The Adler Letter (with apologies to Col. William B. Travis)
The Mayoralty of Austin
Travis, Jun. 7. 2017
To the People of the United States of America & All Good People in the World –
Fellow Citizens & compatriots —
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the bills and laws of the State under Governor Abbott – Austin has sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for five months. The State has demanded a surrender, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the City is taken – I have answered the demand with a taco joke & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — because now people think it’s a good idea to protest SB4 by asking SXSW to leave Austin, which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
To be sure, the City of Austin stands opposed to SB4. Last week we filed a lawsuit to prevent what we consider an unjust and unconstitutional law from going into effect, and we on the City Council do this, I should point out, at some peril. Those who call for SXSW to leave Austin are correct to focus on the ways this law could be used to discriminate against our Hispanic residents and visitors. What they do not note is that the law allows for the removal from office those local officials who endorse a different policy, which I am absolutely doing. I applaud every voice that rises in opposition to this ill-conceived law and do so with full awareness of the possible consequences.
And while I join these voices in opposition to the Governor’s anti-immigration law, I must strongly oppose the proposed any means of protest that punishes Austin for the sins of the legislature. Simply put, it makes no sense and is counter-productive. Would you protest censorship under the Soviet Union by boycotting the books of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? Would you protest the Berlin Wall by boycotting the Berlin Air Lift? Nothing will play into the hands of those whom we oppose more than boycotting Austin, the city they call the People’s Republic of Austin and that we call home.
There are few greater expressions of Austin’s spirit and soul than SXSW which has become the world’s fair of the future. Every year, musicians, filmmakers, innovators, and storytellers migrate to Austin to share their creations and learn from each other in a perfect demonstration of who we are. In Austin, we welcome refugees, immigrants, people of all persuasions, religions, ethnicities, and orientations – even Senators from New Jersey and Nevada. There is no greater way to protest what is happening in Texas than to be yourself in Austin. Do not call on SXSW to leave Austin. Come, find any excuse to visit Austin, and revel in the daily protest of this legislative oppression that some call weird… Actually, we call it weird, too, but we like it that way.
If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a mayor who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his City – Victory or Death.