Vote conscience

Standing up for political principles is honorable, but philosophical musings and ideology will not move our country forward. We need elected representatives who are able to collaborate with other members of Congress, regardless of party.

The gridlock we currently endure in Congress needs to be broken, and new faces on the scene could be key to that. This is not the time to back away from difficult issues by using outdated ideas and stale speeches to delay and prevent legislation. Rather we need innovative ideas, negotiation and energetic participants.

I am hopeful that voters in the Lowcountry will thoughtfully consider which candidate for the 1st Congressional District can best serve unhampered in Washington, and choose wisely.

Remember, regardless of which primary you voted in, this special election on May 7 becomes an open slate, so vote your conscience.

Freida F. McDuffie

Harbor Oaks Drive

Charleston

Busch’s backers

This year’s 1st District Congressional election will be an easy choice for voters. We know what Mark Sanford is about. He is a fiscal conservative and, yes, he has made some embarrassing mistakes.

But what do we really know about his opponent?

National media have confirmed that Elizabeth Colbert Busch will be on the ballot not only as a Democrat, but also as a candidate of the ultra-left Working Families Party.

Those of you who are inclined to vote for Busch should do all of us a favor by looking on line to see what the WFP is all about. You don’t have to look far to see that it is an arm of ACORN. If WFP and ACORN support Busch, she is no moderate. She is far left. She will fit right in with Obama and his crowd.

My thought process goes as follows: If you think Sanford’s flaws are worse than the Obama agenda, you vote for Busch.

If, however, you feel that Obama’s assault on what we believe as the American way of life is worse that Sanford’s mistakes, you must vote for Sanford.

Whatever you do, please vote.

Don Sealey

Knotweed Court

Bluffton

Julie Anne Trouche

I knew Julie Anne Trouche as a strong neighborhood mom and positive, understanding teacher who could be funny as all-get-out. That she raised so many dynamic, smart, focused children when she herself was an only child is a perfect testament to her strong character — the character that drew so many of us to her.

Being around all of her children during the wake and the funeral reminded me of many of her good qualities: energetic, direct, authentic, charming, intelligent, hilarious, to name some.

Her legacy definitely lives on in this growing extended family. Remembering how proud she was of her students, I imagine how she beams with pride over her village of family, students, neighbors and friends.

Gregg Smythe

Stone Post Road

James Island

Buying a gun

One issue of discussion has been what you don’t have to do to buy a gun. A simple fact test will explain. Go to a licensed firearms dealer and ask to buy a pistol.

See how quickly they begin to record your personal data to send to SLED for your background check, which is required by S.C. law. Every concealed-carry permit holder in South Carolina has undergone a background check.

Cash is king, but knowledge is essential.

Patrick White

Henrietta Hartford

Mount Pleasant

Educational drive

Many politicians and teacher unions believe it requires only spending more money to raise the level of student achievement. But what is student achievement (education)?

From my experience, education is the result of learning and experiences, and learning and experiences are the act of studying and doing.

The primary driver in the education process is a person’s desire to put forth the necessary effort to study, learn and do. Therefore, what makes a person want to be educated?

It is a desire to improve one’s position in society, and a student’s desire must be defined and nurtured through one’s family, surroundings and environment. If government really wants to improve education, the national conversation must be focused on how to change the family mindset such that the student desires a better life.

No person or government can give or buy a person an education; it requires personal effort. Unfortunately, there will always be people who do not want to earn a better life.

Jerry Johnson

Prestwick Court

Summerville

Texters invincible

Shirley Greene’s April 15 column was titled “Texting and driving: Just stop it.” While I agree with Ms. Greene, I cannot help but believe that self-policing is unlikely.

Those who think they can “handle it” will continue to believe that they are invincible and that tragedies will happen only to “other people.”

I, too, have seen dangerous and irresponsible behavior while driving from Mount Pleasant to my office downtown.

While I share her belief that driving would be much safer if people would just put down their mobile phones, I would like to share a couple of tidbits that I have picked up at Marketing Research conferences in the past year:

1) Among states/municipalities that have enacted bans against texting while driving, the short-term effect is a 27 percent (on average) increase in accidents due to distracted driving.

“An increase?” you cry in dismay.

Yes, texters who would normally hold the phone between their hands at the top of the steering wheel so they could see the road while texting instead put the phone down in their lap so they don’t get caught by police, and therefore aren’t able to see the road at all.

2) High school students in the last few years are no longer as interested in getting their driver’s license as they have been in the past. Getting your driver’s license used to be a rite of passage on a 16-year-old’s birthday. Now many are opting to wait because it would curtail their texting and gaming on mobile devices.

As long as mom is willing to drive them around, then having their driver’s license isn’t seen as a necessity.

Who would have guessed?

Bruce McCleary

Hermit Crab Way

Mount Pleasant

Not trustworthy

Mark Sanford, during his eight years as governor, had constant disagreements with his own Republican Legislature. Notably, in 2005 he vetoed the entire state budget, something never heard of before, and his veto was overridden by the Legislature.

In fact, the record shows his vetoes were overridden over 80 percent of the time. Some observers remarked he had more trouble with Republicans than Democrats.

Even more seriously, Sanford was taken to court to force him to take federal stimulus money, which saved thousands of South Carolina jobs as the recession began to have serious effects nationwide.

Finally, he preaches frugality and spending cuts but was levied the highest ethics fine ever for violations of state travel policy.

The facts speak loudly —Sanford cannot be trusted. As an elementary teacher would say, “He doesn’t play well with others.”

Bob Ielfield

Sequoia Drive

Summerville

Road delays

If they keep delaying the Harborview Road improvements, they will have paved the entire road just filling in the potholes!

Another public meeting will be held tonight from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Stiles Point Elementary School. Can we just get on with it?

Betty Sandifer

Parrot Creek Way

Charleston