Welcome children

In response to an Aug. 5 letter to the editor, "Immigration mess": The United States was not "founded upon the rule of law." There was a revolution, a rebellion that could be defined as a "blatant, wholesale disregard of the law." Our founders knew there was a better way. Most who come here also seek a better way.

I applaud those churches taking in desperate, refugee children. Our new brothers' and sisters' contributions to the productivity of our nation, to our culture through their food, art and literature, to the tax base, inventions, and other contributions will far outweigh any burdens on our welfare, school or police resources.

Health care should certainly be available to all children because of America's compassion, not because of overstated fears of spreading disease.

What is disturbing is that in such a wealthy nation, the selfishness and greed that caused the greatest economic downturn in generations continues to be perpetuated in the midst of a volatile recovery.

Is it too much to expect that we are "our brother's keeper"?

Christopher Inglese

Honeysuckle Lane

Charleston

Recycle JCC

Earlier this year The Post and Courier ran a story about the alarming amount of vacant commercial property in West Ashley. Observing the number of vacant storefronts in Citadel Mall leaves one to ponder how long this mall can remain viable.

Does it make sense that the city is considering the construction of a new building on the Roper St. Francis complex as a senior center?

The Jewish Community Center has recently come on the market and is ideally suited for a first class center for the seniors of West Ashley.

I urge the city to consider the JCC as an alternative to building the senior center at Roper.

James Gigantino

Gallberry Street

Charleston

Missing the mark

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen wants to raise teachers' pay?

Brilliant.

He wants smaller class sizes.

Sheer genius.

Why has no one had these thoughts before? Sen. Sheheen is the kind of creative, innovative, original thinker we have been waiting for.

The only concept he has put forward which might actually help would be expansion of 4-year-old kindergarten.

Some years ago I received from Dr. Barbara Nielsen (at that time state superintendent of education) the results of a statistical study by the Department of Education.

At that time the four things that were found to affect student performance were: 1) percent of students receiving free lunch; 2) percent of students receiving reduced price lunch; 3) percent of students meeting or exceeding the Cognitive Skills Assessment Battery (CSAB) readiness standard; and 4) mean years of teacher education. I strongly suspect that is also the case today.

As long as politicians and educators pursue non-factors like teacher pay or smaller class sizes we are doomed to wallow at the bottom.

Wouldn't it be great if some actual genius came along and gave us a way to attack the real problem?

Unfortunately, this would mean pointing a finger at failing parents, which is another "third rail" of politics.

Gary Heidebrecht

Ruple Drive

Orangeburg

Christian heroes

Some have expressed criticism in response to the infection of two American workers with the Ebola virus and their return to the U.S. for treatment. In a recent article, commentator Ann Coulter is quoted as saying the condition of one of the victims, Dr. Kent Brantley, has been "downgraded to idiotic." A slightly more moderate Donald Trump says such people are "great" but must be left to "suffer the consequences" of their decisions.

There is dissonance between evangelicals and seculars here. Coulter tacitly assumes that the two Americans' convictions align with hers and that they assumed excessive risk absent potential for benefit. Yet Christians undertake such work with hopes of eternal benefit.

Christians believe in a literal Heaven and Hell and that faith in Christ makes the difference. Christian Scriptures command this message be shared with all people.

Christians witness to this message through word and deed throughout the world, particularly in places where there are no indigenous Christians to give it voice.

Reasonable people may disagree with these workers' beliefs but should not call them idiots for undertaking actions that naturally issue from such beliefs. They were not accepting risk absent potential for benefit. They were acting with courage in the face of danger.

Is such behavior idiotic? Coulter is criticizing that which she does not understand, and that is the substance of prejudice.

Scott Broome

Shem Butler Court

Charleston

Veterans care

I'm a veteran, and I'm totally against this $16 billion increase in veterans administration spending without a tax increase to pay for it. With our national debt approaching $18 trillion and the interest on federal and states' debt for October 2013 through May 2014 over $257 billion according to the website Treasury Direct, who in his right mind would add to that debt?

I'm 66 years old, and I've never seen or even imagined that we would have such poor leadership as we have in Washington today. These people will do anything, even support policies that in the long run do great harm to their country, in order to hold on to their exalted positions. I'm ashamed of America. Looking back, July 4, 1976, was one of the happiest days of my life. American democracy had endured for 200 years. We were still the country my ancestors had built. It was still a great country.

America is no longer great. It has abandoned the path our great leaders told us to walk on. We are dependent on Communist China to pay our bills. We've lost our pride and willingness to do what it takes to be self-sufficient.

My Jeremiah is this: "Our days are numbered. We have been weighed in the balance and found wanting."

Gary H. Knight

Old State Road

Holly Hill

Leadership failure

When a president is failing so completely it is tempting, but ultimately fruitless, to grasp at straws like impeachment. President Obama's failure comes from his obvious executive inexperience, his misguided and ineffective policies and zealot-like faith in the government.

However, there is a more fundamental cause. The existential failing is that Obama is not a leader. Leaders, and particularly the most powerful leader in the world, have the job of bringing out the best in people in service to a greater cause.

All great leaders find a way to articulate a vision that appeals to the best in us. Blaming others is not a vision.

Martin Luther King had a dream for all people including those who he knew hated and despised him. Ronald Reagan believed that America is the shining city on the hill, and that genuine belief informed all of his policies. He trusted America.

Lincoln refused to punish the South and knew his higher calling was to save the nation. None of these men was perfect, all were deeply flawed. However, they found a way to bring people together and to bring them along.

Obama's failure was certainly predictable given his meager record of accomplishment. However, even more telling was the arrogant self centeredness of his rhetoric: "We are the ones we have been waiting for" and "Yes we can."

He never presented a vision or cause greater than himself.

It has always been about letting the "right people" take over so they can get their hands on the levers of power and straighten things out. It is never about empowering and leading others toward something bigger than themselves.

I pray that we find men and women to lead us with humility and wisdom to reverse the damage done by President Obama and his ilk.

R. CLARK THOMPSON

Pignatelli Road

Mount Pleasant