November 17, 2010
NOTE: This commentary quoted here is by Summer Solum whom I know personally as a fellow activist in the midlands of South Carolina. It was in an email sent to me and I post it here with the author’s specific permission. It is a very good overview of the current situation in South Carolina. It so well expresses the concerns of so very many people I have talked to that I could do no better:
“Like many regular working people, I have been very busy & unable to write this email before now. I’m assuming by the time this is read, the Bobby Harrell vote will be over, but I wanted to state some of my thoughts on the matter anyway.
“I am not sure that everyone in the Statehouse understands what this is all about. In general, most SC legislators think that this “fad” will pass, just like previous movements. It has been implied by some of the members of the General Assembly that the reform people are well-meaning but confused about “how things work”. It has even been implied by some that the effort to dethrone Bobby Harrell is payback by reformers on Haley’s behalf. They could not be more wrong.
“There are over 70 different conservative groups in SC alone–each with its own area of focus–and I can’t even to begin to imagine how many people are involved nationwide. The media has lumped them all under the “tea party” label. A recent Rasmussen poll showed that nationally over 25% of the people either considered themselves part of the tea party movement or had a family member who was. Exit polls showed that over 50% identified with the tea party ideals & goals.
“In Lexington County, I would estimate that the numbers are probably higher since this county is extremely “red”. The tea party people are not going to back down or get tired. They have had enough of “business as usual”. I’ve heard them everywhere and anywhere I’ve been. They are serious, they are motivated, they are vigilant, and they are dead serious. This is a true revival of our founding principles. I know this if I know anything: this movement isn’t about any one piece of legislation nor any one person.
“Contrary to media portrayal, this movement really started to pick up steam back during Bush’s term. Certain provisions in the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act & of course, the infamous T.A.R.P. Act woke up many, many more members of the previously sleeping electorate. By the time the second set of bailouts & Obamacare came about, the fire was already lit and was then starting to blaze. With the help of the new technology we now have at our disposal, electrons and pixels replaced pitchforks and torches. All of the various groups were now communicating and coordinating and eagerly learning how to be effective as a unit. The overall “tea party” reform movement today is simply a continuation of those efforts.
“For those who are paying attention, SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell represents the kind of leadership that helped assure South Carolina’s place as dead last (or close to it) in many important areas. It has become painfully obvious that simply pointing fingers at the Democrats for our problems was useless and largely hypocritical since an effective opposition party does not, for all practical purposes, exist in this state. New leadership is essential and will be put into place one way or another.
“Many of his RINO detractors say that Rep. Ralph Norman would not follow the unwritten rules of etiquette that a House Speaker supposedly needs. Ralph Norman has even been accused of being a “straight arrow”–as if that were a bad thing! There seems to be no limit to the twisted logic and bizarre statements used by members of the establishment to denigrate someone who will stand on principle in the SC House.
“As I recall, some of those same sorts of comments were made about Governor-elect Haley. Members of the national GOP have routinely said the same things about US Senator Jim DeMint. Members of the RINO establishment such as Karl Rove, Trent Lott and others were even brazen enough to openly talk of co-opting the new members of Congress & indoctrinating them into the “business as usual” attitude.
“There is obviously a plan at the state level for RINOs to co-opt new SC legislators. It would go against all we already know of the entrenched big money, big government establishment if there were not an active effort to do just that. Change is a hard thing for most people and those who are dependent on free-spending legislators with billions of tax dollars at their disposal can not be expected to let all that money be taken so quickly out of their hands.
“Men like Bobby Harrell remind me a bit of J.R. Ewing from the old TV series, Dallas: he’s always ready to make some token concessions if there is no other way but you had better watch your backside afterwards because there WILL be retribution of some sort. Based on Bobby Harrell’s past behavior, I am utterly unable to trust him nor can I believe that his current “conciliatory” attitude is anywhere close to the reality of the situation.
“Straight arrows & backbones are what this country and this state need now. We need people who will stand up for what is right, no matter the consequences. We have suffered greatly and far too long from those who do just the opposite and repeatedly violate their trusts as they smile and twist the knives in our backs just a little more.
“I ask myself, why would a legislator who seems to be an honest, straightforward person resist getting rid of Bobby Harrell? Maybe he’s been bought and paid for by Bobby Harrell and the corrupt establishment. Or, to give him the benefit of a doubt, maybe he thinks there isn’t any other way for the system to work besides Bobby’s way. I and a LOT of others think there is another way. What’s more, we think it’s way past time to give it a try.”
Thanks, Summer! You’ve said it all! We may not win this one but we’re all in this fight for the long run and eventually this state will reform for the better in terms of liberty, morality, equality under the law, and true self-governance–WTC.