Thursday, October 23, 2014

Don't Hold It Against Me

Back in January of 2011 I am sitting at a totally awesome beach-side bar on Grand Cayman island sipping a rather expensive beer enjoying both the tropical atmosphere and the eclectic bunch of people around me. The bar was Calico Jacks located on Seven Mile Beach and the group sharing this exotic local represented a good chunk of Humanity.

There was a Japanese couple, nice people who I suspect were academics of some sort. Don't ask me why I believe that, its just listening to them talk it was clear they were brilliant people. There was a British guy with a fantastic sense of humor who in my opinion was the social lubricant of our small and temporary group. His name was Michael, I believe, and he had a clear talent at breaking the awkward silence that often reigns when total strangers are in close proximity. Michael described his profession back home in Birmingham as an office bound instigator and reluctant mediator, not exactly sure what he meant but he made my time at that bar especially enjoyable. Directly across from me was an attractive lady from Canada, don't remember her name but from the looks she was giving Michael I suspect the dude was going to get exceptionally lucky sometime later that day. Rounding out my bar mates was another couple from Germany, a guy from Brazil, and a muscular Russian fellow who while never admitting a damn thing screamed Spentsnaz in his demeanor and bearing.

During this all too short enjoyable time Michael livened up everything enough, much like an emcee hosting a party, to get us all to say where we lived. Given my seating position at the bar I was last but when I said South Carolina the entire bar busted out in uproarious laughter.

It was immediately clear to me that South Carolina's reputation as an arrogant and ignorant backwater had gone worldwide. Making matters worse the good governor Mark Sanford had relatively recently gotten caught with his proverbial pants down. See this upstanding and moral individual, who was being looked at by the Republican party as a possible presidential nominee sometime in the future, had in 2009 supposedly gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail but somehow got lost and ended up in Argentina in the arms of his mistress. Now I admit, a politician having an affair is nothing new, but old Mark put a new spin on things by leaving the freaking United States without telling anyone in the statehouse. Yes, also means he didn't leave anyone else in charge should some type of an emergency occur needing immediate action.

Please my friends,” I said after finishing off my beer, “don't hold my home state against me, I'm really a nice guy.” My protest didn't exactly end the laughter but I was cool about the whole thing. What sort of made me laugh in return was the realization that most from South Carolina would have stormed off upset. Truth be told, South Carolina has worked hard to be perceived around the world as something between an American version of a banana republic and a collection of hopeless rednecks forever lamenting the defeat of the Confederacy.

Alas, not only has nothing changed since then but there is evidence that the situation has only gotten worse. Case in point, the one genuine redeeming jewel of this state, the glorious city of Charleston, somehow votes the world traveling adulterer Mark Sanford back into the United States Congress. On a side note, Sanford recently broke off his relationship with his Argentine “soul mate” by sending a message over Facebook, a truly classy way of doing things.

His replacement as governor, Nikki Haley, is also doing her best to keep South Carolina a bastion of the ridiculous while groveling like a twenty-dollar hooker to corporate CEO's at the expense of a large segment of the population. Ignoring her statement saying she would turn away businesses that wanted to bring unionized jobs to South Carolina she seemed to think CEO's have some special position above the people in this state. 


Yeah, I know Republicans are all about sheltering the mythical job creators from the evils of socialism, but come on governor, this is akin to having a tramp stamp tattooed just above your butt. 

While I firmly believe the Confederate flag needs to be removed from the statehouse ground, truth be told I don't know if a majority of the people here would vote for it. The big delusion the whites folks believe about the Civil War being some noble cause is still very powerful here, as far as the slavery angle is concerned they tend to mouth off some platitudes then do their best to forget about the whole thing. Such is life here in the Palmetto State, still too large to be an asylum but still much too small to be a republic.

I have decided one very important thing though for the next time I travel, when asked where I am from I will say North Carolina.


The Bug said...

As a North Carolinian I applaud your choice. However, it ain't all that fabulous there either these days. Sigh.

Pixel Peeper said...

Ha - I've been so busy lately that I feel like I've missed out on a lot of news, but I did heard about Nikki Haley's comment in the debate.

Not sure if the story about a fan in our gubernatorial debate can beat that... sigh.

R W Rawles said...

Would that you could say "Central Coast-California." My burg is surprisingly blue for all its wealth.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Trust me, I'm not exactly busting my buttons about Georgia politics, either.

But I've gotta say re-electing Sanford is about as bizarre as when the folks in D.C re-elected Marion Berry. Seems like a lot of people vote solely on the basis of name recognition, even if they only remember the names because the dudes were crooks. People really ARE funny. Dumb, but funny.

Jimmy said...

Not sure any of us have any candidates to be proud of, I'd swap our Governor to be for any of yours, only thing I'd feel bad for giving you such a bad deal.

Beach Bum said...

Bug: I'd still think South Carolina has you guys beat on stupidity.

Pixel: Yeah, I heard a little bit about the Crist/Scott debate.

RW: Just proves the West Coast has smarter people.

Susan: Yeah, I had a hard time coming to grips with the Charleston area sending the Trail Walker back to Washington. I thought so much better of them.

Jimmy: I've said many times an outraged public shouldn't get that upset at their elected officials because someone they overwhelmingly re-elect the crooks each cycle.