It should be difficult being Green (cover story, October 9). After all, many people still associate the party with the most shameless piece of intellectual dishonesty in recent memory: the contention, during the 2000 election, that there was no meaningful difference between Bush and Gore. The sight of party members marching in protest of corporate welfare and oil interests would be laughable, if only nobody had to pay.
Jon Griffin, Sibley Place, Rochester
Seeing the expected
A few weeks ago, letter writer Matthew Davis referred to the newly completed Genesee River walkway as "strewn with broken 40-ouncers and gangs of predatory adolescents from the adjacent housing." I enjoy riding my bike along the river at least twice a week, every week. I see young people playing basketball and families playing with their kids and lots of people fishing. Yes, I see broken glass here and there, but then I see broken glass everywhere I ride my bike, including Bellevue Dr. where Mr. Davis lives.
This reminds me of the time I overheard an employee in a grocery store say disparagingly to another employee, "Look at all those people in the welfare line wearing leather coats." I observed each person in the line, and no one was wearing anything that even remotely resembled a leather coat. When I pointed this out to him, he was incredulous that I had called him on his stereotyped version of reality.
We so often see what we expect to see, not what is actually there. Our so-called observations can be both hurtful and false.
Sharon Turner, Hamilton Street, Rochester
Recently, I took a drive around the reservoir at Cobb's Hill. First time I'd noticed it was open to traffic again, after being closed for so long as a "security precaution." Others were there, too: a few walking dogs; a runner running; a utility-company truck parked, the occupant idle --- standard-issue Americans, all. It seemed so normal.
I stopped at the lovely view that overlooks the city, got out, and took a photo. Then I continued to that spot in front of the gatehouse, where you used to see people sitting around enjoying the view, resting after a jog, or in winter starting a sled run down the hill.
At that spot on this day, I saw two RPD officers, their cruisers surrounding a car, interrogating a man. He was late middle-aged. He had his wallet out, displaying its contents. He wore a turban --- Sikh, I think. One officer appeared to be searching the back seat.
I, a white guy wearing a baseball cap, passed by slowly, observing angrily, unmolested.
How 'bout a whole crowd of us Americans put on turbans and go hang out at Cobb's Hill someday?
Carl Pultz, Rochester
Paul Kurtz, director of the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York, was the subject of an excellent two-part interview in City Newspaper ("The Bull Fighter," September 18 and 25). I wish to advise anyone who found a resonant chord in the first article that the Center for Inquiry's Council for Secular Humanism has a presence in the Rochester area through the affiliated group Secular Humanists of the Rochester Area.
SHoRA provides a forum for discussion of items of interest to secular humanists, public lectures by experts in various fields, and a program of social activities. Anyone interested in our group can obtain information by writing to SHoRA, PO Box 26576, Rochester 14626, by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by going to the SHoRA web site at http://www.shora.org.
Ralph C. Reynolds, West Ridge Road, Rochester (Reynolds is president of Secular Humanists of the Rochester Area)