 50s. Then, that evening at 6:40, the power went out again and did not return for 42 hours. Over the course of those 42 hours, our house’s internal temperature dropped to the low 40s as the temperature outside hung around in the low teens. We slept in that for two cold nights. The water also went out and we’re under a boil notice for who knows how long. Still, we count ourselves among the lucky. We did not have a pipe burst (knock on wood, though there’s still time), the place didn’t burn down, and we did not freeze to death in our homes or die of carbon monoxide poisoning the way some unfortunate souls did.
Why this happened — why millions of Texans sat literally freezing in their homes in the largest energy-producing state in the country — is a huge clusterfuck that I suspect will take months if not years to completely sort out and fix. But for those of you with luxuries like power and television who might be hearing the right and our incompetent Governor Greg Abbott go on Fox News to try to place the blame on AOC and the Green New Deal: naw, y’all, it ain’t that.
My power came on as I was writing this, and I hope it stays on and that my internet returns …
(Although that’s a whole other issue that I am sure I’ll be grappling with over the next few days if my interlude with AT&T’s servicebot on Monday was any indication):
… so that we can get back to the TV junk but also so that we can talk about this Texas power issue in more depth because I think it shines a bright ugly light on some bigger philosophical debates — specifically, we need to ask ourselves if it really is a good idea to elect people to run our government who hate the very notion of government.
The truth of the matter is I, like many of my fellow Texans I’m sure, had never really given two thoughts about our electrical grid before this moment, but I sure as hell am paying attention now. And though I might not exactly understand the economic ends and outs of it all — though I do very well intend to educate myself to the best of my goddamned ability, especially now that the Former President Walking McRib has vacated that space in my brain — I do understand a couple of basic things. Namely, the Republicans have been in charge of this state for 25 years now, and if there is anyone to blame, it is not Alexandria Ocasio Cortez FOR FUCK’S SAKE.
The organization that runs our grid, the now much-maligned Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) (RELIABILITY! IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE TITLE!), is managed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas — a body that is entirely appointed by the Governor — and the Texas Legislature — which is majority Republican. But sure, point to windmills that froze over (because no one required the generators to winterize them lest they shed a little profit in favor of planning for a climate that is changing and creating unexpected weather events — you know, like the one we just experienced) that accounted for only for 13% of the outages instead of your beloved natural gas and coal generators who accounted for 87% of the outages, you goddamned liars. And I’m not saying that gas and coal are evil — they are not, and I, a bomb-throwing liberal, can even acknowledge that gas is the backbone of our economy. But to try to blame this catastrophe on the inefficiencies of renewable resources instead of the truth of the matter which is more complicated and involves the constant chase of deregulation and profit, the myth of self-sufficiency, and a simple refusal to plan ahead, is just fucking flat-out lying and despicable.
People died because of ERCOT’s and our state’s feckless planning. They knew a week ahead of time this was going to be a weather event they could not provide enough power for as early as last week and no one said anything more than “stay off the roads and bring your plants inside.”
No one told us to prepare for days, possibly up to a week (or, God forbid, the whole grid collapse and we be down for a month — an actual possibility that was discussed yesterday, and remains a possibility, I fear) without power or water. No one told us to gas up our cars, as they may be our only source of heat and power for a while. No one told us that the grocery stores and restaurants and corner stores were going to be out of power and that if we didn’t stock up on some basic essentials, we’d be fucked. No one was looking out for us.
And listen, we’re not babies. We had food at our house, we had water bottles left over from the last hurricane scare, we have, like I mentioned, a fireplace, and we had the forethought to buy firewood for it ahead of the storm. But that’s only because, like I said, even with a fire going and the heat on, our house doesn’t warm up above 60 on the coldest days — we did not expect it to be OUR ONLY SOURCE OF HEAT. There are many, millions even, of Texans who didn’t have any of those resources at the ready, and they are suffering — DYING — for no good goddamned reason.
Wait, I take that back, there is one reason: our leadership failed us completely.
As for when I’m going to be back to posting on a normal schedule — that’s hard to say at this point. It all depends on my electricity staying on and my internet being restored. And at this point, my faith in our infrastructure and ability to do BASIC FUCKING THINGS is a little bit shook. I hope to be back to normal at the latest by next week; at the earliest, tomorrow? That’s going to require an AT&T miracle, so pray to
Technical Boy the internet gods on my behalf.
Stay warm, friends.