If there’s one thing people freezing inside their own homes didn’t need, it was an elected official hopping on social media, preaching about only the strong surviving, and lecturing us on government overreach.
We aren’t surprised at the backlash former Colorado City Mayor Tim Boyd is getting from the same social media universe where he felt compelled to use a genuine crisis of public health and welfare to crow about excessive reliance on government. Social media is a mob ever in search of a target, and Boyd’s lack of empathy made him an easy one.
The mob will soon move on. But there’s something here that’s worth digging into beyond the unraveling of a minor political career.
There’s an entrenched cliché in our politics about rugged individualism versus the nanny state that distorts how government should function for us.
There are areas where government is not only necessary but crucial. Ensuring public welfare, safety and order during a crisis is right there at the top.
The good news is that Boyd is an outlier. All around us we see government officials — not to mention nonprofits with armies of volunteers and just plain old neighbors — who are doing everything they can to help people in need endure the worst of the weather.
Dallas council member Paula Blackmon was among those last week. She gathered up dozens of care packs that normally would be distributed to the homeless and personally took them to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where hundreds of people were trying to escape dangerously cold temperatures. She made sure people who were cold got warm and those who were hungry got fed. One young woman showed up outside the convention center in flip-flops, waiting in subfreezing temperatures to get inside. Blackmon went inside and got her a pair of socks. She didn’t make any social media pronouncements about it. She just did it.
We saw the same from McKinney Mayor George Fuller, out delivering supplies to households without power, going door to door to help ease a hard time for the people he serves.
That’s as it should be. We live in community together. When our neighbors’ power is out, we open our doors and invite them in. Or we keep our thermostats low to conserve the power we have so that others might have some at all. It’s about being a community. We look out for each other.
None of us wants to live in a world where only the strong survive. We want to live in a world where the strong help those who aren’t as strong, who aren’t as fortunate, and who need us. Tomorrow, who knows, we might need them.
In a crisis we need everyone — government, church, nonprofit and neighbor — to help see us all through.
It’s never perfect, and things were far from perfect last week. But if we look closely, we can see we aren’t alone, and we wouldn’t want to be.
Dallas Morning News