Letters to the Editor for 1-12-2017

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

As a Los Fresnos resident pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Gas Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville/Rio Grande Valley Engineering Initiative, I’ve been following the proposed Rio Grande LNG project with great interest.

From what I’ve learned, it will be a tremendous economic boost for our region. I hope to work on the project when I graduate. Because the Rio Grande LNG project would be just a 30-minute commute from my hometown I could have my dream job and be near my family and friends.

I see many young people earn college degrees, then have to leave the Valley to advance their careers. If there were more opportunities in this area, we would not have to choose between our careers and being close to our families.

I also was glad to read that NextDecade, the company developing the project, has signed a memorandum of understanding with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. NextDecade and its partners, who are some of the most respected international companies in the business, will provide real-world learning opportunities to benefit students.

The United States has some of the most abundant reserves of natural gas, a clean-burning fuel. As global demand grows, we will need more Natural Gas Engineers to support the exploration, production, distribution, processing and transportation of natural gas.

I’m looking forward to graduating and working in this exciting, ever-growing field. Bravo NextDecade for committing to help train qualified engineers and hiring local talent as much as possible.

Eddie Duran
Los Fresnos


Dear Editor,

This month the worst President in my lifetime is going to take office and my lifetime goes back to Franklin Roosevelt.  All we need to do is look at the words that come out of his mouth, his tweets, the composition of his core supporters, and his Cabinet nominees. We can use as an example one of his earliest speeches concerning Mexican immigrants  that the majority of them were drug dealers, rapists, and criminals.  It is amazing that he got the level of Latino support that he did, which was very little. Any Latino supporters that he has are victims of internalized racism.  The same is true of any African American supporters he has; of course they are statistically insignificant here in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

We can look at neoliberals and their beliefs and tactics to see a great part of the reason for the rise of Trump. Neoliberals deserted their core base of working people and tried to appeal to the more enlightened elites. Neoliberals may be described as anyone who subscribes to the beliefs of the Democratic Leadership Council or the people that ran the Democratic National Committee in 2017. A huge number of people, me included, were alienated by them.  Hillary Clinton was a very weak and flawed candidate; but she was vastly superior to Trump.  She did get almost three million more popular votes than Trump. She only lost because of the Electoral College, an eighteenth century relic that was designed to give slaveholding states a disproportionate amount of power.  It needs to be abolished just as any number of other provisions in the Constitution that restricted political participation have been. The Constitution as originally adopted only gave the vote to White males and the state legislatures elected Senators.

The only reason that Trump won the old Northern industrial states was that the Democratic working class voters in those states were alienated by the neoliberal policies of the Democrats. Trump won the states of the old Confederacy because they have been taken over by white supremacists, social reactionaries, and religious fundamentalists; Texas included.  Trump ran his mouth about millions of illegal votes, but the only voter fraud that amounts to anything involves gerrymandering and making voting difficult.  The lower the voter turnout the more reactionaries benefit. Counting the number of eligible voters that did not vote at all; 75 percent of all eligible voters did not vote for Trump.

What we can learn from the two paragraphs above is that not all Trump supporters are White supremacists, social reactionaries, and neo-Nazis, which I call them rather than their preferred term alt-right. It is true that all White supremacists, social reactionaries, and neo-Nazis voted for Trump.  One can follow their quotes in news outlets to see the truth of this.  I can’t help those who don’t follow the news at all. We can also look at Trump’s potential cabinet choices. Steve Bannon is a neo-Nazi.  Betsy DeVos is a social reactionary, Jeff Sessions is a White supremacist and a racist. All of his potential appointees share some of these undesirable characteristics or they are members of the oligarchy and/or jingoistic imperialists.

We can fully expect to see the most corrupt presidency since the times of U.S. Grant and Warren Harding. We can expect to see the most repressive presidency since the time of the Palmer raids, the Japanese internment camps, and the era of Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee  were shameful periods in U.S. history and do not need to be repeated.  “Make America Great Again” coming out of Trump’s and his supporters mouths means roll back to a more reactionary era. The 1950s? The 1920s? the 1850s?  It will vary depending on which Trump supporter you talk to.

The fact that this disaster happened is not as important as what we need to do about it.  The worst possible proposal is that of the neoliberals which is to be a loyal opposition and vote again in four years.  There is a lot more to political participation than voting; we learned that in the 1960s. What we need to do is look back to our civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women’s right movement the anti-war movement, and even go back to the Abolitionist movement tactics.  Tear a page out of the Tea Party playbook and resist and obstruct everything Trump and his allies try to do. We are going to have to tear the U.S. social relations and power structures down to their component parts and put them back together again in a manner that takes power from the rich 1 percent or the oligarchy, the racists, the social reactionaries, imperialists, and religious fundamentalists and reassemble them again. We need to go back to valuing people for what they can do not for what they own or can consume. We are going to have to be very adaptive. A year ago, neoliberals were praising WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and raking the U.S. intelligence agencies over the coals. Trump and his allies, such as Sarah Palin, were calling for Assange’s death. Now Trump and his allies are denouncing and discounting U.S. intelligence findings.  Assange is appearing on Fox News. Palin has publicly apologized to Assange and is encouraging people to see Oliver Stone’s new film, “Snowden.” If there is anything to be learned from this reversal of positions of the neoliberals and neo-fascists, it is that one’s overall vision of how things should be is more important than tactics.  Anything that weakens U.S. imperialism has a good aspect to it. It is going to be a long hard fight but only when we defeat the oligarchy and all reactionaries and take power from them can we make America great.

Walter Birdwell
Laguna Vista

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