Coming Out for Choice

After reading Katha Pollitt’s column “Come Out, Pro-Choicers!” [September 14/21], I’ve decided to tell my story to The Nation. I had an abortion at age 18. I was date-raped and prayed that I would not become pregnant. When I missed my period, I knew my prayers had not been answered.

I was beside myself with worry when I went home for the summer after the end of my first college year. My mother recognized my condition and arranged for an abortion. The doctor who was to do the procedure first asked if there was any possibility of marriage. None, I replied. On the way home, my mother cautioned me not to mention this to anyone. I kept the secret for many years.

I was able to take up my usual job for the summer and finish my schooling. I was immensely grateful to my mom and to the doctor who performed the abortion.

I am a grandmother now and never had the need for another abortion. But I have always been pro-choice. I think abortion should be available everywhere. I am in the poverty class, but I sometimes give small sums to an organization that helps women in need of an abortion.

Cornelia Smollin

Hillary’s Unrequited Love 

Hillary Clinton voted to invade Iraq and has amassed millions in donations linked to the fossil-fuel industry. Yet, in “Can Hillary Win Over the Left?” [September 14/21], Michelle Goldberg argues that Clinton is worthy of progressive support, at a political moment when progressives have a clear alternative.

Goldberg’s point seems to be that, although Hillary has flipped from liberal to centrist with the political winds, public opinion is now moving to the left, so we can rely on Hillary to rediscover her liberal roots. But it’s one thing to be pragmatic when it’s necessary for legislative damage control; it’s another to be a politically unprincipled chameleon.

Goldberg goes to great lengths to persuade us that Clinton has often been to the left of Obama (which is not saying much) and to the left of her husband (which is saying even less). But why should we settle for that when we have a candidate who has consistently been far more progressive than all of the above, and who is now winning the hearts of voters in a way that Hillary never has and never will?

If Clinton ends up being the nominee, I’ll hold my nose and vote for her. Until then, progressives should be full steam ahead for Bernie!

Marc B. Fried
gardiner, n.y.

Campaign statements and rhetoric may be fluff, guile-filled disinformation, or even (rarely) honest statements of intention and purpose. But no matter how well crafted and intended, they cannot rise to the level of the hard, fact-filled significance contained in the record of a candidate’s public life. I don’t know whether Hillary can win over the left; I do know that she can’t win me over. Her record is too hawkish and subservient to Wall Street. Mere campaign statements cannot overcome that.
Donald Mintz
trumansburg, n.y.

Let’s have the truth regarding Hillary Clinton’s stance on the Iraq War. She didn’t simply vote to authorize that war of choice: She promoted it energetically and avidly, and she hasn’t repented, despite all its horrendous outcomes. Those eager to be co-opted can call that an “overcorrection.” History will call it a war crime.
Sam Coleman
fountain valley, calif.

Michelle Goldberg ends her article by questioning whether Hillary can excite the ascendant left. However, Hillary has plenty of support among Democrats. I represent the silent majority of the Democratic Party, which the media ignore. I am among the 18 million people who voted for Hillary in 2008 and are eager to do so again.
Reba Shimansky
new york

Michelle Goldberg’s article is informed and balanced in the best Nation tradition. She bends over backward not to be unfair. I suspect she shares the sense of fatalism of many Democrats: that it’s inevitable Clinton will be crowned the Democratic nominee for president whether we like it or not, so we’ll have to vote for her. Yet I also suspect the politics of Bernie Sanders align much more closely with those of a majority of The Nation’s readers. It’s still early in the campaign. Let’s not give up on Sanders—let’s dare to dream.
Ronald Koury
new york

Up for Debate

In his article “Open It Up, Dems!” [September 14/21], John Nichols presents the case for increasing the number of Democratic debates from the scheduled six to at least 12, thereby matching the GOP’s number. His rationale is correct: The more the electorate hears from the candidates, the more information it will have to make an educated decision in the primaries. He’s also correct in saying that campaigning and stating your positions on issues in stump speeches or in interviews is not the same as debating. Debates allow for comparing and contrasting in real time, and that’s a good thing.

On the face of it, it makes no sense to limit the number of debates. A lot of Democrats, especially progressives, smell a big fat rat! Nichols doesn’t mention Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz anywhere in the article. The Florida congresswoman served as the national cochair of Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. The two have a close professional relationship. Wasserman Schultz has also declared the following: “Secretary Clinton, I think, is arguably one of the most qualified people…who have ever run for president. I was proud to support her in 2008. Of course, as DNC chair, I will neutrally manage our primary nomination contest, assuming we have one.” While proclaiming her neutrality, she also called Clinton “a special leader and a special woman.”

More debates serve all candidates well; fewer only help Clinton.

Marsha Shearer
the villages, fla.

Nationalize The Nation

The Nation is running far too many parochial articles about New York City. I know your editorial offices are there, but your magazine’s name is The Nation, and there’s a lot more to our nation than just the Big Apple. In this instance, I am referring specifically to the July 6/13 issue, with a front-page illustration advertising your principal story, “How to Dump Tenants and Make a Fortune” (in New York City), and a teaser at the top for the editorial “End ‘Broken Windows’” (another New York City issue).
Rick Luttmann
rohnert park, calif.