The Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling was greeted with predictable joy and anger. Most notable to me, however, was House Speaker John Boehner calling for a rerun of a “step-by-step” approach to designing a better health care law. This is the mantra of plodding and small thinking, certainly not inspiring.

We have many strategic thinkers and visionaries in our society, but they no longer appear to be part of government. Instead of voices of reason and inspiration we have spiteful declarations, dedication to pledges, platitudes, and pandering to party base.

Speaker Boehner and others supporting him are not offering the public a grand plan. His step-by-step call is a process for plodding along without a plan, not a plan itself and certainly not a vision. It’s like ordering the materials for building a house without having a blueprint and believing in the end it will somehow all work out.

We need to challenge our representatives to develop and articulate a vision for our future — a strategy to stabilize our economy, develop an education system that will produce a labor and thinking resource that is the envy of the world, a military that is strong and in tune with realistic national and international priorities, and a civil tongue with which to have the national debates necessary to put a grand vision into action.

Skip Crane

Seabrook Island Road

Seabrook Island

I am proud to live in South Carolina and have been a resident since 1993. I recall the Charleston Navy Base closure shortly after moving here and how many were concerned with the economic impact of losing the area’s largest employer.

And look at us now. Boeing is building 787s in North Charleston and frequently we see announcements of related aerospace suppliers relocating or setting up operations in the area.

I recently read where South Carolina is being touted as an up-and-coming “player” in the aerospace industry. The PGA Championship, one of golf’s majors, is coming to Kiawah in August. Well done, Charleston and well done, South Carolina.

Which brings me to my point. How could we miss this?

I have taken weekly road trips this summer to points south and points north for my son’s lacrosse tournaments.

Upon returning to South Carolina on I-95 from either Georgia or North Carolina, one is welcomed to South Carolina by some very unimpressive “Welcome to South Carolina” signs. The one on the Georgia border looks like it was built in the 1970s. It needs to be re-done and landscaped. How much could that cost?

And the North Carolina border is embarrassing, too. Pedro died 25 years ago; will somebody please bury him?

First impressions are important and I’m afraid we are making a bad one on I-95.

Robert Phelan

Garland Road

Mount Pleasant

Charleston is a beautiful city. It is also a port city and has been since 1676 or before. Being a port is a significant part of its history and its future.

My family has been in this area for 300 plus years and I accept that part of choosing to live near the Wando Welch Terminal at Hobcaw Creek comes at a price.

Soot covers my deck and porches along with the furniture and curtains if my windows are open.

I do sympathize with the person featured in the July 3 story about soot from the ship, and agree that the cruise ships should not idle while in port. There are alternatives to idling and they should be utilized.

However, Charleston is a port city and has been since its inception, so it should not come as a shock to anyone that we have ships coming in and out of the harbor. It is part of what has made Charleston the prosperous beautiful city that it is.

May the ships continue to come.

Tammeria V. Tyler

Fisherman’s Bend

Mount Pleasant

Tying teachers’ pay to students’ performance is totally idiotic. There’s an old saying: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” The same goes for education. You can expose a child to education, but you can’t make him or her learn if they don’t want to.

Educating a child includes many things, mainly parental involvement. If you don’t have parents who care about their child’s education, a teacher trying to teach him or her is in a hopeless situation.

A child has to be encouraged to learn and that encouragement must first come from home.

You shouldn’t tie a teacher’s pay to student performance and results.

Joseph Ohorodnyk Sr.

Vickie Street

Ladson

I write to applaud Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Rep. James Smith and Rep. Joel Lourie for leading the call to override the recent veto by Gov. Nikki Haley of arts funding in South Carolina.

This veto is unsupported by evidence and does not reflect any principle of government that any reasonable person in the modern world understands as “core.”

Like literacy, a vital arts program is a social good that benefits the greatest number of people in the greatest possible way.

Contrary to the spin from Gov. Haley’s office, it is not the role, goal, or responsibility of the private sector to provide it.

As John Updike once wrote, “Whatever art offered the men and women of previous eras, what it offers our own, it seems to me is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit.”

By defunding the South Carolina Arts Commission, Gov. Haley’s veto doesn’t offer breathing room to anyone. The arts provide not only experiences that produce inspired and creative citizens, but also preserve and cultivate the cultural heritage for all South Carolinians.

In a recession, the costs of reduced arts funding in South Carolina and other states are greater than ever before, as entire segments of the population, especially children, young adults and lower income groups are denied life-changing experiences through art. It is these experiences that Gov. Haley’s veto will deny. The private sector has neither the obligation nor ability to fund the arts on any level that could possibly benefit the state as a whole.

It is commendable when the private sector chooses to support arts-related causes through philanthropy, but it is not the private sector’s duty. Gov. Haley is wrong.

William J. Cook

Columbia Road NW

Washington, D.C.

I have no children in Charleston County schools, but I do have grandchildren in the schools and cannot believe they can’t or won’t teach kids how to read. There is absolutely no reason for a child who reaches his freshman year in high school to be reading at a fourth-grade level.

If a child cannot read at grade level then we are certainly not doing the child or the future of our country any favors by pushing them up through the grades. Teachers are being pressured to meet certain requirements because of the No Child Left Behind program, or else they could lose their job.

It is time for us to let our teachers teach, and if a child cannot read at whatever grade level he is in then the school system must provide reading programs to help him.

A major part of the problem is that today’s parents often are so busy they can’t or won’t take the time to do their part in teaching their children how to read.

Who cares what the cost might be at this point when we should be considering what if any jobs these students might be able to find after graduation?

Why can’t we have multiple trade schools so students can at least be taught a trade which would lead to a special graduation certificate from their high school instead of the lie that they actually were taught enough to receive an actual high school diploma?

I know we have the magnet schools, but do we have one or more which only teaches the trades needed in today’s economy?

If not, then the next elephant-in-the-room question has to be why?

Norris R. Philbeck, O.D.

Appling Way

Mount Pleasant