More left behind

How many times during the past week or so has our commander in chief, Barack Obama, said that we never leave a man behind or that we will never abandon an American in a foreign prison or something like that?

Every time I hear him say those words, I think about Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a U.S. Marine in a Mexican jail because he turned on the wrong street. Or Meriam Ibrahim, the wife of a United States citizen waiting to be hanged in Sudan because she is a Christian. Or Jeffrey Edward Fowle, an American tourist being held in North Korea for allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel room.

Obama and those he looks to for military advice need to think before they speak and think several times before they act. Obama is leaving behind real Americans and real heroes being held in jails around the world.

Lowell Knouff

Elaine Street

Johns Island

Immigration issue

It's hard to believe the immigration issue went from a lead story last summer to essentially a nonexistent one this summer. It's an important issue to be so completely ignored. We as a country have to get control of this problem now or it will become so unruly and unmanageable that it could indefinitely change the social and economic landscape of our country.

This problem is not going to cure itself. Congress needs to take action soon. It needs to start taking this issue more seriously, to work together and to find a solution. I hope the U.S. House will begin discussions on this issue again soon.

Billy Shuman

Blue Crab Way

Mount Pleasant

Voter apathy

After only 15.24 percent of eligible voters in South Carolina took the time to vote in Tuesday's election, I am left with the question: Where were the other eligible voters? It is amazing to me that in a country where people have the privilege to vote almost 85 percent fail to do so.

Oh yes, they will complain when the government fails to do what they want and wonder why nothing changes. Wake up, people. It is in your hands to make things happen if you will get out there and help make a difference.

Apathy apparently is rampant in this state, and maybe that is because people are so fed up with the way this country is changing exponentially. But by voting you may actually make a difference.

I hope that when the November election rolls around and people are still complaining about the economy, jobs, etc., that they will vote.

If you want things to change, you have to be a part of making it happen.

Jan Freeman

King Charles Circle

Summerville

Paradise lost

Every morning, promptly at 7 a.m., it begins - the relentless hammering of pilings into the denuded ground, a grim reminder that Paradise Found is fast becoming Paradise Lost. The dump trucks haul in dirt to replace what the logging trucks have dug out. The beautiful wooded space surrounding our home is gone forever, as are the animals that lived there.

Ironically, the farmer just outside our development still plants crops on his small parcel of land. His dilapidated house is the only reminder of what this corner of James Island used to look like. And I am nostalgic for that serene and bygone way of life.

We left South Florida four years ago to put behind us the masses of people, polluted air, high rises, concrete evidence of how man destroys nature in the name of progress.

As we drove along Highway 17 through the marshes and watched egrets and ibises fishing, I could hardly contain my excitement at moving to Charleston and beginning a new life.

When we discovered Johns Island, 15 minutes from our home and drove under the majestic canopy of trees covered with Spanish moss on Maybank Highway, we were beside ourselves.

Unfortunately, with the end of the recession, the building craze has begun in earnest. Johns Island is an island of "for sale" signs. James Island has at least three huge clear-cut housing projects; nature is being encroached on from every side.

And these housing projects are not a pretty sight. Cookie-cutter neighborhoods, treeless, with no parks or open spaces.

Developers utilize every parcel of land to increase their profits. Thank goodness Angel Oak has been saved.

Planned growth is fine. It's inevitable. But in another 20 years, we'll be just another megalopolis, with Mount Pleasant stretching halfway to Georgetown. More jobs, more people, more houses, more traffic, more highways; fewer trees, less open space, less wildlife. More cruise ships, more tourists, more pollution, more downtown traffic snarls. Grow the city; diminish the quality of life.

The price we're paying for being the best city is way too high. Paradise Found has already turned into Paradise Lost. And this is only the beg- inning. Urban sprawl is destroying everything that made Charleston such a unique an wondrous city.

Cynthia Greene

Tidal Creek Cove

Charleston

Slamming the VA

Recent media coverage shows it is again trendy to slam the VA medical system.

The problem overlooked by the non-thinking, politically correct crowd is that the VA hospital system is overburdened by caring for the geriatric maladies of aging veterans. The vast majority of them have no service-related disabilities.

As a non-disabled Vietnam veteran, I've received excellent care from the VA hospital. Yet, I see it is blatantly unfair to ask the taxpayer to pay for lifetime medical care for veterans without service-related disabilities.

Of course, our spineless, self-serving attorney-politicians won't tackle this volatile issue honestly, logically or effectively. What was that Julius Caesar quote for solving politician/attorney abuse?

Gary W. Pollard

N. 2nd North Street

Summerville