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Letters to the editor of the Globe Magazine

Readers sound off about arranged marriages and the question of whether Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been elected president.

I Do?

I wish Palak Patel a lovely wedding and a long, happy marriage when the time comes for her (Perspective, July 1). I can speak from the other end of an arranged marriage. We just celebrated 50 years of one. Having decided to live in the United States and raise our children here, we never even considered arranged marriages for them. Ultimately, I think, it is not how you meet the person or how wonderful the wedding is. Marriage is hard work. It requires setting your expectations right, love, compassion, compromise, and commitment.

Champa Bilwakesh / Andover

Arranged marriage can be less than ideal for the bride in some cultures. A young Indian roommate of mine when I lived in Cambridge had escaped an arranged marriage. She had married a man in India picked out for her by her parents and the young couple came to live in Massachusetts. As time went by he repeatedly beat her, and she escaped after he almost killed her. The local Indian community supported her husband. When she finally told her father back in India, he was supportive. But the dowry was lost to the husband. When I met her she was happy just to have escaped and was starting a new life.

Elizabeth Taylor / Shirley

Political What-Ifs

Neil Swidey’s article on Bill Clinton is very provocative and interesting (“How The Democrats Would Be Better Off Today If Bill Clinton Had Never Been President,” July 15). Nevertheless, I think some credit for putting the country on the path to extraordinary polarization of wealth has to go to Ronald Reagan and his tax cuts. By the time Clinton came to office, the maximal tax rates were already nothing like the amazingly high rates that caused a narrowing of the wealth gap in the middle of the 20th century.

Jordan Kreidberg / Waltham

I can agree that Clinton was a disappointment and in retrospect a very sad one. His affair with Monica Lewinsky was disgraceful to the office and the nation. Yet in recent years he just cannot stay quiet or invisible. Hillary Clinton’s biggest baggage was Bill Clinton, although she lost the race all by herself.

Richard Heath / Jamaica Plain

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Bill Clinton may well have been one of the early instigators for the #MeToo movement, as women began to understand and are still learning the ways in which they are and have been exploited by men in power. He learned that his natural charisma plus an ability to make deals, all without a shred of remorse for victims, kept him in good stead no matter what he said or did. If the country can only begin to heal itself in November 2018, perhaps in November 2020 we’ll have found a new hero. We can only hope that honesty and humility might match her/his other virtues.

Sara F. Crafts / Oak Bluffs

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We don’t need alternative histories of Clinton any more than we need alternative facts from the current administration. If [Swidey doesn’t] think Clinton’s presidency has a foundational legacy, then what does [he] have to say about Obama’s presidency? His signature achievement was clearly [the Affordable Care Act], but it doesn’t appear likely to survive in any form. That doesn’t take away from the accomplishment of getting it approved.

Jim Lewis/ Meridian, Idaho

As an unenrolled voter with liberal inclinations and a baby boomer who loathed Ronald Reagan, felt George H.W. Bush’s presidency was taken from the former’s playbook, and supported Clinton during both his runs for presidency, I considered not reading [this article]. I am very glad that I did . Not since reading Man of the House by Tip O’Neill have I been so enlightened about and alternately entertained by things political!

Linda Mae Breen / Hull

I think this went unmentioned in your article: The [Clinton] family’s decades of control of the Democratic Party, anticipating his wife’s candidacy. [It was] a minor miracle that Obama managed to cut in line. A political party is like a professional baseball team: It needs a good minor league system to produce stars of all ages.

Harry Mairson / Brookline

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