I have an aunt who lives in Houston. And to be honest, it has been quite a while since I went down there to visit.
It’s not like she hasn’t invited me. I just have lots of excuses, including being a bad nephew.
I do remember that on my last trip there, it was more than 100 degrees outside, for several days in a row. Our biggest concern in those hot and sticky days was how long it would take to get from my air-conditioned rental car to her air-conditioned apartment.
It was 14 degrees in Houston the other day, followed by treacherous snowstorms that paralyzed the city, shutting down roads, freezing pipes and knocking out power.
Suffice it to say I’m not going to visit my aunt right now. But I figured the least I could do is give her a call and see how she’s making out.
“Oh, I had to get out of there,” she told me. “I’m in Las Vegas. I came here for Valentine’s Day, and I haven’t even thought about going back.”
I’m sure her neighbors are jealous. I’m sure they wish they could get away like her and leave the icy roads and frozen pipes behind.
But there’s something you should know about my father’s youngest sister, something that should give her jealous neighbors pause.
She is not a U.S. senator. She doesn’t represent the entire state of Texas. No one expects her to stick around in the middle of a statewide crisis that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
She is not Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz is a coward who runs away from a crisis and blames it on his daughters.
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” Cruz said after pictures of him on a plane bound for Cancun, Mexico, flooded the internet. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”
After the social media backlash, Senator Good Dad admitted the trip was a mistake. He also admitted he was really planning to stay until Saturday.
Cruz’s crazy Cancun caper was every bit as bad as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to soak in the summer sun on his private beach on one of the hottest days of the year in 2017 after he and the state Legislature closed public beaches over a silly budget dispute.
Okay. Cruz’s getaway was worse. There were actually lives at stake. That’s not to say that Cruz should be climbing utility poles and fixing power lines.
But would it hurt for him to go to a homeless shelter in Houston and pour some hot chocolate?
I asked my aunt what she thought about Cruz and his decision to abandon the state in the middle of a crisis.
A slot machine was singing in the background. Ice cubes were melting in her glass.
She said she wasn’t even thinking about Ted Cruz or how he was weathering the storm. She’ll worry about all that when she gets back.
Leonard Greene is a columnist and reporter for the New York Daily News.