The "rise" of Rick Perry has been bad for Texas and will be bad for the U.S. ["Rick Perry's Mission," Sept. 26]. Like George W. Bush, Perry favors pre-emptive military strikes, which could lead to more unnecessary and costly wars. Seventeen percent of Texas children do not have health insurance, making the state second to last in the nation. Perry touts the Texas economy, yet when the state faced a $27 billion budget deficit, he favored cutting billions from education and health care rather than using the state's rainy-day fund and modifying the tax system. Perry disputes the scientific community's conclusion that global warming is man-made and a serious risk to humanity. He says he errs on the side of life. Yet there is evidence that at least one man, Cameron Todd Willingham, has been wrongly executed on his watch.
As someone whose relatives suffered under the socialist regime of Josip Tito in the former Yugoslavia, I take great offense to Perry calling our President a socialist. To understand what a true socialist is would require deep thought, something Perry obviously lacks the capacity for.
Thomas J. Trkula,
Harrisburg, Pa., U.S.
Your article says that Perry's "idea of gun control is 'Use both hands.'" Do Americans really want a President who is so crass? Isn't it time that Americans leave the Wild West behind and adopt a truly Christian approach to the right to bear arms?
Your lily-livered, weak-kneed attitude on crime and punishment was evident in your first sentence. Over almost 11 years, 234 murderers were executed, some for multiple killings. Perry did not indict, try, convict or sentence these criminals. Justice was served, but the victims' families are still devastated. Texas is a tough law-and-order state, thank God.
Rita Pyle Fjelseth,
Oro Valley, Ariz, U.S.
This here Perry you write about sure does seem like a rootin'-tootin', six-gun-shootin', cowboy-bootin' macho man, and he scares the bejeezus out of me on account of we've already been there, done that for eight years with that Bush fella.
If Americans want to elect someone who truly represents everything that is synonymous with their country, then Perry is their man. He's a brash, outspoken Texan who has many an internal contradiction much like the U.S. itself. He seems a perfect fit for a country that decries the intrusion of Big Government programs but rarely is prepared to actually sacrifice the benefits they receive from said programs.
Perry says people are tired of "political correctness." How does he define it? As I understand the term, it means treating others with respect and fairness, no matter what age, sex, religion, race or sexual orientation they are or what disability they have. I'm an American, and I'm tired of the politically incorrect communication and uncooperative behavior of American politicians in 2011. We need statesmen, not politicians.
Russia's Corruption Problem
Corruption is the cancer of a nation's economy and politics ["State-Run Shakedown," Sept. 26]. And it would be very difficult for Russia to get out of its economic quagmire unless the damage caused by massive fraudulence is repaired. With the presidential election coming in 2012, I am anxiously awaiting a better tomorrow for all Russians.
Church and State
Re "In God We Trust" [Sept. 26]: Jon Meacham's column on Rick Perry and Christian dominionists made me realize that I'm scared. The radical politics of Rick Perry threatens my right as a Jewish young adult to the separation of church and state. Yet Perry leads in the polls. How can voters allow such a religious conservative to make it even that close to the White House?
Odessa, Fla., U.S.
This was the most truly disturbing and terrifying article your magazine has ever published.
Reading about dominionists, I couldn't help thinking that by changing a few words and terms, Meacham could have been writing about Muslims who want the installation of Shari'a in their countries and the Koran to be used as the source of all wisdom. Both are equally alarming to a person living in a secular state, but the difference is that the dominionists are part of the most powerful nation in the world.
Dominionists believe that God and his laws should be in charge of America. A synonym for these people is the Taliban. We rebelled 235 years ago against the idea of the divine right to rule.
Denton, Texas, U.S.
Jorge Castañeda's appreciation of the intervention by the U.S., the U.K. and France in Libya seems completely off the mark ["Losers in Libya," Sept. 26]. The leaders of these countries might have emerged as heroes now, but why aren't they doing anything in Burma or other African countries where people have been living under oppressive regimes for years? Because they stand to gain nothing from these poor nations.
Re "Unfriended" [Sept. 26]: It matters not one iota to Israel what happens in Palestine, Egypt, Turkey or indeed anywhere else in the world as long as the Israeli tail continues to wag the American dog.
Leadership in Turkey
Re "Turkey Steps Up" [World, Sept. 26]: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be "charismatic," but his denial of the Ottoman Turkish government's genocide of 1.5 million Armenians is reprehensible. Turkey needs to step up and acknowledge its horrendous crime in order to gain stature among other nations.
Corte Madera, Calif., U.S.
Stephen Gandel writes that America's banks still don't work [Sept. 26]. Here's one possible reason. In order to call yourself a physician, you must study and pass an examination. In order to call yourself a lawyer, you must study and pass an examination. In order to call yourself a banker, all you have to do is say so.
Ewing, N.J., U.S.
Gandel refers to the banks' "mortgage-market mistakes." Mistakes? Was it not banks that deliberately put together almost worthless bundles of mortgages and sold them with the intention of increasing profits by ripping off customers? Of course, the rating agencies were complicit, but a deliberate fraud is more than a "mistake."
Richard C. Massey,
Columbia, S.C., U.S.
Missing the Classics
Re "Fall Arts Preview" [Sept. 26]: Claire Suddath's music selection of new releases is interesting, but where is the music of living contemporary classical musicians? There must be a chamber or orchestral work or an opera with sounds and stories to catch TIME listeners. Open our ears to a wider eclecticism in the next preview, please.
Thank you for your issue on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 [Sept. 19]. The "Portraits of Resilience" offered a particularly touching look into the lives of heroes, victims and others with a significant story to tell. But it hurt to see George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld highlighted as well.