It seems curious that Sarah Palin has chosen to make light of Barack Obama's background as a community organizer ["'Country' Girl," September 10]. It seems she has forgotten that if it weren't for community organizers, not only wouldn't she be allowed to speak at that podium, she wouldn't even be allowed to vote.
After all, if it weren't for the groundbreaking work of community organizers such as Susan B. Anthony and others, the notion of a woman running for high office would be unthinkable.
It's hard to imagine where we would be today if not for the work of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. - true patriots who dared call on America to search for a better version of itself. And the truth is, behind the great organizers and orators who made their way into the history books, there were thousands of others facing ridicule and enduring physical harm to strive for an America that really does stand for liberty and justice for all. For many of us, those anonymous foot soldiers for freedom were mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.
Sarah Palin's taunting rhetoric seems aimed at pitting community organizers and good men and women serving in the military against each other, and that is the sort of division and polarization that this country does not need right now.
Perhaps more than any other time in decades, we are in dire need of less machismo and mockery and more concrete, long-term solutions to the real problems that affect our everyday lives and the survival of the planet.
Re: Bite Me Organic Pizza ["Side Dishes," September 10]. I think people need to lighten up! I'm so sick and tired of these holier-than-thou, pretentious people who have nothing better to do but complain and get bent out of shape over something that is not worth worrying about.
They should be happy that this business was established, and it is providing a good service to our community. I can't wait to "bite" into a good, wholesome piece of Vermont organic pie.
WELCH AND WAR FUNDING
Shay Totten omitted Peter Welch's actual words from his report on Welch's votes to fund the Iraq war ["Fair Game," September 17].
As The Burlington Free Press reported on September 7, "Welch says he opposed war funding 'unless it was tied to bringing our troops home.'"
On August 8, Welch said on Vermont Public Radio, "Every chance I have had to vote, I've voted to end war funding, unless it was specifically tied to spending money to bring our troops home."
These statements do not conform to the facts. Welch's votes for H.J. 52 on September 26, 2007, and for H.R. 2206 on May 10, 2007, contradict his statements. Together they added $105 billion to war funding not tied to bringing any soldiers home.
H.J. 52 was a continuing resolution with no restrictions; it added money to existing programs, including $9 billion for Iraq war funding. No tie to bringing troops home.
The version of H.R. 2206 that Welch voted for provided an immediate $43 billion. No tie to soldiers coming home. Under Chapter Two of that bill, the remaining $52 billion would be decided by a later vote. Chapter Two allowed an amendment to bring certain combat soldiers home within 180 days. But the $52 billion could pass even if the withdrawal amendment was voted down. So the $52 billion was not tied to bringing soldiers home.
Peter Welch voted for war funding, and he misrepresents his record.
James Marc Leas
Leas is treasurer of the campaign of the Thomas Hermann for Congress campaign.