Letters to the Editor (Sept., 11, 2008)

Sept. 11, 2008

Sick of Palin

I suffered through some of Sarah Palin’s speech. Thankfully, it’s over and in a week it will be only a blip on the political radar.

The woman read what was written for her, actually whined at times, and I was thoroughly disgusted. The reaction of the party faithful was as expected … an orchestrated response to the buzzwords she bandied about, all carefully rehearsed beforehand in front of her handlers.

What was frightening was the group reaction, kind of reminding me of Hitler’s Berlin rally, where women were weeping and all in unison shouted “sieg heil;” mindless lemmings, but this time following a senescent old warrior on the glory path to Valhalla — a conservative utopia where women are nothing more than receptacles for breeding, we drill into mother Earth to extract a few more drops of oil, and in the process, destroy the ecosystem so that we ourselves will have to take shelter underground from the killing ultraviolet radiation that will otherwise sear our skin and accelerate the cancer rate.

I shudder to think that should McCain die in office, Palin would have to confront Putin — a self-described “hockey-mom” who refers to herself as a “gal,” vs. a strongman intent on rebuilding the USSR. How will she handle Al Qaeda — try and convert them to her fundamentalist beliefs? Perhaps Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” was not so far off the mark.

I am glad that I have lived most of my years on this planet, but subsequent generations, should there be any, will gradually evolve (oops — dirty word — no such thing as evolution), devolve into creatures that we have seen only in science fiction portrayals of the future.

Pass the antacids.

Julie Bonanno

Consider affordability of new laws

Many politicians are jumping on the punishment bandwagon and pushing for a 25-year minimum prison term for sexual assault on a minor. How could anybody advocate weak punishment for a sexual assault of a child? Before the lawmakers financially encumber the taxpayers to the tune of around $40,000 a year for each inmate, perhaps we should examine the effects such a law might have.

According to the Vermont Criminal Information Center, there were about 250 sexual assault cases brought in 2007. If Vermont locked up half that number for 25 years each, 100 percent of Vermont inmates would be sex offenders in less than 20 years. Right now, far less than a quarter of those currently sentenced and convicted of crimes in Vermont are actually behind bars. Over 75 percent of the convicts that are actually serving time in jail have been convicted of violent crimes. With the passage and implementation of a 25-year minimum term, as is in Jessica’s law, we would have to double our prison capacity in a decade or put all of the murderers and muggers now behind bars out in house arrest apartments in your neighborhood. Both of those happenings would require massive tax increases.

I am personally opposed to any law we cannot afford to implement.

Americans have the distinction of having the largest prison population in the entire world. Should we be proud of that? We need to seek remedies for injustice that are sustainable, practical and, most importantly, affordable. Ask the Jessica’s Law supporters if they want massive tax increases or which other state programs they want to decimate. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too … unless it is only a promise.

Shelley Palmer, Republican candidate for Vermont House of Representatives

A vote for Barnard

I support Denise Barnard for Senate from Chittenden County because she gets people involved, keeps people informed and listens to people.

Denise has served on Richmond’s School Board. During this time she was able to balance the need for excellent schools while being extremely responsible to the fiscal needs of the town. When she decided to move on from the School Board, she actively engaged and encouraged people to fill the board. Two years ago, she motivated me to run for a term on the Board of Civil Authority.

Denise has been an excellent representative, serving Richmond in the Vermont Statehouse. She has continuously worked to keep the people of our town informed about her actions and the issues in Montpelier. She writes articles in the local paper, makes announcements at town meetings and talks to people on the street, in the store or at the business that she owns and operates.

Many people in town can attest to having Denise ask their opinions on some of the various issues that have come up during her terms. She gets varied points of view from Republicans, Democrats, Progressives, Independents, liberally minded people and conservatively minded people in our town. People who fit any of those groups (and more) respect Denise and find their views respected by her.

This responsibility to her constituents is a part of her personality and will serve us all when she is senator. Please join me and Jim Condos, who endorsed Denise in the Burlington Free Press July 21, 2008; vote for Denise in the Democratic primaries on Sept. 9 and in the general election in November.

Francis Churchill