Fareed Zakaria's interview with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was impressive [The New Challenge from China, Oct. 18]. China's economic development is probably the greatest event since the Industrial Revolution. What is odd is that, at a time when China is at its zenith, it indulges in aggression and duplicity with its neighbors and struggles with civil rights in an age when they are a given. This is a time for China to emerge as a global power, not just economically but also as a positive force in Asia. For this it must look at political reform and its changing role in the world.
Vivek Chand, SINGAPORE
China's economy is now exceptionally strong, but its autocratic politics may one day spell its doom. There can be no true people's republic until the Chinese people are given back their voice by the government.
Song Xiaowen, PINGZHEN CITY, TAIWAN
Had Joe Klein backed up to New England on his fascinating journey, I believe he would have seen the same emotions of anger and political distrust here [America from the Road, Oct. 18]. What troubles me is the cynical manipulation of these feelings by candidates whose solutions to the darkening national mood would even further undercut programs like Social Security and health care, which we will rebuild and re-energize. It's up to us and those who would lead us to encourage hope in America.
Thomas D. Corrigan, FARMINGTON, CONN., U.S.
Voices on Militias
I am featured in your cover article "Locked and Loaded" [Oct. 11]. For the record, I have never advocated violence, I do not and have never belonged to any militia, nor do I communicate with militias in any way I am aware of. However, I do fully support the Constitution's guarantee of well-regulated militias in every state. To quote the mandate of the Second Amendment, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Therefore, the absence of well-regulated militias in every state is repugnant to the Constitution. As more and more people are learning daily from largely nonmainstream media sources, it is only the Constitution that stands between the people and total tyranny, and this dangerous rejection of the Constitution has put the fate of our nation and liberty of the people at grave risk. It is this stark realization, not racial or religious bigotry, that is driving the pro-Constitution movement, the Tea Parties and, likely, the citizen militias. The public record I have established over three decades clearly shows that I have always advocated the use of peaceful, nonviolent resistance in defense of the Constitution. Any person who has ever heard me speak, including Barton Gellman, has heard me hold up the examples and teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Far from being antigovernment and an advocate of violence, the very purpose of the We the People organization is to educate Americans regarding the history, meaning, effect and significance of every clause of the Constitution, including the accountability through the peaceful petition process clause of the First Amendment.
Robert L. Schulz, Chairman and Founder, We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education Inc., QUEENSBURY, N.Y., U.S.
When Gellman called to interview me for his article I did not know its title he began asking me questions about my membership in Oath Keepers, a group dedicated to fulfilling their oath to the U.S. Constitution. This led to questions about my campaign for sheriff in Montana. I did not make the statements attributed to me in the article. He asked if I really thought I could "stop the federal government" if I "did not like what they were doing." I corrected him that it was a matter not of whether I liked what they were doing but of whether what they were doing was lawful. Gellman took his example to an extreme scenario, and I commented that, no matter who was violating the law, as sheriff, I would respond to that violation as a crime in progress just as deputies do every day. If people violate a citizen's civil rights, they should be held accountable. Would you like your chief law-enforcement officer to be committed to stopping the violation of your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? That I am serious about my oath of office should cause no honest citizen fear; it is a commentary on society that it is newsworthy.
Steve Kendley, POLSON, MONT., U.S.