Run, Bernie, Run?

Thank you, John Nichols, for “Bernie Sanders Is Thinking of Running for President” [April 7], illuminating the senator for us. I’d vote for him in a second. As a progressive, I feel that Sanders understands what is right and, more important, what is wrong with our great country. I hope more people wake up and fight for a change, because “We the People” no longer have a say in what happens to us.
Dan Robertson
warren, mich.

We need Bernie Sanders in the White House. He has a common-sense approach to democracy and leadership. The Democratic Party doesn’t know which way to turn. I’m fearful that we are looking at a rerun of 2010. According to the news, the GOP (Greedy Oppressive Plutocrats) is leading in the polls.
Danny Bynum
eldridge, iowa

I deeply appreciate hearing about and from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. I’m thinking that if Hillary Clinton has the wisdom and courage to put him on the ticket with her, she’ll win.
Eleanor Moller
ryde, calif.

Sure, Bernie Sanders would make a fantastic president, but America would wake up in November 2016 having elected some asshat like Rick Santorum. Back to the future: Hillary is not perfect, but she is wicked smart, experienced and tough.
Gary Edward Rith
ithaca, n.y.

It is exciting that the estimable Bernie Sanders is considering a run for president. In 2000, Ralph Nader gave us George W. Bush. If Sanders runs, who will he give us in 2016?
Norman Dorsen
new york city

Bernie Sanders is an honorable man, but his concept of “political revolution” as a long-term educational tool will not translate into a 2016 win. Independents don’t revolutionize systems, but third parties might. Since Sanders’s values are already reflected in the Green Party platform, he should consider seeking its endorsement.
Michael Spector
mt. tabor, n.j.

Have liberals and progressives learned nothing from the disastrous 2000 election? Do we want another hopeless campaign that will only put a right-wing Republican into office? Independent liberal candidates almost invariably sabotage Democrats. The notion that political campaigns are educational experiences has been disproved again and again.

Ralph Nader in 2000 is just one example. In New York in 1970, James Buckley, brother of William F., won the senatorial election by just 1 percent over a solidly liberal Democrat when liberals voted for Charles Goodell, on the Liberal line, because he opposed the Vietnam War. Ten years later, when liberals gave Jacob Javits 11 percent of the vote, Republican Alfonse D’Amato beat Elizabeth Holtzman, again by 1 percent.

Politics is not religion, presidential campaigns are not educational exercises, and damage control can be as important as progress.

Herman Schwartz
washington, d.c.

Pull Your Pants Up

Bravo! for Melissa Harris-Perry’s very strong “Lazy Politics at Work” [April 7]. It’s about time someone in academia, with a megaphone, shouted out the obvious about racist cultural arguments. To attack the poor is an old ruse of the powerful and their lackeys—be they Democrats, Republicans, black, white or brown.
Ron Evans
new york city

Of course, many white people can’t see structural racism. It’s like explaining water to a fish.
Jimmy Calhoun

Yes, too many young men of color lack opportunities that most whites take for granted, including role models and mentors who nurture the habits and choices that enable success. My Brother’s Keeper seeks to redress that gap. President Obama challenges these young men to seize those opportunities once presented. By contrast, Paul Ryan presumes those opportunities already exist. Lack of access is not in his worldview. It’s intellectually dishonest to ignore that distinction and act as if My Brother’s Keeper is only about telling young men of color to pull their pants up.
BPI Squirrel

Snowden: Cop a Plea?

In “Plea Time for Snowden,” [April 7] Daniel Medwed and Michael Meltsner argue that Edward Snowden should seek a plea bargain. They write: “Snowden knows that no matter how much he arguably served the public interest, he committed serious criminal offenses and will have to be punished.” No doubt the authors are well aware of “good” people who also committed serious criminal offenses and were punished or imprisoned. A quick short list: Eugene V. Debs, Emma Goldman, the Hollywood Ten, Pete Seeger, Daniel Ellsberg. Yes, these people committed crimes but, like Snowden, did so out of honoring this country’s higher principles and its Constitution.

Snowden’s “offenses” are political crimes, as were the crimes of those just mentioned. They are now seen as heroes, as Snowden should be.

Phil Cox
dartmouth, mass.

Daniel Medwed and Michael Meltsner are deeply wrong to advocate a Snowden plea deal that includes prison time. Snowden is surely the greatest American of the still-young twenty-first century. He is no less a hero than Daniel Ellsberg.
Daniel Fleisher

“Snowden knows…he committed serious criminal offenses and will have to be punished.” This in The Nation!? The authors need to reread Anatole France: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” Snowden needs to accept a prison term? I’ll buy into that when I see Jamie Dimon behind bars.
Martin Morand
new york city

Whistler and His Work

Barry Schwabsky is right to suggest that a major Whistler retrospective is long overdue [“Whistler’s Battles,” March 10/17], but recent shows have honored his special gifts. “Like Breath on Glass” (quoting Whistler on applying paint) was a remarkable show at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 2008, and last year the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, featured “Whistler in Venice.”
David Tinling
rochester, vt.