On solid ground: To small to be an insane asylum?

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2013

By the time this column is published, the congressional primary results will be tallied and no matter what the outcome, South Carolina will be in the headlines again. We just can’t help it.

The fact that Palmetto State politics and the people who play the starring roles in them have a knack for the eccentric is something we’ve come to live with whether we like it or not.

As if the first congressional district special election wasn’t enough palmetto state political drama, now there’s also a television drama about- what else? - a South Carolina politician.

Netflix’s “House of Cards” is about a fictional South Carolina congressman named Francis Underwood who represents the Upstate near Gaffney.

The show is currently shooting an episode that centers around a texting-while-driving fatality caused by a reaction to the Peachoid water tower that’s visible from I-85.

If you’ve ever seen it in real life, you know why this story, like the political plot of the show, isn’t too far removed from reality.

Though we have no one to blame but ourselves for the political characters we seem drawn to like broken hearted teenagers to a bad date, we are occasionally capable of acts of redemption.

Lost in all the drama swirling around the two dozen candidates in this special election is the fact that a) the first district previously elected Tim Scott to the seat, Scott being an American success story and role model for all youth, not just African-Americans; and b) Scott’s appointment to the U.S. Senate that spurred this special election came from our state’s first female governor, whose family immigrated from India, and she was raised Sikh.

We are not the racist, good ole boy rednecks the media and others seem to think we are.

That there was so little national attention paid to those facts has not escaped many of us.

Perhaps it’s too easy to perpetuate the stereotypes and marginalize the state once called too small to be a nation and too large to be an insane asylum.

The first congressional district race will probably make a turn for the dramatic in due course. It might be during the campaign, or as we are painfully aware, it might well be after. But despite the bumps in our South Carolina political road, let’s not forget that we still have made respectable progress along it.

(Will Haynie has published more than 400 oped columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. His niche is as a humorous conservative.)

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