Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
You probably heard that Texas’s power grid seceded from the union in order to let the necessity- of-life-utility sector legally enslave the people to their price gouging and negligence, and that there were consequences.
The following is meant to tar our entire dumb austerity culture, though it will smell like it’s just for Tim Boyd, the recently-resigned mayor of Colorado City, Texas, in the zone of desolation where the electricity mongers pulled an Enron with an extra twist of the knife in the back.
Tim Boyd wrote his constituents a polite letter explaining the nature of the neoliberal social contract between the state and its subjects in the new millennium. Well, okay, he wasn’t actually polite. He was quite rude, to tell the truth. But his Facebook screed was explanatory. It laid out in simple, straightforward prose the ideal relationship between the general public and the for-profit authorities. It was as clear an explanation as the one Senator Ted Cruz acted out in his interpretive dance to Cancun, away from the state in question, abandoning his post. A fitting performance to illustrate his uselessness, and, although he returned to the failed state he fails to represent, once so ensconced he persevered on his useless course.
Tim Boyd’s missive begins with his thesis: “No one owes you or your family anything,” followed by a semi-colon where a comma would have sufficed. Proper punctuation is the least we are owed by our elected officials, but Boyd makes clear that even such a modest gesture is too much to expect. Clearly, neither the people of Texas nor their families are worthy of a thoroughly proofread document.
He then specifies from whom the abandoned and shafted people of Texas ought not be so whiny as to expect any type of aid or support: “The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!” I could here mention the subject/verb agreement error – I could easily proofread the whole damn thing and fix the numerous mistakes – but I don’t owe Tim Boyd anything. He’s never given me anything but a mild headache.
The City and County, to whom the people presumably pay taxes, to the best of their ability, or avoid paying taxes to the best of their ability, apparently owe nothing in return for those monies. It’s enough for them to collect taxes and keep them in their pockets. Anything they do beyond that will, I guess, cost extra. As for the power providers or any other services, they not only don’t seem to owe the costumers whom they hold hostage anything, they’re even billing them thousands of dollars for power that was recently priced relatively reasonably, though at above market even then. I don’t know how Texans will respond to electricity bills for thousands of dollars a month, but it is part of a raw deal Governor W. Bush signed into law in 1999, according to past This Is Hell guest Greg Pallast:
“...forcing the state’s hapless customers to accept any price the ‘free’ market dictated. Enron’s CEO Ken Lay showed his appreciation by becoming [the] number one donor for Dubya’s presidential ambitions.”
“Sink or swim, it’s your choice!” Boyd continues, here bafflingly utilizing the comma splice, at just the point where a semi-colon would have been an appropriate fit. Clearly, though, Boyd isn’t about appropriate fits. His fit is entirely inappropriate, albeit educational in content. “Sink or swim?” But it isn’t one or two or even a dozen people sinking. It’s the entire ship. Boyd is telling an inanimate object made of riveted steel that it has a choice. This is pure animism, which goes against Boyd’s later statement that, “God has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this.” So suddenly he believes in God? A God who gives tools, no less? Sounds like a hardware Father Christmas to me, and Boyd comes across as quite a pagan.
A pagan animist shouldn’t be slandering the upbringing of anyone else, yet that’s exactly what he does. He blames Texans’ upbringing and their laziness, then goes on to blame, and I quote: “a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts.” So awkwardly phrased. “Feed the people to believe...” You couldn’t feed me enough barbecued brisket to believe that. From where I sit, the many actually work, and the few collect money from them and give them nothing in return.
Boyd says, “this is sadly a product of a socialist government,” but it’s not. It’s a predictably disastrous product of an insanely capitalistic, privatized, and unregulated utility system that is holding his constituents hostage to the whims of its executives. He’s confusing the symptom – people left by their resource gatekeepers without water to drink or power to heat their homes – with the disease: out-of-control capitalism. He also fails to acknowledge the human-caused climate changes linked to extreme weather, but he is a pagan, and they tend not to believe in anything burying a toad at midnight under a full moon can’t fix. And, even so, he doesn’t owe it to anybody to bury a toad at midnight under a full moon! As a mayor, his job was to take bribes, make deals for his friends, and embezzle tax cash, and that was the sum total of his duties, besides dispensing tantrums.
He concludes with not one but TWO bottom lines: “Bottom line, quit crying and looking for a handout!” and, after a brief sentence, again: “Bottom line - DON’T BE A PART OF A PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!”
Man, two bottom lines. Dude is really serious. Still not serious enough to proofread, though.
He wrote a second message explaining the first, and complaining about people’s reactions to his attacking their character, their strength, their upbringing, their abilities to provide for their families, and the position of their asses in relation to an implicit armchair. He complains that his wife lost her job due to cancel culture. “I would never harass you or your family to the point that they would lose there (sic) livelihood such as a form of income.” He has to specify “form of income,” because the human needs for warmth and drinking water are weaknesses he thinks it is perfectly fine to attack.
Apparently, some citizens sent him death threats, to which he objected, as do I. I say, skip the threats and get right down to business, you lazy Texans! Or are you all talk? Don’t you each own a half-dozen firearms apiece, as is your right by Constitutional invitation? Well, come on! That Second Amendment isn’t going to exercise itself. Does Tim Boyd have to do everything around here?
As I said, this is all meant to tar the entire culture of austerity the people are trapped in, and the for-profit authorities have adopted. Extreme abundance, wastefulness, and lawlessness for the privileged few; less-extreme abundance, waste, and lawlessness for their wheel-greasers in government; an abrupt drop-off after that; and then an even more precipitous drop-off to the slaving poor and the lumpen, who make up the base of the neo-liberal pyramid scheme. The culture of “as little as we can spare for the many; as much as we can grab for ourselves,” is the opposite of progress. We are going downhill. The system is a mistake. Tim Boyd is only its most buffoonish example. Tim Boyd and Ted Cruz. It’s neck-and-neck.
There are counter examples, too, but they are short bursts of Michael Phelpsian effort against the raging current. In the “sink-or-swim” ethos, guess what most of us are expected to do?
I will say this, though: the Texans affected by the fallout from the Texas power-grid secession are indeed rising to the challenge, helping each other – even if they don’t “owe it.” When the philosophy of government is that the response to Hurricane Katrina was a public relations nightmare rather than a failure of the “government by public consent” to act in the public interest, I start to think the monkeyshines on January 6th weren’t enough for these chumps. By withholding power from the people, they make clear they need to see more of the power of the people.
I guess we owe them that.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!