Image: Reference

 On March 2, 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico. Texas is proud to be an independent nation before joining the United States. History books say that Texas joined the Union in 1845. Sometimes I wonder if Texas ever really, fully joined the union - especially on days like these, when the U.S., in an atmosphere of captivating, widespread lethality, ended the governor's Texas mask order Tuesday and announced that all in his state Businesses can be open - 100% - in a matter of days.

As I read about the fatal power outage in Texas, it became clear to me that the crisis was not like a hurricane or an earthquake. This was a man-made disaster, due to the harsh, right-wing ideology of slavery. How can sensible people be haphazard in their opinions? How can policymakers swear to the safety of public sacrifice in the service of ideology?

In Short, the Reverence.

Being a one-party state, Texas politicians lacked the checks and balances needed to defend ideological oversupply. This is what happened to me when I thought of the film "Boys State", which explores the farm teams of Texas politics with humor, pathos, and drama. Boys State is an immersive civic program that brings 1,100 17-year-old boys to Austin annually through the American Legion. 

Filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda Mbabain were given full admission to the event, and they tell a remarkable story of the youth of the age politically. The camera rolls as an angel of idealism, wrestling the devil of ambition.

I went back to the Texas Boys State when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and I loved it. But today’s Boys State, as shown in the film, shows a politics that is more divisive, more dramatic, more intense than my day. It meets "The Room of the Lord," "Flies of the Lords." One of the deepest lessons of the film is how easy it is to divide, how difficult it is to unite. The sections on "Boys State" are completely artificial. Each boy is assigned a party - nationalist or federalist. There’s no ideological framework - it’s for the boys to work.

Some boys shout about guns or scream about abortion. A boy is also likely to be separated - perhaps forgetting that he didn’t do very well the last time he left Texas. But other young men cut back on historical masculinity.

Mexican-American Steven Garza has been nominated for governor on the basis of his calls for unity and community; Renને Otero, an African-American, became president of his party on the strength of a fierce speech in support of prison reform. Ben Feinstein, on the other hand, is the Wheeler-Dealer Party chair, and Robert Mou Kougal is a pro-life, hard-line government candidate (who actually confessed to me that he was really pro-choice).

During the film’s period, you are attracted to these young people and hopefully, they will become real-world leaders who are more committed to changing Texas ’dominant political culture and have less interest in feeding it.

The boys in the film are mimicking the divisive politics and hardline ideology that has dominated Texas over the last decades. And sadly, we saw that with the outage of power in Texas in real life the result of such a reflection adherence to right-wing ideology is true. The electric grid failed. Millions lost heat. Numerous families had no access to clean water - or any water.

This was not just a function of nature. Sure, winter storms were the immediate cause, but the cold in Ok Clahoma or New Mexico was just as record-breaking as it was in Texas, even though their power grids didn’t suffer a catastrophic failure.

As my colleague John Avalon noted, the right-wing ideology of Texas politicians caused them to pull out of the national power grid in 1935, when power plants in most states were frozen, making it impossible to bring electricity from the state.

Cut millions without heat; Pipes burst, water cut, roads were inaccessible. People die: The family of an 11-year-old boy says he died in his bed in Connor, Texas. In Sugar Land, a house fire where I grew up - probably due to an attempt to heat the house after the power went out - wiped out almost the entire family - a grandmother and three young children: ages 11, 8, and 5, perished. Only the children's mother survived.

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and U.S. Secretary of Energy felt it was all worth it for a big reason of right-wing political purity. Perry said Texans would be without electricity for more than three days to keep the federal government away from their business. Right, Rick. Tell it to my family and friends in Texas who cut through the darkness for days.

Small West Texas City - The mayor of Colorado City took over Perry's extremist nonsense and said, in effect, grab my beer. Leading to Facebook, Tim Boyd told his constituents, many of whom were without light or heat, "You are a ** and take care of your own family!" (He later resigned, and apologized if his language offended anyone).

Really? Folks are supposed to go out and - what, right? - Generate their own electricity?

Keep in mind that these statements are coming from adults: a former governor and a cabinet member. They seem to be even more responsive to the most testosterone-addicted teen in the Boys State.

So, yeah, maybe some Texas took this whole macho, a little bit away from that single thing. But on the other hand, at the same time in the same place, we saw countless examples of people coming together.

When the snow and ice struck, Gustin's Doug ordered condoms and Nina Richardson for groceries. Delivery driver Chelsea Timmons, stopped by his driveway and crashed into his flowerbed. They took him inside, warmed him up, and when they realized they couldn't get his car out, they shared their home and their food with him during the epidemic, for five days.


Giving food and shelter to an unbearable stranger is part of true Texas culture as a rigid individualism. As an actor, Matthew McConaughey told his fellow Texans, "Now is a great time to check on your neighbors safe. Knock on the door, go, go, volunteer. If you have,' please help 'don't have;' In your neighborhood, around the street, there's a bunch of 'em, where you can get this done. It's necessary. Please do it. "

McConaughey would be welcome in the State Group of States, which vowed to take general action for the common good; Celebrate that unity. This tension - individualism versus communism - is at the heart of the American experience. It’s probably even more dramatic in Texas, as the film makes clear.

It’s stress, I believe, healthy. Or rather, it could be. The drive has a real power to pull itself up by bootstraps. And at the same time, make sure the drive has the power to make sure everyone has the boots to move on. If we go too far in one way or another, we will lose our balance.

As both the documentary and the power crisis show, Texas is out of balance.

Hillel was not a Texan. He was a Jewish scholar in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod. But his most famous questions are counted in the 22nd century: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?" Boys state teenagers wrestle with those questions. The current leaders of Texas did them wrong, while life and fortune were lost.