EDITOR: While I breathed a sigh of relief when President Barack Obama won, I disagree that the "Karl Roves and Koch brothers and all the others that poured billions of dollars found out that elections can't be bought" ("Elections aren't for sale," Letters, Thursday). I donated a couple thousand dollars (that I don't really have) in an attempt to counteract those super-rich folks, and I felt like I was trying to buy an election in my own small way. I would bet that I am not alone. That is not democracy. I don't I have the financial means to do that every four years.
Our political system is in shambles. The steps needed to fix it are obvious: overturn Citizen's United, make election days national holidays, get rid of the Electoral College, ban all campaign contributions and replace them with public funding, and do away with voting oversight by partisan officials and replace them with independent authorities to handle the administration of elections.
While the outcome was decisive, only when democracy is real are elections legitimate, and only then will our elected leaders stop putting partisan politics above the best interests of our country. It is to that end that I plan to work tirelessly. I invite all concerned citizens regardless of party affiliation to join me.
<b>Life vest law</b>
EDITOR: What a horrific ordeal for the children ("Four kids, three adults saved after boat flips," Nov. 5). They were very lucky. Nowhere in the article was there mention of the state law requiring life vests for children. The law states that any child under the age of 13 must wear a life vest while in a boat on the water. Adults must have a life vest on the boat for each occupant on the boat, and it must be readily accessible.
Those who enforce our waterways must enforce the law just as a police officer would do if he witnessed a child without a seat belt in a moving vehicle.
Stiff fines should be in place for those who refuse to abide by the law. Behavior changes when your wallet gets lighter.
<b>Carnivores and climate</b>
EDITOR: Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future. Although we're unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use and our meat consumption.
Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
We have the power of reducing the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch "meats" — hot dogs, veggie burgers, soy and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream) — and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.