Friday, September 11, 2009

"What's the matter with South Carolina?"

....is the title of an article by Politico. They mention Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson, Jim DeMint, and the whole Hee Haw gang:

South Carolina didn't always look like such hostile territory for Obama. He never had much hope of winning the state in the general election, but his decisive primary victory there in 2008 helped propel him to the Democratic presidential nomination. While he lost the state in November by nine percentage points to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his performance nevertheless represented the best Democratic presidential showing in nearly three decades.
[...]
While the state has also elected loose-cannon Democrats like Sen. Fritz Hollings, whose seat DeMint won when Hollings retired in 2004, it's no accident that its high-profile politicians tend to be Republicans these days or that they don’t feel bound by the constraints felt by their colleagues in more politically competitive states.

"It has traditionally been a pretty deep-red state and I think that Republican politicians feel that there's not a limit to what they can do or say when it comes to Democratic elected officials, particularly the president," said former Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges, who was defeated by Sanford in 2002. "In most places, they play the sport of politics every two or four years. In South Carolina, they play it every year. It is more important than football, to some degree."
And here's my chance to answer the question. (I sure will.)

You wanna know what's wrong? How about the fact that the rest of the country has written us off and won't fund the insurgents? This is what happens. You are looking at the result of liberals being left HIGH AND DRY.

I'm sitting right here. My blog struggles... it might be the only progressive blog in the upstate. I know for a fact it isn't the only one in the whole state--but there aren't many. Support? Hello? I almost ran for the Green Party candidacy (for Congress) some years ago, but realized I could not afford it, especially if it meant taking significant time away from my job. Anybody home?

We have been left twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

I constantly hear and read about how the national parties and various progressive organizations fund actions, bloggers and activities in affluent, liberal areas. Why? They ain't the ones that need the money, people and accompanying resources, you know?

I have witnessed the rather amazing and ostentatious spectacle of both major parties invading my state repeatedly during the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, throwing away more money than the Saudis. They inject obscene amounts of money into those campaigns, but as I said, will not fund the insurgents. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE AN AIR AMERICA RADIO STATION IN THE UPSTATE. (My repeated emails about that were totally ignored; I didn't even rate a reply. Thanks!) Basically, the answer from national progressives has been to ignore upstate South Carolina progressives "on the ground"--and please pay attention...THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.

Understand, now?

We need resources, offices, money, support. We have a radio station that is dormant that could be put to use. We have people ready to work, and radical organizations already in place. I have mentioned countless groups on this blog. YOU HAVE IGNORED US. The rich Republicans have colonized the state, and have gained enormous power that they have taken nationally, to challenge progressive change. We might have put a considerable dent in their influence, but we have no way to do that. We have been hobbled by them at every turn; they run ALL the major media outlets. At the town hall meeting I attended, as I said, there was a total of three "out" progressives. The rest were silent, inside, unorganized. I know there had to be at least another three. That might have been enough for us to feel safe raising a sign or banner, making our presence known to others and starting a necessary dialogue with local moderates. AND we could have gotten ourselves on TV or radio. As it was, we were too afraid.

WE NEED HELP. SOS.

Just answering the question.

(((sigh)))

I certainly don't expect anything to change as a result of this blog post. It would involve modern-day privileged progressives getting off their spoiled asses and doing something gutsy, as progressives did back in the day of the Freedom Riders. It would take NERVE, and kids with privilege do not appear to have any nerve left, as they did during the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements. (In fact, we do not have any appreciable anti-war movement, do we?) We need people to move to the state; we need people to share their knowledge and liberal connections with us.

What's the matter is that you wrote us off, and the rich saw that you did. As a result, you gave them a whole state to play with.

How do you like the consequences?

12 comments:

sheila said...

Yikes! Pretty pissed I see, and with good reason! Yes, the protesters are all gone now. I think either no one can afford it or everyones realized that this country is SO FAR GONE that our voices can not and will not be heard.

It's over. What you see is forever. Makes me very sad.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Sheila, I think you could be right.

Bryce said...

bravo!

Kia said...

I definitely understand both your anger and frustration and hope that the money raised by the man who is running against Joe Wilson is the start of something much more...

DaisyDeadhead said...

Hmm, just got a very good email that I wish I could publish here. The email-author does not comment on blogs.

He believes it's because the majority of progressives here in SC are black. And white progressives are uncomfortable with black progressives.

I think he's onto something.

Gregg Jocoy said...

Well Daisy, I have felt for a long time that progressive organizations across the board have abandoned South Carolina to the forces of reaction. I also believe South Carolinians are as smart as anyone else, so it's just a matter of communicating the truth to them.

For example, the South Carolina Green Party (http://www.scgreenparty.wordpress.com or http://www.scgreenparty.org) has decided to intervene against Duke Energy's application to raise their electricity rates. If average voters see progressives fighting for things that matter to them they may just decide that we are worth a second look.

Here are a couple more progressive South Carolina websites to check out.

http://www.yorkgreens.org
http://www.charlestongreenparty.org
http://www.djsilverfish.wordpress.com

The South Carolina Green Party is trying to run candidates for races they can win as well as "symbolic" races where educating the voters and going after right-wing political extremists at every turn is the order of the day. Someone with the GUTS to stand up and point to DeMint's aggressive embrace of all things wingnut won't come from the Democratic Party, so our best shots are to go after these people right where they live, at the ballot box.

As Rage Against the Machine wrote, "What better place than here? What better time than now?" The choices have been made by the national level organizations to write us off. It's up to us to prove they are wrong. If DeMint loses because the Green candidate was pointing out that the emperor wears no clothes, we all win. But I have no doubt that the Democrat will have no chance without that aggressive Green voice in the race, and any Democrat elected without a Green there to bring a progressive voice to the election will be a grayer version of the Republican any way.

Ready to get that Greenville Green Party chapter going now? ~Smile~

Gregg Jocoy said...

The Green Party did run Efia Nwangaza for US Senate, and many of the candidates we have run have been Black. I think your emailer is right in many regards, but I'd also point to the GLBT community's efforts to support Black gay rights efforts, and to the multi-ethnic nature of the state's very weak labor unions.

Racism is alive and well in every South Carolina institution, but anti-racists are active too. Reaching across racial barriers to get Black folks concerns on environmental issues addressed will serve as an example of how all of us are in a sinking boat.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ready to get that Greenville Green Party chapter going now? ~Smile~

YES! Oh hell yes.

:)

CrackerLilo said...

It would certainly be nice if these writers would *ask* the people they're writing about what their problems are before, you know, writing about their problems!

I hope something good comes from this, definitely.

And I feel a twinge of guilt. I just wrote about, among other things, a friend from Alabama and I expressing how happy we were to be in NYC, even today. (We wouldn't have left if it weren't for our wives. Still.)

D. said...

I have linked to this, but what can I say without screaming?

(Screaming about everything, simultaneously, that is.)

atlasien said...

As a Georgian, I'm sometimes grateful that South Carolina is there to make Georgia look good. If it wasn't for you guys, we might be the national laughingstock instead.

On a more serious and sympathetic note... I think a lot of reasons have to do with demographics. Here in Georgia, there's a perception that South Carolina is a much whiter state. I went to look up the actual demographics and it turns out that's wrong. Both of us are actually 30% African-American. Georgia's black population has grown in the last decade, while South Carolina's has shrunk slightly.

There's a perception out there... 1) if you are a middle-class African-American looking to move to the South, then Georgia and the Atlanta area is a good place 2) if you are a middle-class white racist Georgian who is sick of all the black people moving into your neighborhood, move to South Carolina. So it's kind of like a game of dominos. We end up with the middle-class black Great Migration returnees who are solidly Democratic. You end up with the hardline racists.

Progressive political power in Georgia is also more concentrated because Atlanta is such a big city. The Republicans who run the rest of the state hate Atlanta because it's dominated by their "unholy trinity": blacks, gays, and liberals. So for every horrible piece of slime like Lynn Westmoreland and Paul Broun and Neil Boortz we've got nationally recognized progressive figures like John Lewis and Jimmy Carter and so on.

However, we're still also underfunded nationally. So in that respect we're in the same boat. The situation with Atlanta vs. rest-of-state is so polarized that I rarely bother writing letters to politicians anymore. My local reps agree with me on everything. My senators and governor disagree with me on everything. There's not much room in the middle. Here, demographics IS politics, and gerrymandering is the only way that political power really shifts.

I think working across racial lines is going to be absolutely key in getting anything done in South Carolina. I don't know of any magical formula to get that to happen, though.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Atlasien, thanks so much for your astute comment. My husband's family is from the Atlanta area, and my father-in-law regularly boosts his blood pressure by listening to Boortz, as my mother-in-law begs him to PLEASE STOP. (lol) The only person he hated more was Newt.

I agree with your analysis, although I would add that there is a large Great Migration returnee population here also... and I consider myself a repatriated (white) southerner in that same migration. (mother's family born in the south, went north w/everyone else in depression and I was born in Ohio in 1957; returned to south in 1987.) This means I avoided the overtly (and unapologetic) racist programming/education that many others my age received.

You are correct that lots of racist white people also choose to retire here, boosting the fan-base of people like Lindsey Graham. (Right wing but knows how to behave and speak well; good southern manners.) The more aggressive ones have been responsible for electing the Joe Wilsons.

As Greenville shifts in demographics, as I said in my town hall post, the black population has moved to Spartanburg. Both counties have LARGE black populations, though... I speak of who is RUNNING the counties. (You could never get a black mayor in Greenville, although you can get a black mayor Pro Tem. It's the opposite in Spartanburg.) Real power comes from who is running the joint, as you know. Bob Jones University is also very powerful in the local GOP party, packing delegate meetings and successfully setting the agenda--and of course, their record on race is well known. I know of TWO (I repeat, TWO) black students there, in 21 years of living in this county. I know there are more (they tell me) but I only know of two. I think that speaks for itself.

Again, thanks for your insightful comments.