To the Editor:

Re “What I Saw on That G.O.P. Debate Stage Was Complete and Utter Moral Cowardice” (Opinion,, Aug. 24):

Frank Bruni is on target regarding those candidates who raised their hands in support of a Donald Trump candidacy, even if he is convicted. It was astonishing to see people willing to show fealty to a convicted felon who refused to sign a pledge to support them if they were nominated.

Sadly, those same candidates have a realistic understanding of the leadership cult that is today’s Republican Party. Donald Trump is a great admirer of the vindictive Vladimir Putin, who demands unconditional, one-way loyalty. Who among them would want to be metaphorically blown out of an airplane during the primary season?

Stephen Sander
Pennsbury Township, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “Ramaswamy Seizes Spotlight as DeSantis Hangs Back: 7 Debate Takeaways” (, Aug. 24):

Vivek Ramaswamy’s performance at the first G.O.P. presidential debate showed that he learned a lesson from the success of Donald Trump in capturing the Republican Party nomination in 2016: The more outrageous you are, the more attention you will get. The cheers from the audience demonstrated that.

John A. Viteritti
Laurel, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Trump, During Tucker Carlson Interview, Belittles Republican Rivals” (, Aug. 24):

During his interview with Mr. Carlson, Donald Trump repeated his view of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters.

“People in that crowd said it was the most beautiful day they’ve ever experienced. There was love in that crowd. There was love and unity,” he said of his supporters. “I have never seen such spirit and such passion and such love.”

Mr. Trump was obviously watching a different riot than we were all watching. If his perceptions of Jan. 6 are that distorted and delusional, what can we expect from a second Trump term as president?

Mike Barrett
Ashburn, Va.

To the Editor:

Re “We Keep Getting Madonna Wrong,” by Mary Gabriel (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 17):

The problem with Madonna is that she made a career by selling her sexuality, and that’s not so remarkable. Her true talents were marketing and exposing her body, not musical proficiency.

Her lack of creative and emotional authenticity is why she can never be in the same league as other female musical artists such as Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Lucinda Williams, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. She was, at best, a passing social phenomenon at the cusp of dance trends.

Madonna’s complaints of sexism and ageism miss the mark, too. We would scoff at the sight of former male teen idols donning sexy clothes in their soft middle age. Joni and Lucinda and Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, for that matter, remain beautiful and relevant at any age because of their musical legacy, not plastic surgery and skin exposure.

And they are still producing meaningful music.

Christopher Wanjek

To the Editor:

I’d like to note one other instance of Madonna’s willingness to fight against bigotry. In 2009, Madonna toured the world with a group of Roma musicians, with tour stops that included countries where anti-Roma racism still runs rampant.

As head of the European Roma Rights Center at the time, I reached out to her through her publicist and through one of her band members and encouraged her to speak out on behalf of Roma, the largest and most oppressed minority in Europe. I got no response and thought it a wasted effort.

Then in August, at a concert in Romania in front of 60,000 people, she spoke out against anti-Roma discrimination. A small gesture, and not one likely to sell tickets. Indeed she was roundly booed at the concert for her remarks.

Still we can only hope that, in the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Rob Kushen
South Orange, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “We Already Know What Works at the Border,” by Andrea R. Flores (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 12):

Ms. Flores is correct that the humanitarian parole programs for people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela represent a bright spot in President Biden’s immigration policy portfolio. These programs are of critical consequence at the border, where many of us have witnessed the devastating consequences of punitive deterrence policies.

But this bright spot extends into the interior of the U.S. as well. This week we are representing seven U.S. citizens in court to defend their freedom to sponsor those seeking to enter the U.S. through this program, which the state of Texas is trying to block.

Our clients span the political spectrum; they are Black, white and Latino, with diverse reasons for sponsoring their global neighbors. They are united by one thing: They recognize that communities have as much — or more — to gain by welcoming newcomers as the newcomers themselves.

Monika Langarica
Esther Sung
Ms. Langarica is a senior staff attorney with the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at the U.C.L.A. School of Law and Ms. Sung is legal director of the Justice Action Center.

To the Editor:

Re “New York City Shelters Are Overwhelmed by Flood of Animals” (news article, Aug. 13):

Thank you for the heart-rending descriptions of some of the delightful souls in jeopardy on the New York shelter system’s recent “emergency placement” list. In Texas, where I am now, things are no better. The shelters are bursting.

As an animal-rights activist, I hope to see all sentient beings treated with compassion and respect. I realize that if society can’t manage that kindness even toward the species we supposedly care about most, then there is not much hope — but this paper’s willingness to focus on the issue provided at least a little.

Perhaps your coverage will wake people up and persuade them to adopt rather than shop for their next furry family member.

Karen Dawn
The writer is the executive director of DawnWatch, an animal advocacy nonprofit.

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