Money corrupts

Regardless of our differences in political points of view, many of us can agree on at least one thing, namely that the exploding role of money in campaign financing is corrupting our political system and that as a result our government is no longer able to effectively address its many pressing issues.

Earlier we may have asked, “Has our government lost its ability to govern?” Today, we are asking, “What can ordinary citizens do about it?”

There is a growing network of people who are not only asking that question, but more importantly developing realistic answers.

The fact that the problem is challenging is irrelevant. And throughout our country’s history many political achievements have occurred as a result of grass-root efforts (ending Jim Crow laws, achieving women’s voting rights and even the birth of the Tea Party).

If you count yourself among those who believe that the unchecked influence of money in campaign financing has gravely flawed our political system and that it is the corrupted political system that lies at the root of our government’s inability to govern, then you may wish to add your voice to those saying that regardless of our individual politics, it is crucial that we come together as “we the people, Americans all” to reform the system.

To learn more, go to www.rootstrikers.org.

David Brown

Creek Landing

Charleston

Civic leader

The expectation of reasonable treatment by those in the service of our municipalities is regrettably low. We are too often let down and given short shrift.

As chairman of the City of Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals, Leonard Krawcheck consistently defies these expectations.

He has served in this challenging position since he was appointed in 1979 by Mayor Joe Riley, who has shown the good sense in reappointing Mr. Krawcheck to subsequent terms. Applicants and citizens appear at monthly hearings with issues great and small, but all of significant importance to them.

Invariably, Mr. Krawcheck treats everyone with a high level of respect and fairness, honoring the laws and carefully explaining his positions when difficult interpretations must be made. There is no grandstanding or condescension from him.

Win or lose, applicants and their supporters (and opponents) can leave knowing that they received an honest hearing.

Charleston has had the benefit of Mr. Krawcheck’s fair-minded wisdom for over three decades, and we should all be grateful for his service.

Tyler Smyth, AIA

Morrison Drive

Charleston

Man on the moon

Unlike Brian Hicks, I never had the opportunity to meet Neil Armstrong. By the time I had arrived at the Cape as a member of the ABC News broadcast team covering Apollo 11, he and his crewmates were quarantined in preparation for their flight.

The huge media contingent on hand collectively held its breath when launch day finally arrived, the countdown began and the towering Saturn V rocket lifted off as the ground shook and shock waves from its powerful engines buffeted us.

I doubt that any of those present exhaled until the lunar landing had been accomplished and Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins had returned safely to Earth.

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to be present for several more Apollo and space shuttle missions and to get to know numerous astronauts. Like Neil Armstrong — and unlike today’s hordes of media “celebrities” — they were almost universally reticent and self-effacing about their incredible accomplishments.

We need more American heroes such as the brave astronaut corps, but we won’t get them if we downplay manned space exploration and fail to sufficiently fund NASA.

One sidebar: Neil Armstrong was chosen to be the first man on the moon because he was a civilian. At the height of the Vietnam war and with public opinion often running against our military, the powers that be decided that he should make the first step onto the lunar surface rather than his colleague, lunar module pilot Col. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Bill Farley

Heathland Way

Mount Pleasant

Courting Islam

Many Obama supporters have claimed that his potential accomplishments were limited by difficult national and international situations he “inherited” from George Bush.

One of Obama’s first international priorities was to improve relations with the Arab-Islamic world. As such he visited several Arab countries as an apologist for previous U.S. policies, touting our common values, and even bowing to a king.

How has this paid off, and where do we stand now?

There is more turmoil, instability and support for a more radicalized (vs. secularized) version of Islam throughout the Middle East, more Islamic attacks (e.g. Maj. Nidal Hasan) and foiled plots on U.S. soil, and Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons.

One writer/film producer has referred to the evolving Middle East as a United States of Islam. Under any version of this emerging scenario, do you feel safer now than you did three and a half years ago? Obama cannot blame Bush for this.

Sig Schildcrout

Appling Drive

Mount Pleasant