Letter of the Week

Perpetual punishment

Regarding Chisun Lee's "Political Prisoners" [October 13–19]: I think that bringing unfairly discriminatory laws out for discussion is a great service, and I thank you and the writer for doing so with this article (and others). However, let's talk about the effect on "felons" of all races whose only transgression was to be in possession of an illegal drug. Preventing past or present users of "controlled substances" from voting quite effectively keeps us from overturning the very laws that so unfairly ruined so many of our lives. For instance, I myself spent three months in jail and lost my home simply because I had a few grams of hash and an ounce of pot. That was nearly 20 years ago, but federal prohibition laws continue to assure that I'll suffer for the remainder of my life even if I never break another law! How about doing a story on that kind of "discrimination"?

Randy Anderson
Greenbrier, Tennessee

Life as we know it

I just hopped on the Voice website and was appalled by Sutton's cartoon "The Culture of Life" [Sutton Impact, October 20–26].

There's a huge difference between executing criminals and murdering innocent babies conceived through the selfishness and irresponsibility of their parents. Your motto should be "Liberals: tough on fetuses, soft on murderers."

I am opposed to the death penalty as well as abortion. I think if you're going to be pro-life, it should extend to all life. While I can understand how some people believe that the death penalty is appropriate for violent, capital criminals, I cannot comprehend the thinking that somehow the killing of innocent unborn babies ought to be a protected "right," while the execution of violent criminals is condemned.

It's so twisted.

Diana Holinski
Henderson, Nevada

The know-it-all

Re Curtis White's "Faith Off" [VLS, October 13–19]:

I have an alternative reason for the popularity of The Da Vinci Code: It's a good read.

While it's true that there are a lot of people who were ignorant enough to be taken in by the blend of nearly seamless invention and history, that doesn't explain its popularity. Gnostic influence on Christianity in general, and on Roman-Greek Catholicism specifically, is old news.

Gnosticism is a blend of neo-Platonic ideas with Christianity, and some of those ideas were taken to an extreme by early Christians all around the Mediterranean. Asceticism, mortification of the flesh, etc. can be traced directly to Gnosticism.

There was nothing new in this book—it was a medley of actual theories and poetic license, and was quite enjoyable, though I for one didn't have much trouble discerning the difference.

I did learn one very interesting fact, however—vinegar actually does ruin papyrus very quickly.

James Wilson
Mesa, Arizona

Mixing it up, corporate style

Re Rick Perlstein's "The End of Democracy" [October 20–26]:

Excellent article. The only thing Perlstein left out of the mix is the corporatocracy that provides the funds for the destruction of democracy.

Carolyn Kay
Chicago, Illinois

Anything but hypothetical

I read "The End of Democracy" with great interest. Surely Perlstein realizes that the scenario offered by "Deep Faith" in the concluding paragraphs is anything but hypothetical: Bush & Co. were "able to have a coup" (the 2000 election); something really bad did happen; and, most perniciously, the Bush cartel will be in charge permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future . . . in all likelihood, through its handpicked surrogates.

And Mr. "Faith" is quite right; the people who staged the coup, fabricated the jihad, and now cling so tenaciously to the power have precious little interest in running a democracy. Certainly not while they're wallowing in orgiastic delight, tallying up the spoils of running a latter-day robber-baron plutocracy.

Ellen Remore
Westwood, New Jersey

Florida happens

Perlstein needs to get a grip, historically speaking. The democracy is not threatened any more now than it has been throughout our history.

Some of the political tactics he described, if true, are over-the-top. Historically, these things happen from time to time. Somehow, the majority of Americans, no matter how stupid and gullible he thinks they are, will come to a reasonable conclusion.

The St. Louis presidential debate proved more than anything else that regular citizens can ask reasonable, thoughtful questions that the candidates should answer. These issues are important to them and a great many people throughout the country.

There are many people between the coasts, and I think Perlstein needs to spend some quality time with them to at least calm the heck down!

Scott Lassley
Springfield, Missouri

Name the other two

In "Big Ruling, Little Notice" by Rick Perlstein [October 20–26], in a case involving alleged voting rights violations, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit is accused of handing down "a capricious, flippant dismissal of the complaint, ignoring key portions of its argument and simply inventing others."

The article also claims that Judge Posner is "a prominent conservative intellectual and vocal Bush supporter."

What the article omits is the fact that, as any awake first-year law student knows, every federal circuit court decision must be signed by at least three judges. Yet the article singles out Posner and doesn't mention the other two judges who co-signed the decision.

David Caplan
Delray Beach, Florida

My precious

I saw Alex Ross's cover image portraying W. as a vampire ["Sucking Democracy Dry," October 20–26]. Not as compelling as moveon.org's beautiful rendition of Bush as a baby-eating Gollum, but I get your drift.

I hope the fever abates sometime soon.

Kane Rogers
Richmond, British Columbia


Sarah Goodyear's "The Straight and Narrow" [October 20–26] deals with an explosive issue without so much as a pretense of presenting both sides. Goodyear spends her time sucking up to the band members and quoting the "compassionate conservative" dogma of "Hate the sin, not the sinner"—and doesn't even blink an eye.

Voice readers should know that this kind of event is designed to oppress a group of people and tell them "you are not equal to us." These people are telling gay Americans, "You should not have the same rights as we do."

How can this be about anything but hate? It doesn't matter if the kids delivering the message are in a cool punk band or if it's Pat Robertson. The message is still the same.

This story belongs on Fox News!

Curtis Evans
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ain't that America

Re Nat Hentoff's "Torture as Foreign Policy" [October 27–November 2]:

It is too late. I grew up conservative in north Alabama. I moved to Greenwich Village to pursue life as a poet—spent over 35 years in and out of it on my road. I recently moved back to north Alabama. I have seen and observed Americans of all races, religions, lifestyles, and social and economic status; I have seen them in many parts of the country, cities and small towns.

We are becoming fascists. We feel a deep, paranoid dread about our security. We want to feel the spurious security that we felt before 9-11.

New Yorkers don't feel it as much as the folk out here. You'd think that 9-11 would have a more profound effect on New Yorkers; it affected people in the rest of the country more deeply.

Thomas Elias Weatherly
Huntsville, Alabama

Saving our Bacon

I just finished reading Wayne Barrett's excellent article "Bush's Courting of Saddam" [October 27–November 2]:

If you want to read an in-depth account of the Bush family and its links to numerous frauds, including Iran-Contra, then get hold of a copy of Al Martin's The Conspirators. Martin was formerly an intelligence op and has the documentation to back up his stories. He rarely uses unnamed sources for his stories, but names people and resources.

Greg Bacon
Ava, Missouri

Nader or nothing

I second the letter by M. Johnson regarding Ralph Nader's presidency bid ["Ignoble Savage," Letters, October 20–26].

It is only those of us with a truly progressive agenda who will vote for Nader. For me, it's Nader or nothing. Thus, no vote is lost to whatever nonentity the Dems toss out. Kerry is merely a more acceptable mouthpiece for capital and business as usual.

Nader has been speaking for people and for real democratic principles for decades.

If he can still put himself out there, why in hell can't we at least have the courage to vote for him?

Mary Jo Marchnight
Savannah, Georgia

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