Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feeling Sorry for South Carolina

Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina yesterday provided the latest evidence that his state lives by a different set of rules. He forgot that congressmen are supposed to respect the office of the president even when they disagree with the president himself. He called out, "You lie!", when the president said illegal aliens would not get health care benefits under his health care reform recommendations. This outburst will improve his status on right wing radio and Fauxnews, where he'll get plenty of opportunities to explain that, although he apologized for his lack of respect, he was right to call out the president for what he still considers to be a lie.

Wilson's embarassment follows South Carolina's governor Mark Sanford's exposure as a hypocrite for making several trips to Brazil to visit his mistress despite his campaigning as a religious "family values" man. Sanford continues to argue that the controversy is overblown, although the state he represents is proud to claim it's one of the most conservative in the nation.

Neither of these incidents is surprising. The deep south is well known for its double standards. Those in power often behave like scions of Arab monarchies, who jet off to London and Monaco to indulge in activities that would warrant capital punishment in their own countries. Their conduct is normally kept under wraps because it is so common; to convict one would be to jeopardize many. So it is in South Carolina, except that front page exposure forces the power structure to join together in protest that their leaders' gaffes are exceptions.

One could argue that South Carolinians can't be blamed for making the mistakes of electing people like Wilson and Sanford. These are the people who take pride in Bob Jones University, where students learn that people coexisted with dinosaurs. A place so isolated, poor, and provincial as South Carolina resembles Afganistan more than North Carolina. Perhaps we should give the people a break for simply being true to their culture. It would be a kind act to recognize the sad state of the place and feel sorry for those must live in the land of the double standard.

So, I feel sorry for South Carolina and the majority of the people who live there. They've been conditioned to believe that backwardness is a virtue. As with Afganistan, fixing the structural problems of their society is a task fraught with uncertainty, a task with no end in sight. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next headline from Columbia (that's the capital, in case you hadn't heard of it. Population, 116,000; a major metropolis.).


Dave said...

But Charleston is really nice; and, Myrtle Beach has a golf course on every corner.

Ron Davison said...

Dave's right. Charleston is a great city.
The south is gradually changing. I find it interesting that the folks who would most resent Saab driving lawyers coming down to teach their kids multiculturalism are the ones most eager to drive around the middle east helping to change that culture in the name of progress and nation building.

1138 said...

The retired Colonel got so emotional he forgot his training?
Bull - DeElect "Joe" (not his name) Wilson and the Senate should pull his rank & benefits.

Lifehiker said...

I've vacationed in Charleston/Myrtle Beach. They're great. But rural South Carolina is closer to Afganistan than most places...rural West Virginia excepted, of course.