Ted Cruz leaves Texans in dark

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

In the midst of a catastrophic snowstorm across Texas leaving millions without power, water or heat, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz packed his bags and went to Cancún, Mexico, with his family. This is clearly an example of his incompetence as a leader and his selfishness.

More than that, it’s an example of how wealthy people deal with climate disasters and will continue to. Many people see climate change as an issue that affects us equally, but that’s not true.

While climate change may come for everyone in the end, it will affect poor people of color first. Cruz’s flight shows the need to fight for equitable climate change policy that prioritizes the communities most at risk in these disasters. 

What Ted Cruz did was absolutely deplorable, but it’s been done before. During this pandemic, there have been celebrities like Timothee Chalamet, Kim Kardashian and Drake going off on lavish vacations to other countries despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines telling people to stay home.

Since rich people have the money to avoid certain issues, they will. Another major example that is similar to the Ted Cruz situation is Joel Osteen not opening up his church during Hurricane Harvey. 

When talking about climate change, people typically act like this will affect all of us equally, even though it won’t. We can see that rich people have the ability to whisk themselves away on luxury vacations the second disaster hits, or shut themselves up in their million dollar homes or churches.

Even if a natural disaster does affect a rich person’s property, they likely have multiple homes to stay at or can afford a five star hotel suite. Most people don’t have that option. Most people’s lives are completely uprooted if a weather disaster damages their house. 

Poor communities, specifically poor communities of color, are the most at risk in climate disasters. Redlining prevents them from repairing their property to waterproof their buildings. Someone living paycheck to paycheck probably cannot afford a generator or even stock up on emergency supplies.

Communities of color are also less likely to be prioritized when fixing damage after a storm. After Hurricane Katrina, the world witnessed that it was harder for low-income African American communities to recover than others. The same goes for Harvey. 

During this winter storm, it was poor communities of color that struggled the most. Utility companies kept downtowns across Texas powered, as well as the wealthy neighborhoods surrounding them, while other communities on the outskirts were literally left in the dark and cold.

Low income communities are still struggling after this recent storm. Many lost power for over 48 hours and couldn’t go to work for a week. While his constituents were struggling, Cruz left to have fun on vacation.  

Cruz’s Cancún trip is just a sneak peek as to what may happen a lot in the future. Climate change is real and more weather disasters will start happening, along with rich people leaving to escape for themselves.

Hopefully there will be more climate change policies in the future with the new president, and hopefully those policies will prioritize the communities that will be affected the most by climate change.

There needs to be a policy in place to protect and help these communities. Otherwise, it will be every man for himself, with the rich being the most successful at it.

Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]

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