Political polarization excludes centrists

Regarding Susan DeMersseman's July 15 Opinion piece, "American political polarization amounts to fear of being left out": I'm not afraid of being left out. I am left out - by two political parties that seem to be slowly and inexorably gravitating toward the most extreme elements within both parties.

Supposedly there are more centrists than there are strong liberals or strong conservatives. Who is representing us? No one.
George Robertson
Culpeper, Va.

Armstrong going strong

Regarding your July 21 article "Sans flair, Armstrong tries to warm French fans": Enough with the Lance-bashing by the French.

Why should he act French? He is not French. Why should he ride to please the French? He rides to win. Enough already. He wins, doesn't cheat, is not boring to watch, and tests free of drugs - a pleasure if you ask me.
C. Flynn
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Your article on Lance Armstrong missed the point. By insisting on winning the 15th stage of the race on Tuesday, Armstrong broke the unwritten rule that other teams be allowed to win the day's race in order to share some of the prize money. Instead, he merely showed his usual greed to grab all the cash for himself and for his team.
Hugh Williams

Hold society responsible, not schools

Regarding your July 12 Opinion piece, "Why not put schools to the test?" by Bill Evers and Herbert J. Walberg: Don't blame schools; blame ourselves.

We have become a people who value pop culture over learning, athletic success over scholastic achievement, self-esteem over respect for others, and indulgence over discipline. Without family-instilled values, reinforced by clear social guidelines, many of our schools have all they can do simply to keep order.

It is not surprising that home-schooling, charter and special schools, and voucher programs are on the increase. And, of course, those solutions further weaken our public school system.
Phyllis Binkley
Dorset, Vt.

Slur on Aaron Burr

In a June 25 Opinion piece "Hamilton might agree - political joust better than a duel," Susan Dunn wrote that Aaron Burr was devoid of principles or moral conscience following his duel with Alexander Hamilton. This assessment is, in my opinion, erroneous.

A human being, in order to live, must have a philosophy. Such a philosophy may range from crude to sophisticated, acknowledged to unacknowledged, expressed to unexpressed, Christian to non-Christian. The existence of a philosophy necessarily implies the existence of principles and a moral conscience. I would suggest that, on this point, thinkers as diverse as Aristotle, Camus, Kierkegaard, and Rand agree.
Ronald Kingsbury

Prisoner's request to serve

Regarding your July 9 Opinion piece by James D. Zirin, "With winds of war, don't you feel a draft?": As it happens, I, along with a growing number of other prisoners here in the US have been contacting all forms of media, political entities, and every branch of the military in an attempt to have a draft begun in America's prisons.

We believe that there is no better way for a reformed ex-felon to redeem himself or herself than to serve in the US military - specifically in combat duty.
Lance Turner
Gatesville, Texas

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