Impeachment Is an Inside Job

I enjoy Jeet Heer’s articles for The Nation, but his argument in “Impeachment Needs to Move to the Streets” [December 30/January 6] threw me. Impeachment, according to our Constitution, which is the foundation of our laws, rests not with the masses but with Congress. The rule of law determines not only what is legal or illegal but also how that determination is made. Due process is at the heart of the law. That other countries govern through mass protest is their affair but not our procedure.

Protest in the United States works, but not in the streets. It works at the ballot box. Instead of advocating going to the streets, why didn’t Heer suggest that citizens express their convictions to their elected members of Congress? They alone make individual decisions based on many factors, which should not include mass protests in the streets any more than party loyalty—neither of which is a constitutional remedy.

Also, criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for insisting on scrupulous attention to the rule of law seemed to this longtime reader neither justified nor fair.

John Steel
santa barbara, calif.

Lessons in Free Tuition

Re “The Free College Try” by Bryce Covert [January 13/20]: When I graduated from the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College in 1975, I had not paid a cent in tuition. All we paid was a $35 consolidated fee (and we joked that it was too much) for access to the student center and fitness facilities. I don’t know what that $35 is in today’s dollars, but for comparison, I paid $400 for a course at New York University that I needed to take in order to graduate but was closed out of at Brooklyn College.

A sociologist at the time astutely observed that access to higher education was the conveyor belt that carried each generation to the next level of society. Indeed, my sister, cousins, and I were the children of a postal worker, a fireman, a printer, housewives, and office workers. We moved into the professional class, and today we are teachers, veterinarians, an accountant, a chiropractor, a nurse, an artist, a psychologist, and a (real!) rocket scientist.

Free public college is not a fairy tale. It is history, apparently long forgotten.

Jacquelyn Bergstein, PhD
brooklyn

The Great Picasso Con

When I was in art school 50 years ago, I was often bewildered by some of the artists who had gained fame because of their “genius.” Top of the list for me was Pablo Picasso. I simply could not understand why he was considered so great. I found his work ugly. I never knew anything about his personal life and did not care to.

When I read Jillian Steinhauer’s review of Life With Picasso [“Fire and Brimstone,” January 13/20], the new book by Picasso’s onetime partner Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, it confirmed what I’ve felt all these many years: Picasso truly was a genius—not as a visual artist but as a con artist.

Cris Arbo
buckingham, va.

The GOP’s Unhealthy Agenda

Re Bryce Covert’s “The Medicaid Expansion Effect” [December 30/January 6]: If greater access to health care increases voter participation, many of those new voters may vote against the GOP. Republicans try to decrease voter participation—another reason for them to oppose the expansion of health care, especially Medicaid.
Carolyn Herz