Tim Boyd, major of Colorado City, Texas, posted a statement on Facebook telling his frozen citizens that lack electricity to “sink or swim, it’s your choice.” Then he resigned. Apparently bullying suffering people is not the right approach for government officials.
As you’re no doubt aware, Texas is in crisis. It’s suffering through snow and near-zero temperatures that are unusual for that part of the country. Interruptions in the natural gas supply, both for power plants and for home use, along with the failure of a few wind turbines, has led to electrical outages and freezing citizens — and even some boil-water orders. Texas’ deregulated energy industry is not interconnected with the rest of the country, so it has few options. President Biden approved the governor’s emergency declaration for the state.
Tim Boyd’s message isn’t helping
Despite snarky comments from hearty Midwesterners and New Englanders, Texas residents deserve sympathy. This is an unusual weather event that the utilities, officials, and citizens were not prepared for, and as I write this, the weather and outages have led to 23 deaths.
The job of government in a crisis like this is to get help to people, provide clear instructions, and maintain shelters for those whose homes are no longer habitable.
Here’s mayor Tim Boyd’s statement on Facebook, with my commentary. Consider how you’d feel if this were your mayor.
Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute.
No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local governments responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out! If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal with out and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family. If you were sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising! Only the strong will survive and the week will perish.
Is it really true that local governments and electrical suppliers don’t owe you anything? Shouldn’t they pave the roads, put out fires, deliver the electricity you paid for, and provide leadership and advice in a crisis?
“Come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe” and “think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family” do not qualify as useful suggestions to people who are freezing with no clean water. Surely anyone in this situation is doing everything they can to save their families, rather than sitting in the dark doing nothing.
A few tips for leaders. Don’t use multiple exclamation points. Proofread your messages (“governments responsibility,” “your lazy,” “week will parish.”) Don’t call people lazy or insult their upbringing. Don’t talk about yourself (“I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out!”). You work for the citizens and taxpayers, not the other way around.
Folks, God Has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts. Am I sorry that you have been dealing without electricity and water; yes! But I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves! We have lost sight of those in need and those that take advantage of the system and mesh them into one group!! Bottom line, quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!
Bottom line – DON’T BE A PART OF A PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!
If you are capable of working in normal times and choose not to, perhaps you deserve criticism. But government has a job to do. It is not socialist for government to be the backstop in an emergency — and this is an emergency. (I don’t see Governor Abbott or Senator Ted Cruz complaining about socialism in accepting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.)
As for “We have lost sight of those in need and those that take advantage of the system and mesh them into one group!!”, this is strange time to complain about that, when everyone is freezing and many have no power. Are those without electricity “taking advantage of the system,” or is it the reverse?
There is, potentially, a message to be shared about taking care of yourself and helping your neighbors in need. But screaming about laziness in a deadly weather event doesn’t tend to motivate people.
Stupidity has consequences
Mr. Boyd quit as mayor and suffered withering criticism for his statement, and for good reason. So he tried to walk things back without walking anything back. Here’s his second post.
All, I have set back and watched all this escalating and have tried to keep my mouth shut! I won’t deny for one minute what I said in my post this morning. Believe me when I say that many of the things I said were taken out of context and some of which were said without putting much thought in to it. I would never want to hurt the elderly or anyone that is in true need of help to be left to fend for themselves. I was only making the statement that those folks that are too lazy to get up and fend for themselves but are capable should not be dealt a handout. I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used! I had already turned in my resignation and had not signed up to run for mayor again on the deadline that was February 12th! I spoke some of this out of the anger that the city and county was catching for situations which were out of their control. Please understand if I had it to do over again I would have just kept my words to myself and if I did say them I would have used better wording and been more descriptive.
This is poor. You don’t start by saying “I won’t deny for one minute what I said in my post this morning” when your original post was hateful and abusive. “I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used!” is not much of an apology, as it is not specific enough and does not recognize who was harmed. “I should have shut up or spoken better” is true, but doesn’t make up for what he said.
As for being out context, the full text is right there in the post. The context is, you are a leader in a community in an emergency and you are choosing to insult your constituents rather than helping. That context doesn’t make what you said any better.
Boyd continues with:
The anger and harassment you have caused my wife and family is so undeserved….my wife was laid off of her job based off the association people gave to her and the business she worked for. She’s a very good person and was only defending me! But her to have to get fired from her job over things I said out of context is so horrible. I admit, there are things that are said all the time that I don’t agree with; but I would never harass you or your family to the point that they would lose there livelihood such as a form of income.
It’s good to know, now that Mayor Boyd has suffered some consequences for his actions, that he he would never harass people to the point of losing income. (Based on his previous post, he is fine with harassing people in general.)
I ask that you each understand I never meant to speak for the city of Colorado City or Mitchell county! I was speaking as a citizen as I am NOT THE MAYOR anymore. I apologize for the wording and ask that you please not harass myself or my family anymore!
Threatening our lives with comments and messages is a horrible thing to have to wonder about. I won’t share any of those messages from those names as I feel they know who they are and hope after they see this they will retract the hateful things they have said!
Dude, if you’re the mayor, you speak for the government. Are you seriously asking us to believe when you said “the city owes you nothing” that you were not speaking as the mayor?
If you find it upsetting when people insult you and want them to retract the hateful things they have said, perhaps you could start by retracting the specific hateful things you have said. You started this.
Here’s a tip. If you’re dealing with suffering people, show compassion and put politics aside. If you’re in a position of authority, and you consider writing something that’s full of insults and exclamation points, don’t post it.
I’m puzzled. Whose example could former mayor Boyd possibly be following with behavior like this? Got any ideas?