Parallel realities exist in Rockport, devastated by Hurricane Harvey. This beautiful community will never be the same. Besides the physical destruction, finding housing is difficult — especially for those whose jobs disappeared when businesses closed.
The alternate reality reflects progress. Schools re-opened, although many in portables. About a third of the businesses re-opened. Generous donations funded many repairs. Some “Winter Texans” arrived — an important source of income — and some brought extra tools to help residents rebuild.
How can we help? Sympathize with those living with this. Progress can be three steps forward and two back; residents live with the reality that all their work could disappear in another storm. Remind government and nonprofits that the work is not done; continued funding is needed. Finally, visit the Texas coast in 2018; tourist dollars will help recovery. While much was lost, much of what makes these communities captivating remains.
HEATHER BECKER, AUSTIN
The presidency of the United States has, from the infancy of our country, been a dignified and highly respected position — until Donald Trump came along to show that a truly disgusting individual can hold that office.
He probably would not have been elected without help from our dear friends, the Russians, but there are people that support Trump no matter how bad he becomes. These people would do well under a dictator, which is Trump’s ambition if he could just discredit our legitimate news media. It is actually laughable to see Trump on Fox News calling ABC, NBC, and CBS “fake news.”
I wonder if some people don’t realize, or just will not admit, that Trump lies constantly. He is like many on the far right: Truth, to them, is whatever you want it to be. It is interesting to see so-called religious leaders like Franklin Graham making excuses for Trump.
ALLAN WILLIAMS, GEORGETOWN
I am upset with the Senate and the House for not representing Americans over this looming investigation.
I call Sen. John Cornyn’s office and talk to his staff when he has backed us — and I have thanked him. In the same breath, I want to let him know when I think things are going badly.
I trust the processes that the forefathers of our country set up will prevail. But it may take Congress to get that done where the Russia/Trump investigation is concerned.
I do not believe for one minute that Trump will be honest and let the process prevail. I want assurances — as many, many Americans do.
Congress should pass a bill to ensure nobody gets in the way of this investigation. We need answers and closure. Our country needs to heal. Our country is hurting and families have been torn apart over a damn president.
JAMIE MOORE, DRIFTWOOD
Today, I donated blood in memory of my sister. She was the beneficiary of many units — at least 20 — of A positive blood during her 11-month treatment for cancer.
When I was with her for several of these transfusions, I was amazed and grateful to watch a stranger’s selfless gift bring back her strength, color and energy, so she could continue life and treatments. Each time, her response was a sigh as she murmured, “Thank you to another Texas angel.”
Now, it’s my turn to donate so someone else’s loved one can benefit. It’s also my turn to say, “Thank you, Austin blood donors.” I wish she was here to say this herself.
PAM METZLER, ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
Re: Jan. 29 article, “New PTSD study shows recovery for Fort Hood soldiers in just two weeks.”
Thank you, Jeremy Schwartz, for your reports on military and veterans affairs. Bravo.
This story is troubling because the consortium only allows post-9/11 service members and veterans as volunteers. What about the rest of us?
With me, my only symptom is a severe startle response resulting from a rocket explosion in Vietnam. My only injuries were a scratch and a piece of shrapnel.
After almost 48 years, I still react with spasms even though in 2012 West Nile virus took away hearing in right ear and 30 percent of hearing in my left ear. So, when a tray of dishes is dropped in a restaurant, I have been known to shake for over 10 minutes.
Forget about me. My PTSD is minor to compared to others who should be allowed in this study — and it’s a shame they’re not!
CHUCK YARLING, AUSTIN
I fully understand the anti-abortion sentiments of the “pro-life” group. I would contend that nobody is “pro-abortion.” Even President Trump acknowledged during the campaign that Planned Parenthood does wonderful things for economically disadvantaged women — cancer screenings, contraception, general health care. Very few of their services are abortion-related — none with federal funds.
Yet, a spurious video taken by an extreme right-wing group is being used to justify defunding Planned Parenthood. No other organization comes close to being able to provide the services that Planned Parenthood offers. Why fight an organization that is doing so much good to help poor women in our state?
Ironically, the same people who are against abortion also vehemently oppose contraception and sex education. Such hypocrisy! I will agree that life begins at conception if we can all agree that life does not end at birth. All children deserve and need quality care and protection.
RAVI MENON, AUSTIN