Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moseying around the South Carolina state house

Usually my daughter, Miss Wiggles, and I escape from the house as quickly as possible Sunday mornings before Dragonwife get all motivated about cleaning and reorganizing some aspect of the of a room or closet. Most weekends have us visiting Riverbanks Zoo or the South Carolina state museum in which we both have memberships. Both places are fantastic, offering much in the way of things to do in an otherwise dull area. But with a amazingly bright and sunny day we skipped our usual haunts for a nice walk around the state house.

As Civil War aficionados will eagerly tell you General Sherman burned the city of Columbia and the old state house to the ground. He also shelled this one although construction was not yet finished with most of the damage on the interior of the unfinished building and only light damage on the outside.
Since all that unpleasantness is long past the state house grounds now boasts an almost park-like appearance with beautiful trees and flowers. But Miss Wiggles and I were very surprised at all the diligent public servants we found mingling amongst the common folk on such a nice day. You can see Miss Wiggles and the great dog Sparky close to the statue of George Washington mounted on the steps. No, I would not let Sparky pee on this particular George's statue, all other Georges though I would probably pee on them myself.

We had several brief encounters with various state legislators and senators rummaging through the underbrush of the state house grounds. I'm not certain what section of the state this fellow represents since once he realized I had nothing in the way of food or money to give him he quickly lost interest in me. Now there is an outside chance that this is just a simple squirrel struggling to make a living like the rest of us but whenever on the state house grounds it is always safer to assume that when running across some animal that he or she is some politician. I'm figuring this animal was one of the few Democrats since he wasn't carrying a Bible or foaming at the mouth like most Republicans.

Surprisingly we came across Governor Sanford sunning himself planning his 2012 presidential run. Since Jindal apparently crashed and burned and Palin still hasn't figured out Africa is a continent and gets upset whenever someone asks about her reading habits Sanford is feeling pretty good.

He is always a nice man and it's so special to have someone so worried about the effects of running up the national debt. Little issues like turning down stimlus funds to help state agencies bridge the gap until things get better so they can continue to help those that need it are small matters when you are planning the holy campaign to take back the White House from Godless commies.

None of the encounters with our elected officials lasted long. Sparky would start straining at the leash barking and trying to bite them and they would quickly jump back into the shadowy underbrush. We looked for a few trying to get them back out into the light but all we found were worms and bugs claiming to be members of Cheney, Romney, and Bush families. On a side note I always figured Cheney's undisclosed location was a hole in the ground but I never thought it would be here in South Carolina.

The only scary thing we saw was a fat slug that carried a uncanny resemblance to Rush Limbaugh dragging an empty bottle of Viagra in its slimy trail.

The main reason we came was to see the azalea bushes blooming. My grandfather has several azalea bushes in his yard while I was growing up and I always thought the explosion of color they offered in the spring was at least one sign that God existed. Every year I try and plan a trip down to Magnolia Plantation in Charleston to see the azaleas down there but I just never can seem to make it. And it looks like once again I will not make it, so Wiggles and I dropped by to look at these. And I'll be damned but I didn't get the focus or the light settings right screwing up the picture.

In March of 2001, an event of note took place with the dedication of an African-American History Monument on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. State senator Darrell Jackson called it “a reflection of what can be done when all citizens work together in unity” (Bauerlein, “There are so many things,” 2001, A1, 12). The African-American Monument, the first such structure to be built on the grounds of a state capitol, had its genesis in a 1994 proposal for a state Heritage Act. Republican State Senator John Courson wrote the Heritage Act in an attempt to develop a compromise that would remove the Confederate flag from the State House dome. The legislation passed the state Senate but failed in the House. Two years later the state Senate passed another piece of legislation to create a monument, but the House refused to consider the bill. Two state senators, Darrell Jackson, an African-American Democrat, and Glenn McConnell, a white Republican, then tied the bill to an economic development proposal that Governor Beasley favored. Beasley responded by calling the legislature into special session, and the House passed both bills.
Although each of the twelve beautiful panels on the African-American Monument represents something of significance in the experience of South Carolina’s African-Americans, a visitor will find no words of explanation or captions under each panel. Following a series of public hearings across the state the Monument Commission determined that the African-American Monument would not “represent any actual human being who actually lived” (Davis, 2002). The casual visitor may look at a panel and think of an important historical figure like retired South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest Finney, musician Dizzy Gillespie, or tennis player Althea Gibson. Some of the media even reported that the figures on the panels represent real people (Crumbo, 2001,A8). But the official position of the Monument Commission was that the panels would not be “an official, literal interpretation” of anyone (Davis, 2002). Each viewer should interpret the meaning for him or herself.

On the pavement in front of the Monument there is a depiction of a tightly packed slave ship.

It may be hard to believe in this day and age but it is not hard to find someone who will defend what was done to African-Americans during slavery. They wallow in some sort of delusional fantasy about the "Lost Cause" and speak of how the Civil War was about many other things but not really slavery. The fact that other reasons contributed to the Civil War is not in doubt, but what remains is that the South did depend on slavery as its economic backbone that allowed a few to have a rich and pampered lifestyle while many worked under inhuman bondage, for me that can never be defended.

On one of my earlier visits to the state house two visiting Japanese gentlemen asked me to explain why the Confederate flag was still flying so many years after the South was defeated. They wondered about their country, defeated after the Second World War, including the nuclear bombing of two of their cities, and how everything their grandparents held dear was forced to be cast aside.
It was a very uncomfortable discussion since I didn't see them or their grandparents as the victims of American imperialism.
I tried my best to explain how some people in the state feel about that flag although I didn't hold the same opinion. That really confused them and we parted without any understanding. Although I'm sure they now think Americans are far crazier than they ever imagined.

Just when I think I have this state figured out it goes and throws me for a loop. No, I did not post this wanted flier but if I found the guy who did I would buy him a beer. If it was a lady that did it I would ask her out for a nice dinner and ask her to marry me, especially if she was a nice looking hippy chick not wearing a bra.


Beach Bum said...

Okay, I said I was taking a break from politics but the devil made me do it. And yes, One of the pictures in this post was not taken at the state house but the zoo, so shoot me.

lime said...

sounds like you, miss wiggles, and sparky know how to spend a relaxing and beautiful weekend day together.

the conversation with the japanese gentlemen must have been rather surreal to say the least.

Randal Graves said...

What a great post on levels both humorous and serious. It truly had to be difficult trying to explain that not all Americans, despite our propensity to be so on teevee or in DC, are insane.

If The Undisclosed Location® is there, did you notice a caravan of shredders? I imagine Unka Dick is still getting rid of the evidence.

Dusty said...

Love it Bum! You had snark, history,reality and great photos in this post. ;)

This made me smirk:
this one was of the few Democrats since he wasn't carrying a Bible or foaming at the mouth like most Republicans.

The photo of your gov sunning himself cracked me up..too cute!

Beach Bum said...

Lime: As far as the Japanese gentlemen are concerned I believe a great deal was lost in translation. But all things considered I would have rather spent the weekend at the beach instead of something akin to a house ill repute.

Randal: Caravan of shredders? Yeah, all that stuff makes great mulch for the plants. Cheney was a less of a concern, instead I was worried about the slug. Since my daughter was around and the slug is known to frequent countries that have underage sex clubs with bottle of Viagra not prescribed to him I got her out of there.

Dusty: I don't think the good governor would appreciate the humor. And I'm sure as hell the merkats would be upset with the insult.

Beach Bum said...

I liked the bit about the hippy chick without the bra - personally, I'm not fussy if they're hippies, bra-less - just as long as they're female and there's no hair showing on their top lip (or chin come to think about it).

I'm glad you are as jaundiced about your political class as we are here in the UK. I'm seriously thinking of starting a revolution. I need a beret first though.

And the visitors from Nippon or Nihon as I think they refer to it. Yes, I'm very wabi sabi but having just read Nemesis by Max Hastings (you would enjoy), the idea that they were the persecuted ones is a bit rich. Still, forgive and forget and all that. As Basil Fawlty would say, "it's best not to mention the war!" I still think Hitler has only got one ball (name that tune)

Sara Sue said...

Miss Wiggles and Sparky rock! What great shots! Governor Sanford made me spit my beverage! Great post!

Beach Bum said...

The true Beach Bum: My hippy chick fantasy comes from a totally awesome young hippy lady in the 60's who gave what I consider my first kiss when I was about five years old.
She seriously looked like she had just come from Woodstock.
I know the years and my lack of true mental clarity has certainly made her more of a goddess than I remember but I guess fantasies are what make life bearable sometimes.

Yeah, I'm pretty much done right now with politics, I still support Obama but the chattering entities in Congress have turned me off.

Sara Sue: I just hope the merkats, from which I got the picture, at the zoo don't mug me when I go back Sunday. Those crazy guys have ways of knowing things.

Suzan said...

I'll bet he's pretty sure no one will look for him in S.C. though.

It's his ultimate getaway.

Love your stuff!


P.S. No shooting allowed!

MadMike said...

Beach you once again made my day. I, like Dusty, loved the squirrel analogy,along with the Sanford Meerkat,and laughed out loud at both. There is an inevitable sameness about these Southern states and I see it in your observations of South Carolina. I see the same observations being made here in Georgia.


Wow! Those are stunning spots. I like the Wanted poster -- does it say dead or alive?

Hi Beach... I too don't feel like writing about politics and would like to rant against these bankers instead.

God, how I despise these greedy incompetent bankers.

Lotsoluv to Miss Wiggles.

Beach Bum said...

Suzan: I have to apologize, I was suppose to have added you to my bloglist awhile back and never got around to it. I will correct that ASAP.

MadMike: I am truly tired of politics and have started to avoid MSNBC even with my neanderthal-like lusting after that channel's news ladies. But after the trip to the state house I found this post sort of put itself together.
For me, having at least a limited self-awareness, I find living in the south a mixed blessing. The environment and the true culture of the people are parts of my soul that I don't think I could ever live without. But the politics and the good-old-boy culture of ignorance are things that I could definitely do without. Add to that the suburban lifestyle and it gets me close to expatiating. Shit Mike, give me some idea whenever you might be in Savannah or Atlanta and I'll come up for a beer or two.

Hill: Yeah, Bankers are pretty far down on my list of people I would pee on if I found them on fire. The wanted poster? I simply freaked seeing it posted. I have to admit that it was a couple of blocks away from the state house on a telephone pole next a very liberal coffee house/independent cinema.
Just want to give you a heads up but my wife and son should be coming to London in 2010 on a school sponsored trip. I wanted to come but for some reason adding my daughter sent the price through the already high roof.
So she and I will being going to Jamaica. Still if a few things change my daughter and could alter our plans an join my wife and son. If that works out I want to drink a beer or whatever with you and your friend Dave, he is a serious hoot.

Suzan said...

Thanks for the linky love, sweetie!

At least we know there're two of us around these parts.

I also love the pic of Sanford. It does him justice.

MadMike said...

Beach I will take you up on that beer! I am often in Atlanta and would love to go to Savannah.

Beach Bum said...

Suzan: Did some local surfing around and I really didn't find any blogs along our lines. Lots of sports, family, and Christian blogs though.

MadMike: Sounds like a plan, I want to take the kids to the Georgia Aquarium again at some point, it might make a good reference point.

Suzan said...

And, of course, if you're ever in the Greensboro area, we could have a drink and share stories.

Bring the kids!


Beach Bum said...

Suzan: Absolutely, and at least one kid always goes with me.

Distributorcap said...

pictures of politics dont count as politics

that was great.. can you come give tours of Albany?

Beach Bum said...

DCap: Only if Spitzer's girlfriend shows up for a party.
Squirrely Southern politicians are bad enough.

Keshi said...

Im so very glad that u hv Miss Wiggles with ya :) She sounds like perfect company for ur getaways.

And these pics r amazing..really nice! I should visit ya some day :) But South Carolina seems so far away WOW!


Keshi said...

And I love the way u described the squirrels lol! the pics of em sun-bathing r too funny!


Beach Bum said...

Keshi: My daughter makes for an interesting travel companion. She is even more adventurous and open to people than me.

As for coming to South Carolina if you ever do I would be more than honored to show you around.

As for the squirrels, you have to watch out for them. They are charming thieves. The politicians, they are rats without tails.

Keshi said...

aww ty BB!

**charnming thieves

dun worry, I aint no fool ;-)


Malicious Intent said...

That last photo was the best.
We take leaders of other countries to court for crimes against come we cannot practice what we preach here?

Beach Bum said...

Keshi: I really dig squirrels. I watched a group of them one day steal a picnic meal a couple had laid out and then for some reason walked away from.

Malicious Intent: Another wanted poster was posted nearby, I'll put it on my site soon.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures in this...

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