Weighing the Options
Re Joe Klein's "Inspiration vs. Substance" [Feb. 18]: I am a 55-year-old independent voter, and while my mind says Hillary Clinton, my heart says Barack Obama. I have had concerns about his experience, but as he bests Clinton in state after state, it is becoming clear to me that this man has the judgment to surround himself with people of experience who know how to face challenges creatively. I suspect that if Obama becomes President, he will have the political courage to call on seasoned, experienced advisers from both parties to tackle the horrific challenges America faces. Perhaps we voters need to show some courage ourselves.
The problem with Clinton is that she can't win in November, in which case all her bullet-point plans will be of no avail. While no one doubts her intellectual gifts, there is a contrived quality about her that is no match for Obama's aura of authenticity. Obama has inspired people to believe they can effect positive change no mean feat when many people tune out elections because they feel they have no voice in their government.
New York City
One of Klein's sentences in particular caught my attention: "She simply knows more than Obama does." There is no doubt that Senator Clinton is very intelligent and shows a command of the issues during debates. But having listened to several of Senator Obama's speeches and read all his policy statements as well as his books, I believe Obama is equally informed and perhaps even more intelligent. What's more, the positions he's taking now aren't just concepts he came up with on the campaign trail because they tested well in polls; he wrote about them in his books years ago. His amazing ability to inspire derives from his refreshing authenticity and his emphasis on what is common to us rather than on what divides us. I'll take that over debate-scoring sound bites any day.
West Dundee, Illinois
I am sick of the media wanting no one but Clinton, when so many people are screaming, Anybody but Clinton again!
Durham, North Carolina
Reading Between the Pixels
I was immediately struck by your choice of photographs in "The Great Divide" [Feb. 18]. Whether intentional or not, your portrayal of Clinton in stark black-and-white photos juxtaposed with the warmer color photos of Obama had the effect of increasing the very divide your article addressed. Obama was shown smiling, cuddling with his wife and playing with a soccer ball, while Clinton was shown doing a phone interview, studying papers before a rally and standing in the dark before giving a speech. Photographs can be as biased as language. A little more evenhandedness would have been preferable.
Syracuse, New York
Little Surfer Girl
I was in utter shock after reading Lev Grossman's "Girl Meets Game" [Feb. 11]. At a time when we are worried about teenagers on MySpace, Grossman talks about how great it is that his 3 1/2-year-old daughter can entertain herself on the Internet. Sure, the sites he mentioned are innocent, but inappropriate content is just a click away. Grossman would have served readers better if he had mentioned Internet search filters. Better yet, he could have stressed that the best way to entertain a young mind is by reading books.
Jody Weissler, CEO, Childrensbookradio.com,
Woodland Hills, California
Unless Grossman's daughter can independently read all the books on the shelves pictured behind her, maybe she shouldn't be playing video games yet. Read first, then play.
Lisa Marie Cillessen,
Coming to Cupid's Rescue
In a world at war with toxins, violence, global warming and weird diseases, Nancy Gibbs' attack on Valentine's Day (which she called "A Day to Forget") is right up there with the Grinch stealing Christmas [Feb. 18]. Perhaps Gibbs, too, needs to check the size of her heart. She noted that the feast day's origins are murky, but its popularity throughout so many centuries suggests that the stories of Valentinus' deeds in the service of love have caught the public's imagination. Before condemning things of legend, consider how we have incorporated tales of another saint into our lives. Although society has made Santa Claus the hero of a consumer-driven, materialistic culture, at the core of that character is the love that St. Nicholas had for his God and neighbor. Why not celebrate the legend of Valentinus on Valentine's Day?
Valentine's day is one of the yearly events that do not have to be commercial. I make heart-shaped cookies with a friend, and we send most of them to our children and grandchildren. Each swipe of frosting, each sprinkle of sugar is an act of love. Not everything has to be expensive or come from a store. Saying "I love you" is easy if somewhat caloric.