Don't Mess with Texas - The Years Project

Don’t Mess with Texas


Photo: U.S. Army, 1st Lt. Zachary West

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey we have seen some of the best of humanity at work. Financially, emotionally, and in terms of individual acts of heroism, there has been an incredible outpouring of support. However, in some corners of the internet, a troubling trend is beginning to take shape. Namely the idea that because Harvey was made worse by climate change, Texas deserved to be hit with such devastation. Perhaps due to some perceived support of President Trump and denial of climate change, this is a moment of reckoning. To anyone perpetrating that line of thinking, I encourage you, in the strongest of terms, to just stop.

First off, the basis of that argument is fundamentally flawed. Although Texas is stereotyped as heavily Republican, so-called “Trump-country,” it is by no means a monolith. The fact is, although 52% of the state did vote for President Trump, over 4 million Texans voted for someone else. Only New York, California, and Florida had more non-Trump voters. Houston in particular has a reputation as a bipartisan city, and last time it had a Republican Mayor was 1982.

Second, and far more importantly, no matter how you voted, no one deserves to be hit with a tragedy like this. Your fellow Americans are not your enemy. Most voters in both parties want more action on climate change not less.

Yet powerful fossil fuel interests and politicians who have held back progress, stalled the debate and rejected plausible solutions with a campaign of misinformation. They deserve to be held accountable, but they are not the ones suffering. Those suffering are everyday Americans and they deserve sympathy, not disdain. Whether they embrace the realities of climate change or not, they are just as much victims of these special interests and crooked politicians as anyone else, if not more so.

This is a teachable moment, but it should not be about saying, “I told you so.” Instead it should be about uplifting, educating and empowering. Texans can’t let climate change continue to escalate, they’ve seen how much damage it can do. The people of the Lone Star State, Democrats and Republicans both, need to demand leaders who will take this issue seriously. They need to send the Ted Cruzes, John Cornyns, and Lamar Smiths of the world a powerful message come election season: Don’t Mess With Texas.