Opinion | Ron DeSantis’s Entry Into the Republican Race

Assessing Ron DeSantis’s candidacy. Also: Not debating Donald Trump; trans people; regulating A.I.; finances during divorce; musing about “the best.”
Opinion | Ron DeSantis’s Entry Into the Republican Race

Bonus question: D.E.I. is what wokeness is all about. What is so bad about wokeness? Whom does it harm? Where is the angry mob? Why should “woke” go to Florida to die?

I put these questions to the governor.

Michael P. Bacon
Westbrook, Maine

To the Editor:

While Twitter may have its share of weaknesses, Gov. Ron DeSantis has skillfully demonstrated his leadership qualities and strengths. Choosing facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder — Mr. DeSantis’s record speaks for itself.

Because of his common sense and guidance, Florida is growing now more than ever as people are migrating and planting new roots in the Sunshine State. With Florida as the model, we need look no further than Ron DeSantis as our nation’s future.

JoAnn Lee Frank
Clearwater, Fla.

To the Editor:

It is not too early to mention presidential debates. The Times should make an unprecedented recommendation that the sitting president not debate former President Donald Trump during the 2024 campaign.

One simply cannot debate an inveterate, incessant liar. I mean that in the most literal sense: Lying is not debating, and it takes two to engage in debate. It cannot be done.

Witness the recent CNN debacle, where, even when checked assiduously by the moderator, Mr. Trump repeated nothing but lies. Everyone who could have conceivably been convinced that the former president ignores the truth completely was already convinced. All others will never be convinced.

Therefore, there is no upside whatsoever to sharing the stage with such a mendacious bloviator. In fact, it may serve only as an opportunity for the former president to call for another round of “stand back and stand by.” Should President Biden give him that opportunity?

David Neuschulz
Chatham, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “G.O.P. Focuses on Rare Stories of Trans Regret” (front page, May 17):

While the article rightly notes that the campaign to ban gender transition in minors is led by Republicans, it falls into the trap of viewing youth gender medicine and detransition as a right-versus-left issue. Many people who support equality for trans and detrans people insist that a public health lens is crucial.

The article doesn’t mention the growing transnational archive of people who detransition, commonly with feelings of regret for having transitioned. If you look at countries with national universal health care systems like Sweden, youth gender care has recently evolved following state-funded reviews of transgender treatment. By contrast, in the U.S., our highly privatized and compartmentalized managed care system contributes to the politicization of this issue to the detriment of all.

Perhaps this is why the article seems to downplay the trauma that saturates detransitioners’ testimonies. To mourn the loss of one’s breasts or ability to reproduce is no small matter.

Journalists should stop equating detransition with an attack on transgender people. Instead, they should see young people testifying to medical harm as a call for accountability and strive to understand the full range of their experiences without fueling the dangerous right-left divide.

Daniela Valdes
New Brunswick, N.J.
The writer is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University who researches detransition.

To the Editor:

Re “The Most Important Man in Tech (Right Now)” (Business, May 17):

Warnings about the enormous dangers of artificial intelligence are warranted, but mere calls for “regulations” are empty. The question is not whether regulatory regimes are needed, but how to control the uses to which A.I. can be put.

Anything human or nonhuman that is capable of creative thought is also capable of creating mechanisms for self-preservation, for survival. The quest for a “precision regulation approach to A.I.” is likely to prove elusive.

Norman Cousins, Carl Sagan, Alvin Toffler and many others have presciently warned that technological advances provided both a cure to some of humanity’s afflictions and a curse, potentially threatening human existence.

One doomsday scenario would be for tech scientists to ask A.I. itself for methods to control its use and abuse, only to receive a chilling reply: “Nice try!”

Charles Kegley
Columbia, S.C.
The writer is emeritus professor of international relations at the University of South Carolina.

To the Editor:

Re “Rebuilding Finances After Divorce” (Business, May 18):

Your article is correct in advising spouses that they may “land in financial hot water” unless they seek expert advice concerning splitting retirement assets at divorce. But getting good advice, while a necessity, is not enough.

Even if a spouse is awarded a share of a 401(k) or pension benefit as part of a divorce decree, that alone is not enough. Under the federal private pension law ERISA, spouses must obtain a special court order called a qualified domestic relations order (better known as a Q.D.R.O.) to get their rightful share of private retirement benefits.

This should be done earlier, not later. Getting a Q.D.R.O. after a divorce is much harder — and sometimes impossible — to get.

So, to protect themselves at divorce, the word “Q.D.R.O.” should be part of every woman’s vocabulary.

Karen Friedman
The writer is the executive director of the Pension Rights Center.

To the Editor:

Re “Our Endless, Absurd Quest to Get the Very Best,” by Rachel Connolly (Opinion guest essay, May 21):

As far as I’m concerned, the best of anything is the one that meets my particular needs, not those of the reviewer, not those of the critic and not those of anybody else.

Likewise, what’s best for me is not necessarily best for you. I guess you could say that the “best” is not an absolute; it’s relative.

Jon Leonard
San Marcos, Texas

To the Editor:

While some may suffer from a relentless pursuit of perfection, some struggle with making choices, period. I’ve witnessed parents trying to get their toddlers to make choices about food, clothing, activities, etc. Hello, they’re 2!

I wonder how many suffer from what I call “compulsive comparison” chaos, when one goes shopping after purchasing an item to make sure they got the best deal, even if satisfied with their purchase. True madness.

Vicky T. Robinson
Woodbridge, Va.