I experienced a 20 minute blackout yesterday afternoon, from 4:30 until 4:50 PM. The record-breaking heat caused problems with our grid. Houston is likely to live with blackouts throughout the summer. Privatization of electricity and gas has neither lowered costs nor improved service.
When Texans voted to privatize electricity and gas, the hype was “liberty to choose,” “Texans should be free to choose.” Much like the hype to invade Iraq, it makes no sense, but it rings. We in Texas are afraid to think. We prefer arrogant slogans that coddle our complacency. Blackouts may be just what we need to wake up. Let’s face what we fear.
Waking up will happen when, little by little, independent news sources broaden the ability for public discussion and thought. At this moment we have only a few independent media outlets and news reporters able to generate respectful public debate. But these few are wonderful, strong and they can grow. KPFT, Indymedia Houston, Free Speech TV.
Changing our corporate-controlled monopolistic media structure means thinking about unbridled capitalism, racism, gender and class. These are issues that frighten most Texans. I hope the blackouts frighten us more. And that we will move for change. If so, our independent and community media are the spaces to think freely and without easy slogans.