Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of February 14, 2011

Readers write in about the book "O: A Presidential Novel" with a defense for O's elitism, the perils of genetically modified food, and the need to rethink gun control.

In defense of O's 'elitism'

In Josh Burek's Feb. 7 review ("A tart, perceptive 'history' of the 2012 race") of the book "O: A Presidential Novel," he says that the anonymous author's "psychological photorealism takes a toll, betraying O's insufferable elitism even in its praise." The book quotes O (the president) as believing, "It was always going to be hard, delicate work to convince Americans they needed government to protect them from themselves and not just criminals and natural calamities and foreign enemies."

I see this sentiment less as elitism, but realism. The American electorate perseverates about the role of government and votes on our abstract fears and angers, forgetting the needed and actual role of government in educating our children, maintaining our transportation systems, providing sound monetary policy, and ensuring a just society. The fact that our leader is disappointed in us should cause us to reflect on ourselves.

I can sympathize with O – a brilliant man trying to solve massive global and domestic problems. He must often feel that he is trying to nail jello to a tree when he tries to govern.

Rachel Roy

Claremont, Calif.

GM food isn't the answer

Regarding the Jan. 31 editorial, "Sowing less-expensive food," the contention that genetic engineering can "safely" increase yields is not supported by many scientific reports. There has been little testing of genetically modified (GM) food on humans, and there are plenty of red flags raised by studies that have been conducted.

On the other hand, conventional breeding techniques are capable of increasing yields, drought resistance, and other desirable traits. All of our existing crops were developed using techniques consistent with natural selection.

Jonathan Spero

Lupine Knoll Farm

Williams, Ore.

Rethink gun control

I am astounded at the drift toward expanding gun rights, as reported in the Jan. 31 article, "Tucson reveals shift on gun laws." But I shouldn't be. It seems that a renewed interest in the founding of our country has so captured the imagination of "conditioned" supporters of today's powerful gun lobby as to make them equate current social conditions with 18th century challenges.

But we are no longer a country in the throes of infancy, nor are we a third-world country lacking a legal system, imperfect as it may be, to resort to for protection. This invalidates the perceived right for private citizens today to carry concealed weaponry.

It's time to "uncondition" ourselves to the perception that gun-carrying is an acceptable accouterment in a civil society.

Julie Foskett

Edmonds, Wash.

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