My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why is it Always South Carolina?

I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life, but no where have I lived that had a reputation like South Carolina. We moved here a week after Miss Teen South Carolina, competing in the Miss Teen USA Pageant, made national headlines with possibly the worst answer to a question in the history of all questions and answers (video here). Then our intellectually challenged Governor got so lost on the Appalachian Trail that he ended up in bed with an Argentinean mistress, only to then cry on national TV as he tried to explain to the world that she was his "soul mate". This last week our 2nd Congressional District Representative to the US House, Addison Graves Wilson, Sr. (he just goes by "Joe"), who was previously only known for being one of the last holdouts for taking the Confederate symbol off of the state flag, heckled the president in a joint session of Congress. Seriously.

Historically speaking, SC has a reputation for being on the wrong side of almost everything argument since our inception. From the big things, like South Carolina being the last state to sign the Constitution (and only agreeing to join the Union on the condition that the Constitution wouldn't abolish slavery), to SC being first state to secede from the Union and the last to succeed in reestablishing its native white government after Reconstruction, to all of the small things, like South Carolina being last state to abandon a simple money fine for the murder of a slave, last to recognize MLK Day, an educational ranking of 49th in the country, 48th in unemployment, one of the worst states for woman’s health care, one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, lowest infants birthrate, highest infant mortality, highest stroke death rate (which SC has had for a staggering 5 decades), 2nd highest death rate for oral cancer, one of the highest poverty rates within the US. All of this leads to the third worst life expectancy in the entire country (if there were ever a state in the US that could use health care reform, it’s South Carolina).

So naturally, with such an unhealthy, uneducated population, our representatives are going to be, well, representative. This helps to feed the rhetoric that amazes most of the country. They cannot understand why South Carolina has such high percentage of people who are unabashedly proud of their constantly poor decisions. South Carolina's arrogant backlash against what are mathematically unquestionable statistics, and inverse benevolence towards those who refuse to listen to elementary logic, are what causes the country to take note. Which is why, every couple of months, another South Carolinian makes national headlines for actions that the vast majority the country would categorize as "not too bright."

All of this continuously bad press was summed up by one of Politico’s lead headline this week: "What's the Matter with South Carolina?" The answer to Politico’s headline is simple. We are the most patriotic state in the country. We are the strongest, humblest and do more than any other state to make our country both strong and successful. Don’t believe me? What state would stand up against health care reform when they need it the most? What state would fight against government job stimulus when have skyrocketing unemployment and endemic poverty? What state would knowingly, historically and with full awareness of their actions, crucify themselves over and over again, prostrating themselves on the altar of every bad idea, hypocritical leader and backwards ideology, while still holding their heads up for the world to see? Who will? South Carolina will, that’s who. Without us, the other states would have no example of what not to be. That is our place in this country and we do a damn good job at it.

1 comment:

Kassi said...

At least you have Chapel Hill...oh wait, that's NORTH Carolina. blah.