Good luck, Texas

Editor:

At the grocery (recently), the PA system let loose with a rendition of “God Bless Texas.” But while picking out produce, I couldn’t help thinking, “God, help the people of Texas.”

I don’t wish bad things on Texas citizens — we stayed in close contact with friends in Austin and San Antonio throughout the “No Power Week and No Water Week.” But Texans have a hard road ahead surviving their upside-down and backwards state government.

A few weeks back, Texan politicians were all excited about seceding from the union when their more reality-challenged citizens failed to take over the nation’s capital. Lately, not so much. On Feb. 18, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked for FEMA assistance for all 254 Texas counties.

But Texas pols still insist they’re rugged, go-it-alone individuals. Former Gov. Rick Perry claimed Texans would go without power much longer than three days to keep the federal government’s hands off their electrical grid. Uh, I doubt Gov. Perry actually asked the people freezing in their houses if they agreed.

Had they been connected to the national grids, federal regulation (the horror! The horror!) would have forced them to winterize their grid, thus protecting them from this stupid catastrophe.

Then, when disaster became impossible to ignore, Gov. Abbott blamed it on the wrong thing — windmills icing up. Well, windmills function just fine in Antarctica and Alaska because regulations require winterizing windmills. Besides, it was Texas’ natural gas lines going down that precipitated the crisis.

But hey, Texans are tough guys who can ride out anything right? Well, the whole world witnessed the sorry saga of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz running for Cancun when the going got tough. He protested there was nothing he could have done by staying home in the deep freeze. But guess who figured out something useful to do? Someone as far from being Texan as it’s possible to get — that smart-mouthed New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She raised $4.7 million for Texans suffering from the crisis, and she doesn’t even own a 10-gallon hat.

Laura F. Sanchez

Los Lunas

Freedom of speech

Editor:

March 2 was Read Across America Day, which coincided with the birthday of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

This year was marked by the announcement by Dr. Seuss Enterprises that six Dr. Seuss books would no longer be published due to content deemed “hurtful and wrong.” Perhaps you heard Dr. Seuss had been “canceled,” but before crying foul over an attempt to stifle Geisel or censor Seuss, consider how this decision is consistent with free speech.

Perhaps you have heard that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, or protects against censorship. What the First Amendment actually does is limit government action. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is not the government. No government told Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing these six books. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to change our speech or stop speaking at all. Dr. Seuss Enterprises exercised that freedom, and the First Amendment is no barrier to that choice.

Dr. Seuss wrote around 40 books. His most recognizable titles are not among the 15 percent or so that have been removed from publication. “The Cat In The Hat” will still roll off the press, we can still have “Green Eggs And Ham,” and the Grinch can continue stealing Christmas.

We may or may not like how Dr. Seuss Enterprises has exercised its freedom of speech, but that is not our choice to make. What we can choose is this: How will we use our freedom of speech?

Jonathan Gardner

Los Lunas

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