Cold in Texas and Warm Hearts Elsewhere


I saw on the news the other night that northeasterners and upper midwesterners were reaching out to Texans and giving them advice on how to deal with extreme cold and giving them hacks on how to survive power outages in the winter. This was really heartwarming.

My parents live in rural Maine, where each winter, they get over 6-12 feet of snow. Their tiny town is always the first to lose power, and the last to get it back on. When I lived with them, sometimes, we’d lose power for 3-4 days. And this would happen a couple times EVERY winter. Once, we lost it for a week. During the Ice Storm of ’97, they actually had to take an axe and chop their friend and her elderly mother out of their trailer because they were frozen inside – like an ice box.

If you’ve ever been to Maine, you know that Mainers are hardy, resourceful, and resilient folk. They know that when you lose power, you transfer all your food in the refrigerator to the snowbanks. They know how to melt ice for water to flush the toilets. They know how to melt snow for drinking water. And dozens of other lifesaving hacks.

I hated growing up in the deep woods of landlocked central Maine. When I turned 18, the first thing I did was get the hell out of that damn place. But now, I think of it differently. Bangor was a great place to grow up. And later, after we moved to the country, it was lovely too. Sure, we were surrounded by Trumpers, but the people always treated me kindly and they were God-fearing lovely people to get to know personally. And they taught me a lot. Like how to survive a brutal Maine winter. That’s something they could teach the good people of Texas right about now.

As much as I hate America sometimes, I also love it dearly. In times of crisis, Americans come together and look out for one another. Remember the good will that W squandered after 9/11? Those months after that national tragedy, Americans were grieving together and tighter than ever. And Giuliani was the most popular politician in America. “America’s Mayor.”

What happened the last four years? Giuliani became a carnival barker for a narcissistic sideshow snake oil salesman, and the country became fractured, even more divisive, and American racism reared its ugly head again.

Of course, Black Lives Matter would remind us that Racism never went away, and that Black folx have been experiencing it continuously for over 400 years. Police Brutality is not a new phenomenon. It’s the natural successor to lynching, and its been around for over a century. It’s just now, we have these handy-dandy video cameras in our phones, and suddenly White America is finally seeing horrific videos of brutality as if waking up from a pleasant dream, but that’s been an ongoing nightmare for Black folx since they came over in chains.

On the day before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King said these words: “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything.” One of my best friends and I often talk about this speech, and that we both think that sometimes people KNOW when they are about to die. MLK was not long for this world, but he knew that he had made an imprint on it. We are still continuing his work. But oh my friends, we still have a long way to go to reach that “mountaintop.”

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