We started this post over the weekend. Over the weekend, we were wondering about the pandemic. Thinking radical things like, "Maybe quarantine is nearing an end?" Because we know people who've had both shots of the vaccine. We know people who've started saying things like, "I'll save you a seat," and they mean a literal seat. In a literal public space. So, we started thinking, "Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe?" (Even if there is, ffs, keep your masks on if you have to go out and stay home whenever you can.)
Then reports started coming out of Texas of a massive storm. And then those storm reports turned into "rolling blackout" reports. And then our Texas friends on twitter made clear that the "rolling blackouts" were actually massive and prolonged blackouts. And that was on Day One.
Several days in, people continue to freeze, starve, and die. We continue to heap tragedy on top of tragedy.
What has become clear this week is that political finger pointing and radical adherence to an ideological posture that does not have "alleviating human suffering" anywhere on the list, much less somewhere near the top drives the supermajority in Texas.
What has become clear this week is that there is a lot of truth to this tweet:
We didn't realize until this week that sometime in the 1930s, Texas decided that it wanted to stay clear of federal regulation and opted to form its own power grid. Which is part of how it finds itself in this situation right now, forcing its residents to freeze and starve while its leaders point fingers and shout at straw men. (Literally tilting at wind turbines. More tilting here.)
We didn't realize until this week that El Paso had opted out of said project, joined a different multi-state compact for power, winterized its grid, and felt a fraction of the impacts. We had not realized that El Paso-based politician Beto O'Rourke had mobilized his entire network to start identifying and taking in the most vulnerable people in the El Paso community. And we had not realized that Senator Ted Cruz had taken his family on vacation to Cancun while people in his state are currently freezing *literally* to death.
Like a lot of things we write about here, we didn't realize. But we definitely should have.
If you want to help people in Texas, there is a list here that is tracking grassroots resources which will get your money directly to people and orgs that could use your support. There is also more on this unfolding tragedy in the Texas Tribune. As Emily Ramshaw points out:
Here's one other note for our Wyoming folks: Supermajorities kill.
We have said that for a long time and we have always meant it literally--supermajorities *literally* kill people, especially the poor, the vulnerable, women, the indigenous, and people of color--but all that is writ large right now and there's no way to deny it. (Don't get us wrong, they'll try to deny it. But there isn't any truth to those denials.)
Meanwhile, you might be feeling like you should be feeling better because of the aforementioned maybe-there's-a-light-at-the-end-of-this-pandemic-tunnel but you might also be feeling despondent because the world is still very, very broken and we've been at this quarantine thing for nearly a year now and there is actually not a lot worse than feeling bad when you feel like you should feel good or feeling worse when all signs point to the expectation that you feel better.
Which is a long way of saying, maybe you might like some things to keep you company while you're hanging out at home and sorting through all the shit? So here are some things.
Why Were We So Cruel to Britney Spears? by Sophie Gilbert
Inside the Lincoln Project’s ‘toxic’ workplace by Amanda Becker
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Framing Britney Spears | Kathryn VarenDonk writes a good summary in "Framing Britney and the Empathy of a Simple Timeline": "How could we have mocked this one aspect of her life, while ignoring everything that came before? How could we question her fitness as a parent, while utterly failing to empathize with her circumstances as a parent? How could we be such enthralled consumers of her personal life, while cheerfully ignoring the blatant, incredible stresses of her personal life?"
To All the Boys I've Loved Before 3
Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar | You can read a review of this romp right here.
Domestic Workers | The National Domestic Workers Alliance organizes domestic workers in the United States for respect, recognition and labor standards.
Salmon for everyone, even the baby from Jenny Rosenstreich over at Dinner, A Love Story
Wine | Get a glass. Get a bottle (we recommend one with a screwtop). Open bottle. Pour into glass. Drink.
Feed the Resistance | Eater's cookbook of the year for 2020.
In the Christian tradition, yesterday was Ash Wednesday which marks the first day of Lent. The Lenten tradition includes both fasting and self-denial. Most women we know engage in some form of both during their daily (non-Lenten) lives. Mothers, in particular, fast so their kids can eat. Deny themselves all manner of things to provide for their families. So, point is: women probably don't need Lenten lessons in self-abnegation.
Guess what? We have good news for those who want to observe without perpetuating the self-denial that women live with daily. Scripture for this Ash Wednesday includes Isaiah 58:1-12. Which speaks directly to some other, better options for fasting:
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free? ... Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house? If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
So, this is the fast that we choose: justice, generosity, truth.
Update to the update: