Readers' Mailbag: I need a little help from my friends
A letter to the editor from Rev. Dr. Ira S. Williams, Gravois Mills:
The lyrics of a Beatle’s song reminds us that sometimes “I get by with a little help from my friends”. Texans are historically self-reliant and resist any attempt to be regulated by governing bodies beyond their state line. They have let the rest of the union know that they are quite capable of going it alone.
An addiction to self-reliance, a jingoistic fear of outside governance, and a refusal in 2011 to make recommended winterization upgrades on the stand-alone power grid by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation have left Texans out in the cold. Pun intended. Texas authorities deemed such upgrades as unnecessary—it would have affected the balance sheet of investors.
To deflect culpability, Texas Governor Gregory Wayne Abbott and other officials blamed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s non-binding, yet to be voted on, Green New Deal which emphasizes renewable energy such as solar and wind power—it seems that propagating a “Big Lie” is not go away anytime soon.
While political factions point the finger-of-blame, a little help from Texas neighbors and fellow Americans are giving all of us a lesson in civic responsibility. Actors, musicians, politicians, private individuals, for profit and not for profits, federal agencies have offered physical, material, and financial help. Included are the neighbors of American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, World Central Kitchen, Protestant and Catholic charities, charitable foundations, food banks. The list goes on.
A sampling includes a Texas neighbor citizen, Ryan Sivley, who nearly died in a car accident is using his second chance at life for good by rescuing 145 drivers who became stranded during winter storm Uri. Using his four-wheel drive vehicles, he managed to rescue a total of 147 cars — all without asking for anything in return. Texas neighbors Jessica Tomberlin and her spouse Janessa own a bakery in Austin and have spent at least $5,000 out of their own pockets to purchase groceries, including fresh produce, eggs, chicken breasts and hot soup. They hope to feed up to a thousand people through the rest of the week, relying also on crowd-funding efforts to get meals to hungry residents. Texas neighbor Beto O'Rourke organized welfare on-site calls to suffering Texans.
Celebrity neighbors from across the nation are reaching out to those who watch them on TV and wide screen or sing-along with them in their cars. Bronx, New York neighbor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has turned the other cheek with a fundraising effort currently exceeding $10,000,000. The new neighbor in the White House declared a State of Emergency thus authorizing federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts. Governmental neighbors in Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has also sent millions of liters of water, thousands of blankets, generators and is preparing to ship in diesel to help backup power.
Covid-19, power outages, sub-zero temperatures are bringing the best out of neighbors near and far. Texans can honestly say that they will get by with a little help from their friends.