Letters: Feb. 21, 2000

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All four of the leading presidential candidates are men of privilege who were educated at highly selective Eastern colleges [CAMPAIGN 2000, Jan. 31]. Governor George W. Bush, son of a President, grandson of a U.S. Senator, was educated at Yale. Ex-Senator Bill Bradley, son of a banker, went to Princeton. Vice President Al Gore, son of a U.S. Senator, attended Harvard. Senator John McCain, son and grandson of admirals, was educated at the U.S. Naval Academy. Let us rush to fix a system that, on its face, would winnow out the likes of Abe Lincoln and Harry Truman. DAVID L. EVANS Cambridge, Mass.

Isn't it time we got into the 21st century with elections? The primary system is a complete anachronism harking back to pre-TV days, when that was the only way voters could see the candidates. Now we would be a lot better off without the grand circus every four years. If candidates could just have publicly financed televised debates until we knew enough about them to vote, then we could get it over with simultaneously in all states. Think of the effort now wasted on fund raising and influence peddling! KAY ZIEGAHN Richland Center, Wis.

It is amusing to see John McCain, a pro-life Republican with an 18-year conservative voting record, described as a challenger to Bush from the left. I thought the Republican Party promoted the rights of the individual against Big Government. Clearly, the biggest obstacle is special-interest money spent to make sure true reform never happens. McCain has the honesty to say this and the courage to fight for each citizen's right to have a real voice in the political process. Since when have courage and honesty ceased to be conservative? VIRGINIA COCHRANE TORBERT Yardley, Pa.

Looking at your cover, I hope Al Gore is dashing to the dentist! Before trying to straighten out America's problems, he should straighten out his teeth! GAIL SMALLWOOD-HEIDERSCHEIT Flower Mound, Texas


O.K., I give up. Who is more zen? You described Bill Bradley's unmistakable "Zenlike calm" [CAMPAIGN 2000, Jan. 31]. Then in the piece on Al Gore's strategy, we learned the Vice President has a " Zenlike focus." In a campaign in which there is difficulty in distinguishing one slightly left-of-middle Democratic candidate from the other, do we really need you confusing us even more? AUBREE GALVIN Chicago


Thanks to Barbara Ehrenreich for her analysis of the premise put forth by evolutionary theorists Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer [ESSAY, Jan. 31]. They say rape is just one more seed-spreading technique favored by natural selection. The two authors have obviously never heard of female kinship networks or the selective disadvantages of rape. Otherwise they would realize that the evolutionary sweepstakes was won by the gene for fear-of-getting-your-brains-beat-out-by-enraged-female-protectors and not by the rape gene, a rough equivalent to the idiot gene. DAN WHARTON Pelham, N.Y.

Rape is about procreation, even if only as an instrument of evil. Rape is always wrong and is unjust, but so was Ehrenreich's single-minded opposition to Thornhill and Palmer's A Natural History of Rape. ANTTI NYBERG Helsinki

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