As a man, I know I'm not supposed to shed tears except for deaths in the family, but I've got to admit that reading Nancy Gibbs' article on Barack Obama in this week's commemorative issue made my eyes misty [Nov. 17]. These were tears not of sorrow but of sheer appreciation for a wonderfully expressed essay about this transcendent moment in American history.
Hervie Haufler, SHELBURNE, VT., U.S.
Ladies in the House
You missed a very important "thing" in your article "10 Things That Never Happened Before" [Nov. 17]. For the first time in U.S. history, women make up a majority of one of the U.S.'s state senates New Hampshire's. The Granite State makes me very proud.
Lisa Groux, PORTSMOUTH, N.H., U.S.
Hey, Rudy: Organize This!
Joe Klein's "Passing the Torch" was a tonic for me [Nov. 17]. During the Republican National Convention, when Rudy Giuliani sneered that he didn't even know what a community organizer is and Sarah Palin with sarcasm that made my skin crawl remarked that she guessed that a "small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," the insult was personal and deep. For the first time in my life, I donated financially to a political campaign Obama's. My mother, a beloved longtime community organizer, has been gone for 10 years, yet her accomplishments in the communities she loved are still lauded and taught to a new generation. Klein's comment "This is who [community organizers] are: they are the people who won this election" was a balm.
Julie Yugend-Green, OAK PARK, ILL., U.S.
The Race Factor
I was incredulous at T.D. Jakes' statement that "most blacks have not been blinded by race" [Nov. 17]. Virtually every black man, woman and child who has been interviewed has plainly stated the positive impact a black candidate had on mobilizing the black community to vote and become involved. I am a middle-aged white woman who voted for Obama because I believe him to be the best candidate. I do not pretend to empathize with the pain of racism, but to tell whites that Obama's race didn't have that much to do with why blacks voted the way they did is what is really "disingenuous." Am I not allowed to also hope for an end to racism and its effects? I may not have suffered from them directly, but my country has and does.
Jennifer Mather, FLINT, MICH., U.S.
As a non-U.S. resident I think that Obama is an excellent choice for President. In January you will have a mixed-race President for a mixed-race country. This sounds ideal. But why do so many people speak of a "black" President? The fact that Obama's father was black does not make him black. I wonder how many people in Kenya are celebrating because they now have a white President (because his mother was white). None, I suspect.
David Burdett, YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
Winds of change are blasting. First, Kofi Annan became the first African Secretary-General of the United Nations, and now Obama is the first African-American President of the United States. My pride is not because these men are African like me, it's because mankind now sees the folly of racism, and people are judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Stories like Obama's make people see the greatness of America. America's greatness is not projected when she attacks pariah states which do not threaten her and I am confident that President-elect Obama holds this view.
Kodwo Amissah Benyi, LOUIS TRICHARDT, SOUTH AFRICA
I am a libertarian and can't abide free government handouts, so I agree to an extent with Michael Grunwald's argument for farm-bill revision [Nov. 17]. However, I must contest some of his findings. He states, "The median farmer's net worth is five times the median American's." Of course it is farmers own tons of acres; but let's see you try to operate your business when all that net worth is tied up in land. In addition, he claims, "the biofuel boom is also jacking up the price of grain." Yet the price of corn has fallen at least 50% since its peak. Revising the bill is a good idea, but in doing so, we must realize that we will make food more expensive, since some farms will go broke. Sometimes these issues aren't so black and white.
Matthew Bernhardt, LINCOLN, NEB., U.S.