via Pablo Martinez Monsivais
When politicians ask us to vote for them, we often ask them what they have to offer in return. And almost every time, we are served with some variation of “we will fight for you”. They travel the campaign trail, leaving promises to fight for this, that, and the other as they go. When they get elected, their principal purpose is to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of their constituents. Fighting for everyday people is what politicians get paid to do. And yet, politicians often seem to be doing more flight than fight. In the case of Ted Cruz, I mean that quite literally.
On Wednesday 27th of February, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas woke up and decided that his temporary comfort was more important than the wellbeing of his constituents. Senator Cruz was caught in 4k when someone on his flight to Cancun, Mexico, thought to take a picture of him boarding the plane. Needless to say, this was not the move for Senator Cruz. Like, at all. Not only was he traveling amid a pandemic – Texas was in the middle of a snowstorm coupled with horribly cold temperatures that resulted in power outages, water shortages, and overall chaos. Homeless people were dying due to lack of heat, people were flocking to swimming pools to get water to flush their toilets, and Senator Cruz has decided that that was the perfect time to live it up in Cancun. He could have tried to coordinate with the federal government to get aid for Texans. If that was not feasible, he could have helped out on the ground and offered assistance to people and organizations that were providing relief. At the bare minimum, he could have even just stayed in the state and powered through the storm with the 4 million other people without electricity and the 15 million without clean water. And he, the person who makes six figures to fight for Texas, decided that he would be of more use potentially spreading a life-threatening disease in 80-degree weather.
Meanwhile, 1700 miles away, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was fighting. She saw the suffering that was taking place in Texas, and she did something about it. As of February 21st, Representative Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she and her followers had raised 5 million dollars for 12 organizations that were providing relief to many vulnerable groups. On the 19th, she flew to Houston to do some on-the-ground work at food distribution centers. During a press conference that was held in Texas, Representative Ocasio-Cortez said, “This isn’t just an issue for Texas. It is an issue for our entire country, and our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across the state.” Representative Ocasio-Cortez is not new to the limelight – she was the youngest person elected to Congress in 2018 after dethroning one of the highest ranking members of the House Democrats. She is known for supporting progressive grassroots movements, and has amassed a huge (and young) following since getting in office. She has also been lauded for her choice to express her femininity in a field that has seen it as a liability for so long – her hallmark makeup look centers a bold red lip. In line with her track record, Representative Ocasio-Cortez saw a need, and she decided that she would use her platform and privilege to help meet that need. Senator Cruz saw a need and crossed the country so that he wouldn’t have to endure the single-digit to below zero temperatures with the commoners.
This isn’t about parties. Regardless of their party affiliation or where they lie on the political spectrum, politicians are civil servants. When you elect them, their job is to serve you. They aren’t getting paid 174 thousand dollars a year to pay for tickets to Cancun when their home states are freezing over. They aren’t supposed to be serving the interests of oil companies, or huge corporations, or even themselves. They are supposed to serve the people. And while the worst of this disaster has come to pass, Senator Cruz has shown that when the going gets tough, he will not hesitate to leave his constituents high and dry. And Texans don’t deserve that, regardless of whether they voted for him or not.
Stay safe and ATB,
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Maxouris, Christina. “Here’s How a Week of Frigid Weather and Catastrophe Unfolded in Texas.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 Feb. 2021, http://www.cnn.com/2021/02/21/weather/texas-winter-storm-timeline/index.html.
Pettaway, Taylor. “AOC Raises $5 Million for Texas Non-Profits after Winter Weather Crisis.” MySA, MySA, 22 Feb. 2021, http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/AOC-raises-5-million-to-go-towards-Texas-15970304.php.
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“Senate Salaries (1789 to Present).” U.S. Senate: Senate Salaries (1789 to Present), 29 Jan. 2021, http://www.senate.gov/senators/SenateSalariesSince1789.htm.
Silverman, Hollie. “About 390,000 Texans Are Still under Boil Water Advisories from the Winter Storm.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 Mar. 2021, http://www.cnn.com/2021/03/01/us/texas-winter-storm-aftermath/index.html.