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Other Voices: What Texas editors are saying

Our racist president

Houston Chronicle

Even for someone with the track record of Donald Trump, who began his 2016 election campaign by generalizing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and has referred to African nations as “shithole countries,” his string of Twitter posts over the weekend targeting four American congresswomen was vile.

Let’s not mince words. They were the racist rantings of a bigot — not an American patriot who truly believes in the Constitution he swore to defend as president.

That sacred document upon which this country was founded guarantees Americans’ rights to free speech, including criticism of the government. It respects the rights of immigrants and citizens alike — and doesn’t meet their expressions of dissent with suggestions of exile. It does not regard anyone born on U.S. soil as somehow second class merely because they count their American lineage by decades rather than centuries.

Trump’s comments violate basic tenets of our inclusive, democratic society. ...

The duly elected officials he targeted are all U.S. citizens and all women of color. Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx. Ilhan Omar, born in Somalia, came to the U.S. as a 10-year-old refugee.

The fourth, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, is a black American with no recent immigrants in her family. If she goes back to where she came from, she’s going to Ohio.

Bigots and xenophobes have long wielded the same foul language to degrade and oppress people of color, no matter their roots. It has been spit at black Americans who have been told to go back to Africa and at immigrants who dare to speak another language in public.

Trump’s slurs against Americans he perceives as foreign or “other” are rarely aimed at white people. Apparently, some Americans are more equal than others to the 45th president who, it should be noted, is the son of a Scottish-born mother, grandson of a man who came from Germany as an unaccompanied minor and has twice been married to immigrants. ...

Chances for success

The Dallas Morning News

It’s true that not every kid has to go to college to be successful in this society. We also know that a college degree vastly improves the chances of bettering lives, but thousands of students simply can’t afford to go without racking up crippling debt.

So when the flagship campus of the University of Texas at Austin joined other universities in extending free tuition to middle-income families over the past week, there was cause for celebration. We saw it as an important further acknowledgement that the soaring cost of college is a problem not just for the poor.

And if this state is going to keep its economic engine ignited, it must produce more well-educated workers. Studies show college graduates earn twice as much as workers with only a high school diploma. But in Dallas County, less than a third of public school graduates will complete college within six years.

Universities have to do more to help.

UT has promised to do its part. Starting in fall 2020, it will cover full tuition for any in-state (including transfers) undergraduate student whose family income totals $65,000 or less. The old marker had been $30,000.

Regents smartly voted to use $160 million from the state’s Permanent University Fund — a state endowment for UT and Texas A&M from oil and gas revenue — for the assistance program. A&M has provided free tuition to students from families with income of $60,000 or less since 2011.

At UT, it means the number of students getting free tuition will double. The university estimates 8,600 students — about a quarter of its undergraduate students — will get a break on an average of $10,314 a year in tuition and fees.

We like that the allocation will create an endowment in which the money is invested and interest and earnings are used to fund the tuition costs in perpetuity. ...

It’s important, though, to point out that this isn’t a totally free ride. It doesn’t cover housing and other living costs, which average about $17,000 a year for the 80% of the student body that lives off campus. ...

Today's Bible verse

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Romans 1:17

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