Letters to the editor: Aug. 1, 2018


Re: June 28 article, “City report on Confederate monuments raises idea of renaming Austin.

A suggestion in a report by the city of Austin’s Equity Office to rename Austin makes no sense.

Stephen F. Austin, the city’s namesake, was a man of his time. Slavery was common when Austin colonized Texas, and he realized that attracting white settlers from the south to Texas would be difficult unless they could have slaves. That, of course, did not make slavery right. However, this all happened almost 200 years ago.

Fast forward to today. It has become the “in” thing to remove statues honoring Confederate leaders and to rename streets named in their honor. But renaming an entire city to obliterate history is something else.

George Washington, who became known as the “Father of His Country,” owned slaves. By George, maybe we should rename the nation’s capital!

MARY ALICE SALMON, ROUND ROCK

Forgiveness instead of renaming Austin is the path forward to reconciliation for the slavery issue and for any grievances.

Renaming places and relocating statues is easier than forgiveness, but it is also the first step on the slippery slope of retribution against each other. Once we’re done renaming and removing things, we’ll start to take vengeance against each other when values collide. However, forgiveness is a powerful virtue that allows wounds to heal, encourages enemies to collaborate and illuminates that path forward from conflict.

Yes, slavery is wrong, and we condemn it today in all its forms. But, to continue down a path of retribution ignores the options for healing and forgiveness. It denies that people can be in harmony when their values do not always match. And favoring retribution over forgiveness empowers those who seek vengeance for their own reasons, on their own terms and by their own definition.

RYAN GRAVATT, AUSTIN

Re: June 28 article, “City report on Confederate monuments raises idea of renaming Austin.

The city of Austin’s Equity Office suggested renaming the city. There are simple solutions.

With much pomp and ceremony, dedicate the city to someone else named Austin. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would be delighted.

Meanwhile, the Austin Commission for Women called for the city to address gender and racial disparities. The city could be renamed for someone so universally beloved and accepted that no one could possibly take offense. This means, of course, naming the city Oprah. She would be delighted.

LARRY CHASTEEN, AUSTIN

Here are some rock-solid ideas that will guarantee crushing defeats for Democrats in future elections:

• Continue to waste energy and ink on repeating how awful our president and his supporters are.

• Base your whole strategy on emotions and identity politics — and don’t tell the American public your vision for leading us to a better future.

• Refuse to acknowledge that red America has legitimate grievances and aren’t all knuckle-draggers. They couldn’t possibly have anything in common with “enlightened” types.

• Downplay the importance of having voter turnout initiatives that leverage early voting periods.

• Stay at home and don’t vote — and don’t volunteer to make the possible happen.

• Keep the old guard in place — and hold out false hope that the far left is the key to winning important elections.

JOHN ROMANO, AUSTIN

Re: July 28 letter to the editor, “Seniors eligible to defer their property taxes.”

I must disagree with the letter writer that accuses the county of not publicizing the property tax deferment for seniors.

I am an 82-year-old -Travis County taxpayer. I can assure you that every property tax bill contains a complete explanation of the deferment program. You do have to read it to get the information.

Seniors will also learn that deferment does not stop interest from accruing, so be careful that you do not wipe out the equity in your home.

ED JONES, THE HILLS

Re: July 21 commentary, “Find the humanity of feeding others in our community.”

More spin by Trump about how great Trump is — never the sad, irreversible consequences of the rich getting richer. Nothing about the environmental protection rollbacks; the degradation of our air and water quality, oceans, national monuments and forests; nor dropping the regulations leave businesses free to break all the rules of decency in the pursuit of money.

As T. Carlos “Tim” Anderson so eloquently wrote, as our country increasingly values “fiscal policy, as opposed to social policy … to create wealth. Our society has experienced increased inequality, and the existence and need for food pantries has sky-rocketed. As our commitment to publicly supported social safety nets has diminished, our childhood poverty rate — currently 21 percent — ranks, dismally, toward the bottom of the list of the 35 developed nations in the world.”

Greed and the abuse of power devastates cultures and societies. Wake up, America!

PAMELA MONDAY, AUSTIN



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