Opinion: Texas’ residents are not responsible for the storms


Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user chumlee10

WSPN’s Genevieve Morrison discusses how the storms in Texas last month have sparked a conversation nationwide on the consequences of Republican climate change inaction.

In the wake of the Texas snowstorms last week, victims posted their experiences on social media and were met with a shocking lack of empathy from left-leaning users. This has revealed a larger conversation as to who is really responsible for the storm and who is a victim.

While it is no doubt ironic that a state with a predominantly conservative population is affected by climate change, this matter is nothing to joke about. The effects of the storm have been devastating, with millions of people living without heat in below-freezing temperatures. At least 26 people have died since Feb. 11 because of the storm. Weeks have passed since the storm, and huge portions of the population are still without power.

As of right now, Texans are dealing with the short-term obvious effects of the storm. As time passes, we will realize how this event has damaged many aspects of life. The sudden change in weather completely decimated many crop yields, especially citrus fruit and dairy products. This is obviously financially devastating for farmers, but it will also cause food insecurity in Texas for months to come.

Some say that these storms could have been avoided if residents had not voted red. Even acclaimed novelist Stephen King tweeted: “Hey, Texas! Keep voting for officials who don’t believe in climate change and supported privatization of the power grid! Maybe in four years, you can vote for Trump again. He believes in the latter but not the former. Perfect.”

No matter how much you disagree with someone you should still acknowledge that people deserve basic human necessities like clean water and shelter. While there is a lot of responsibility owed to Republican politicians in the state, now is not the time for pointing fingers, especially not civilians with essentially no political power. Considering that Texas has never experienced a snowstorm of this magnitude in recent memory, can the state be blamed for being unprepared?

Even though Democrats pride themselves on being advocates for the environment, this storm still would have happened even if Texas was a blue state. The Democratic Party has failed time and time again to instate effective solutions to climate change. Republican legislators definitely hinder progress, but we can’t point to one single state and say that they are at fault. Many people overestimate how much Democratic state governments are really doing for the environment at the end of the day. No matter how much preventative action is taken, random natural disasters will always happen.

The issue runs deeper than just insensitivity when you realize who is really affected by these storms. The wealthy Republican lawmakers that these people hate so much are doing just fine right now, even fleeing the country on private planes. The people that are most affected are the working class and people of color. The storm has destroyed homes and completely ruined many people’s financial situations. This misdirected aggression could lead to a bigger rift between party lines than that which already exists, which will succeed in dividing the working class even further.

This is not just one isolated thoughtless comment. It connects to a bigger picture of how we treat people with different political beliefs. We have nothing to gain from hating each other—the only people who profit are the rich and powerful.