Monday, November 3, 2014

Some Last Thoughts (Before I Vote)

Unsurprisingly, in the last day before the midterm money leads by, well, a lot.

Take Lindsey Graham, for example.  Graham has proven that he is slick and, I have to say, pretty creepy.  He can sit back and sound like your kindly uncle who knows what is best and well, he's just going to do it, because it's good for you.  Like increasing the social security retirement age.  But don't forget that he has also taken some unpopular stands and went up against a slew of opponents in the primaries and, well, he slew them all.  Why?  Because he's willing to work with those on the other side.  Huh.  Of course, like that wise old uncle, he tells you that you're going to have to give something up as well.

Here's the thing you need to remember about Lindsey Graham:  he is a manipulative s.o.b.  He actually said, in his moderate voice, that the reason we needed to vote for him is that it will take a republican to work with the crazy republicans that keep blocking progress in Congress.  And in case you thought you had heard him wrong, he said it again.

And then there is the megalomaniac Tim Scott, who sees himself as sent by God (in the guise of Nikki Haley).  He is dumber than dirt, and maybe even dumber than his predecessor, Jim DeMint, but he has been polished to a shine even brighter than his nice suit.  People I actually know think he is smart, and that he sounds good in public.  Maybe I just haven't been around enough to see him preaching to his congregation.  But I listened to the debate, and he may have been rehearsed, but he was wooden, as though even he didn't believe his stock phrases anymore.  And I saw his ad, the one where he brags on pretending to work next to "everyday people," of whom he apparently no longer counts himself.  And I've heard his lies, like about how he voted to reduce the interest on student loans.

And then there is Nikki Haley.  Smarmy and flirty, who has wowed all the big bucks, basically because she will do absolutely anything they want her to do, and even more.  South Carolina under her watch has sold itself to big corporations and refused to feed, insure and educate its poor.  She has worked to deny those who might oppose her right wing plans the right to vote, and she has cost us millions of dollars to fight this battle in court.  She is mean-spirited and vindictive, and she can flash a phony smile better than just about anybody I know.

Then we have idiots like Mike Fair, who wears his stupidity with pride and calls it faith.  He single-handedly stopped our state legislature from moving health and sex education into the 21st century because the old ways are good enough for him.  Of course, he and fellow idiot Kevin Bryant also provided us with better comedy than you can find on cable TV when they argued for putting the Bible in the Columbian mammoth bill.  

But we've also got a few tough choices, but choices nonetheless, and some where we have to hold our noses to give it our best shot, and some where that doesn't even help.  Parenthetically, when someone distasteful is running unopposed, or unhappily you just can't vote for either candidate, don't leave that space blank.  Write-in "None of the Above" so your vote will count.

Do not despair, though, because we do have some good choices, and even some very good choices.

We don't have to let Mark Sanford breeze by without opposition, because Dimitri Cherny is running as a write-in independent candidate.  He's a good man, and I would love to see Sanford's face if Cherny with no financial backing or name recognition made a decent showing.  

Brad Hutto has fought against great odds to unseat Lindsey Graham.  What I like about Hutto is that he is not trying to hide the fact that he is a Democrat, and that he supports the Affordable Care Act, and even President Obama.  It took guts (and I hear some persuasion by the state party) for him to agree to step up.

Bakari Sellers is running for Lieutenant Governor, and he is smart and caring.  He has traveled around the small towns in South Carolina introducing himself to people and talking about what he can do to improve life for South Carolinians.  He has been endorsed by Charleston Mayor Riley, among many others.  I have to say that I watched the debate, and Bakari's comments were a breath of fresh air compared to those of his opponent, you know, the guy who thinks we should all volunteer for service jobs so people like him don't have to pay taxes.

I haven't mentioned Gloria Tinubu here because she is not running in Charleston or for a state-wide office, but she is an amazing woman running for Congress in the 7th district.  She is brilliant and outspoken, and although she lost in 2012, she is determined that she is going to try again so that she can fight for her district, the state and the country in Congress.  If you know anybody from the 7th district, tell them to by all means get out and vote for Gloria.

Last but certainly not least, Joyce Dickerson has had to fight to be heard throughout this race.  She has run on a shoestring, and in spite of the lukewarm support of the Democratic party (famous for failing to support good candidates in past years).  She won the primary against two male candidates in spite of suggestions by male Democratic leaders that maybe she should step aside.  She is not just the underdog in this race against Tim Scott, but she is the underdog that we should all be fighting for.

Joyce Dickerson will not be swayed by power or money.  She knows who her constituents are in South Carolina:  the struggling middle class, seniors, veterans, children.  She knows the issues:  low wages, lack of health insurance, failing schools, unemployment, crumbling roads, student loan debt.  There isn't one of us who would not benefit by having Joyce fighting for us in the Senate.

It was a big step, going from Richland County Council to the U.S. Senate.  But, unlike Tim Scott, she is doing it without the dollars and support of corporations, lobbyists, and of course, Governor Nikki Haley, who gifted the seat to him two years ago.  And unlike Nikki Haley, she is a woman who will fight for women, and her candidacy has made me proud.

So, I'm happy to say, we do have lots of reasons to vote.  It may be that many of these great candidates don't win because they are fighting enormous odds.  But they have fought, and it has cost them a huge chunk of their lives, and people have contributed to their campaigns because they believed in the message, and that we need this change.

Given all that, the very least we can do on November 4 is vote.  And bring some friends and family members.  And if enough of us turn out, well, you never know....

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