Yesterday, as I was driving by the Capitol on West 11th Street, I looked just inside of the wrought iron fence and what I saw brought me joy.
I saw an African-America family admiring and taking photos at the newly installed statue commemorating Juneteenth and the Texas African American History Memorial. It made me appreciate our diversity and the contributions of all Texans, especially in these difficult times.
It also reminded me of an extremely powerful sight that I saw during an anti-Klan rally years ago on the same grounds, when the Rev. Sterling Lands marched a group of young children up in front of the Klan members and they stood silently staring at them. A wonderful counterpoint to a hate-filled day. I am so proud to live and work in Austin!
PAUL BRICK, AUSTIN
I saw the chilling play “Building the Wall” depicting the possible consequences of the extension of the current immigration policies. The take away is that without resistance, this horrific condition could come to pass.
So, I resist by donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center and to opposition candidates, and by writing letters to the editor. What else can I do? I can encourage my friends and family to resist however they are able. It hasn’t even occurred to some.
From the playwright, Robert Schenkkan, “If you do not pay attention, the unimaginable can become the inevitable. Is that our future? Sickened by hate, by the constant numbing assault, will we succumb to our fears, normalize what is abnormal and simply look after our own interests? … Or will we resist. To those who insist this could never happen here, I reply, maybe so; but that, of course, will depend entirely on what you do.”
MARTHA ROGERS, AUSTIN
Re: Sept. 1 article, “‘Building the Wall’ a riveting warning about political extremes in age of Trump.”
In this critique of the play, the question of how we became such a divided nation is answered. It is called “a riveting warning about political extremes in age of Trump,” which is the first indication of a political slant. However, the entire age of the 21st century was not accused of extremes, just the few months of a President Trump in office.
We are told the point of the play is to show “the greatest horrors perpetrated by mankind were aided, abetted and carried out by average, ordinary citizens who viewed themselves as patriots.” It is made clear who are those misguided “patriots” set to perpetrate the great horrors in the final sentence of the review, which reads, “what we should fear, the playwright warns, is not Trump, but the average Americans willing to follow him.”
This virulent attack upon half the populous is a clear exhibition of how to divide a nation.
LARRY VOLKENING, HOUSTON
The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is heartbreaking and terrifying. My heart goes out to our fellow Texans who have lost so much in this terrible storm. I ask our elected officials to please support them in every way possible.
One thing I want to ask these leaders to do is stop ignoring the role of climate change. Especially in the wake of this tragedy, our leaders must recognize that warmer ocean waters fed this horrendous storm because warmer air can hold more moisture, and that extra moisture resulted in unprecedented and catastrophic rain.
Climate change may not have birthed this storm, but it nurtured it and made it worse. We have technical solutions that produce low-carbon energy and economic solutions such as a carbon fee and dividend to fight climate change. But first, we need our leaders to accept the obvious: that climate change was a culprit.
JULI BERWALD, AUSTIN
With Hurricane Harvey gone, it was only a matter of time before climate change disciples would appear in the opinion pages of the Statesman. After emphasizing the “unprecedented” nature of the flooding, the writers pivot to pushing their agenda — a carbon tax.
They link carbon reduction to the promise of lessening events like Harvey. It is the height of vanity to think that humans can control the weather. They imply that Americans essentially sacrifice our coastal residents because we don’t lobby our representatives to impose an economic drag like carbon taxes.
If they were honest, they would highlight that “500-year” events are planning terms for areas that have high chances of flooding. Cities allowing construction in areas that are known to flood are more to blame than factories and rescue workers using gasoline. Texans have witnessed how the gas engine has done more to save lives than windmills.
GEORGE MARTINEZ, AUSTIN