Don’t make jokes at the expense of Texans: understand the importance of reliable infrastructure.

With the rise of online criticism of conservative beliefs, figures, and news outlets has come a new form of “activism” that extends these criticisms into a mockery of red states. Even more, this has formed a new belief that red states and the people who inhabit them deserve to be the punchline of all “jokes” because of who the majority of people in those states vote for; this discounts the minority communities in each of these states that not only suffer because of their states’ legislators, but now are placed in a position where they are forced to hear about how everyone in their state deserves the lot they receive in life. It disregards the blatant voter suppression that these states imposed on marginalized voters and fails to recognize that not everyone living in a red state aligns with conservative beliefs. Making online jokes surrounding the unfortunate circumstances of red states was a common practice after Florida was declared a red state in the 2020 presidential election, which placed the state at the mercy of various hurricane and natural disaster jokes, and is now becoming commonplace following the spike in Texas winter storms and record freezing temperatures. 

https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/02/17/USAT/2e15ae52-57c1-47ad-80cb-41745a181097-90ddd7ea-fff0-4c8a-a7bf-f2b23adef061_thumbnail.png?width=660&height=371&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp

Jokes on Twitter made the past week at the expense of Texans have covered a broad spectrum of undeserved hatred– Tweets along the lines of how “Ted Cruz’s state had it coming” or “This is what we call a normal weekday in the north” have cruelly discounted the fact that Texas infrastructure was not made for natural occurrences such as winter storms and millions of Texans were not equipped for consecutive days of power outages. Many have taken this as their cue to involve Texas in their “weird cold takes,” as Twitter user @zzzsartorialist deems it, and draw a line between “superior” and “weak” states. The situation in Texas goes beyond people whining over a few sprinkles or snow or shivering over a slight temperature drop; millions of Texas homes are without power or heating, and people have died due to incredibly unsafe roads, freezing in their own homes, and being unable to safely stay warm. The need for normally cold states to make jokes telling Texans to “suck it up” and for online takes saying that next time Texas should vote with instances like this in mind overall undermine the situation.

Rather than making Texans the tail end of overused jokes that do not aid the situation, there needs to be a collective realization that infrastructure changes need to take place. Buildings, roads, and power supplies in Texas are not equipped to deal with natural instances outside of the normal yearly occurrences, which completely disregards the reality of climate change and the desperate need for an infrastructure bill in America. If the government does not step up and increase infrastructure investments, there’s a good chance that what is occurring in Texas at the moment will become a common risk rather than a one-off fluke. Now, more than ever, is the time to put pressure on the Biden-Harris administration and demand that they go big on infrastructure, which would start with the implementation of their promised “Build Back Better” infrastructure plan. This plan would ultimately provide $400 billion to expanding clean vehicle technology and steel production, among other building materials.

•Austin Mutual Aid is raising money to book hotel rooms for residents living outside without water or shelter.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/kick-the-cold-austin-mutal-aid

•The Austin Area Urban League is holding and emergency donating drive to aid in emergency support.
https://aaul.org/

•The Solid Ground Ministry is serving as a cold weather shelter for families and individuals. Donate Here:
https://solidgroundatx.org/

•Maximizing Hope is raising money to purchase hotel rooms for people in the Austin area.
https://givebutter.com/MaxedHope

•Good Work Austin’s Community Kit hen is raising money for it’s meal program feeding those in need.
https://www.givepulse.com/event/212809-Good-Work-Austins-Community-Kitchen?Payment_page=3

•Austin Disaster Relief Network needs donations to help buy gift cards, pay for emergency housing and transportation, and supplies for people impacted by weather-related incidents.
https://adrn.org/


SOURCES:

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/02/17/us/

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/17/968665266/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ https://www.usich.gov/homelessness-statistics/tx/


Dylan Follmer

Dylan is a 16-year old junior at Bayonne High School, who displays multiple interests in politics, activism, writing, reading, and journalism. She is passionate about making changes in the world as a member of Generation Z, and strongly believes that the youth can influence and change the world in the best way possible.

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