Let the market, not government, figure this out
Hey President Biden, where’s the carbon tax? | Editorial, April 6
A carbon tax on emissions is so fair, sensible and consensual that it raises this obvious question: Why did the Biden administration omit it from its colossal plans? The answer is unfortunately simple. They think they can pick the best remedy. We are trapped between climate change deniers and solution deniers. The level playing field created by a carbon tax would free us from the present myopia, which has unduly and prematurely limited our solution set. The best remedies may still be in the back of someone’s mind. Certainly, our short list of solar and wind needs expansion. Some alternatives hardly get mentioned, others are pariahs, both presumably lacking for lobbyists. The last time government showed similar presumption, it backed the wrong horse(-less carriage). More than a century ago, in 1900, electric vehicles represented 38 percent of the market. Uncle Sam favored via the internal combustion engine with tax breaks, subsidies and regulation. Today, EVs are 2 percent.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Seems like Trump did okay
Donald Trump’s legacy
Many of your letter writers mention the mess that former President Donald Trump left us with. What mess? Low unemployment, energy independence, a secure southern border, U.S. manufacturing, a firm stand with China and more?
Truman Cox, Ozona
What ‘critical race theory’ is
DeSantis uses public schools to play to base | Column, April 4
“There is no room in classrooms for things like critical race theory,” says Gov. Ron DeSantis. This statement could not be further from the truth. Critical theory helps us understand the stories of Americans in new ways. Race is central to who we are, and if we insist in giving our students a sanitized version of our past, we will never achieve that more perfect union that comes from standing in those dark moments of history and learning from them.
Race is not ancillary to the American narrative, nor does learning about our evil deeds make us hate each other. If taught by an informed instructor, it teaches us how to become a civilized whole rather than a group of tribalized parts. Learning about race is at the heart of our survival and allows us a path forward as we consider the different narratives that make us who we are.
As an English professor at Hillsborough Community College, I have found that my students hunger for our history, often asking why they did not learn any of this in high school. I cannot conceive of teaching some of our Florida writers such as Zora Neale Hurston or James Weldon Johnson without drawing attention to those dark moments of our history. Maybe Gov. DeSantis intends on leaving out those voices that demand we grapple with our complicated history, or maybe his intention is to remain on the surface of those American stories. But what the governor does not realize is that respectable teachers cannot evade our historical pain nor distance ourselves from our truths.
We must teach our students who we are as Americans, and that means that they must learn there is no single American narrative. They must learn that the narrative of America is a complex one, filled with contradictions and ambiguities, with violence and love, with conspiracies and truths.
Suzanne Lynch, Lithia
Why I love vaccines
A ‘Double Shot’ of vaccine love is playing in his head | April 4
I’m a contemporary of Roy Peter Clark, which makes his occasional contributions to the Tampa Bay Times a must read. We share experiences and remembrances, and his psyching out over his and his wife’s second COVID-19 shot is a shared experience. My wife and I felt the same sense of joyful relief! Also shared, but more dated, is his remembrance of the Salk polio vaccine when he was in elementary school. I don’t remember getting the shot, but I have a clear memory of the audible sigh of relief coming from my parents. I was just a kid and not too crazy about getting a shot, but I knew it meant a lot to my folks, which gave me the bravery to stoically stand my turn. Mr. Clark’s last paragraph is the reason for this letter. It’s headed “Why we love vaccines,” which serves as a reminder of how lucky we are to have these miracles of medical technology. History tells us of numerous diseases and viruses that handicapped and sometimes decimated populations. Just over my lifetime, numerous wonder drugs and vaccines have made our lives safer, more productive, and much happier not having to spend extended periods in a sick bed. Throughout history, people have been praying for miracles of one form or another. Vaccines are the answer to our prayers.
Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport
Please don’t ‘make it better’
Republicans should be standing for this freedom | Column, April 6
It appears as though the unofficial motto of the Florida Legislature this session is, “If it ain’t broke, let’s break it!” How else to explain why lawmakers want to take voting by mail — which is one of the few government systems that most Floridians actually like — and “make it better” by making it harder to use, less efficient and more expensive?
And make no mistake: That’s exactly what Senate Bill 90 and House Bill 7041 will do if they become law. You don’t have to take my word for it. Nearly every supervisor of elections in Florida — Republicans and Democrats alike — united in their opposition to these bills. If the people who know our elections systems best say this legislation will make it harder for us to vote, I’m inclined to believe them.
We’ve come a long way since 2000, when our hanging chads made us a national laughingstock. Don’t let state lawmakers undo the progress our elections officials have made toward building a voting system we can be proud of.
Caitlin Constantine, Largo