The whole country stood and watched Texas go through a horrible climate crisis just a week ago. From the icicles appearing in homes to a major vehicle collision, Texas has been through a lot with its extremely cold weather and snow. But instead of offering support, some people have used this crisis as an opportunity to bring politics into why Texans deserve this type of suffering.
All 254 counties in Texas were under a winter storm warning around Feb.14. This winter storm had devastating effects all over the state. Some areas of Texas remain without power. Seventy people died due to the effects of the storm, including eleven-year-old Cristian Pavon. Pavon’s house lost its power for several days, and due to the extreme cold, Pavon froze to death.
Unfortunately, Pavon’s story is not unique to this situation. Knowing this, it should be common sense to have reverence over the situation, correct? However, some people took to social media platforms to express their views on the situation. Some social media users concluded that Texas deserved the effects of the storm because of its Republican-leaning past. The unnecessary animosity against Texas due to political beliefs is not a new issue. The best example of this was during the presidential election. Texas was assumed to be a swing state during this election. Ultimately, it ended up going red. Because of this, Democratic voters felt betrayed by Texas.
This led to several memes centered around the climate crisis, essentially blaming the cold weather and snow on Texans themselves. The issue with this is that it fails to consider the fact that climate knows no political ideology. Another issue is that people seem to think that only Republicans are going through this crisis; therefore, they deserve it. In reality, the more Democrat-leaning counties such as Harris County (which includes Houston) have been hit the worst by these storms.
This is not the first time we’ve seen politics brought in to justify climate crises in the United States. In mid-to-late 2020, California experienced multiple deadly fires across the state. These fires resulted in the deaths of over 30 people. The most deadly fire, the North Complex West Zone, claimed the lives of 16 people. As with the Texas weather crisis, people took to social media to blame the fires on the citizens because of their ideology. People claimed that the fires were warranted because California is a Democrat-leaning state. Former President Donald Trump himself even said, “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.” It’s quite clear that Trump and others made the California fires a political issue rather than a climate one. People on social media claimed that California’s “poor, Democrat” rule is what led them to experience these fires. Some people even said they didn’t feel bad due to the political affiliation of California. This shows how the extreme polarization of the United States has made some people disregard the lives of other Americans solely based on political affiliation.
Politics should stay out of climate issues. Climate change is a bipartisan issue that doesn't need added aggravation from both sides. In “No, Texans Do Not Deserve To Suffer Because They Live In A Red State,” Lydia Wang states that writing off states as "red" or "blue" disregards the fact that voter suppression exists. She also mentions the fact that Republicans should be afforded the same right of life as Democrats.
Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, one thing still rings true: you’re an American. One party doesn't deserve to suffer through winter storms or forest fires solely based on their political ideology. Instead of talking politics, Americans should join together to deter the effects that climate change is having on our country.
This is the opinion of Aker Ajak, a freshman political science major from Omaha, Nebraska. Email comments to email@example.com. Follow and tweet comments to @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like the Loyolan on Facebook.