Colorado City, TX Mayor Resigns, Faces Backlash for Facebook Rant
The mayor of a small North Texas town who resigned Tuesday has made national headlines after posting a controversial rant to Facebook.
The first concerning Facebook post, now deleted, began, "Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute!!", after which Boyd wrote that Texans are now in a "sink or swim situation" in which "only the strong will survive and the weak will parish (sic)", and that he's "sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout".
"This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW will work and others will become dependent on handouts," Boyd wrote. "Am I sorry that you have been dealing with electricity and water; yes! But I'll be damned if I'm going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves!"
Boyd implied that able-bodied people complaining of no water or electric service was a sign of people having lost sight of those in need, meshing them into one group with those seeking to somehow take advantage of the system.
"Bottom line," he concluded, "DONT (sick) A PART OF THE PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!!".
Boyd later posted a follow-up statement in which he wrote that many of the things he posted were "taken out of context", and that some were "said without putting much thought into it".
"I would never want to hurt the elderly or anyone else that is in true need of help to be left to fend for themselves," Boyd wrote. "I was 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." (It's unclear what he meant by "handout", considering he was addressing complaints about utility services people pay for.)
"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," Boyd wrote.
I have some thoughts.
I wonder if Mr. Boyd agrees with the idea that electrical providers in Texas could not possibly have prepared for a winter storm of this magnitude, and if it ever occurred to him that this could apply to people in his community as well.
I also wonder if he realizes that many people care for young children and vulnerable or elderly family members who, without electricity, are holed up in freezing homes and unable to operate medical equipment like home oxygen concentrators, etc.
I hardly think cold, concerned citizens asking questions in a time of crisis are "looking for handouts", especially when they pay for the services that have been disrupted.
"If you have no water you deal with out and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family," Boyd wrote. "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 (sic) lazy is direct result of your raising!"
Mr. (ex)Mayor, thinking outside the box is precisely what many across Texas are doing right now.
"The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!", he wrote. Again, he was addressing people who pay for those services and have legitimate concerns.
Perhaps they shouldn't be calling your office with those concerns, but as an elected official they do look to you as a source of information so you might have considered doing a better job of informing the public as many local governments have done via social media, for example. Instead you used the platform to go off halfcocked. (It's unclear if Boyd resigned before or after the initial Facebook rant.)
As a mayor, you have a duty to conduct yourself professionally and put yourself in the shoes of your citizens, even when their frustrations and concerns are directed at you. You also have a duty to acknowledge and empathize with those concerns and realize that not everyone has access to the resources you do. That's what you sign up for when you're elected.
If Mr. Boyd cannot conduct himself like a mayor, perhaps it's a good thing he is no longer in that position.
By the way, thank you to the utility workers out there braving this weather and doing what you can to restore service as soon as possible. Working under these conditions must be trying and tiring, and we appreciate you.
TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages