News Without Walls

The world has changed since the Vineyard last had a sitting President come to visit. When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a day that went down in history, it changed the way people travel. The necessary but time-consuming added security in airports and at bus terminals is now a well-settled fact of life; people hardly think about it.

And then there is the Internet, now an instant source for news. The Gazette reported on Friday that President Obama will spend a week’s vacation at Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, and in a matter of hours the story was picked up by Web publications, including the Daily Beast, the Huffington Post and America Online.

As a result the Gazette Web site was flooded with reader comments from around the country.

Coming mostly from people who have little or no knowledge of the Island, the comments cover the waterfront when it comes to opinion. Some readers are outraged that the President would spend money on a high-priced Vineyard vacation with the economy in the worst downturn since the Great Depression, while others take a more charitable view, recognizing the need for even the President to have some downtime, and some time away with his family.

As the comments continued to pour in, although thankfully at a more moderate pace, yesterday morning, here is one that stands out. It came from a Vineyard resident named David, who wrote:

“Dear Mr. President:

“Welcome to you and your lovely family to Martha’s Vineyard.

“How cool.”