Richland County, SC — When I was a boy in a small town in rural southern Kansas, I went to a three-room schoolhouse, where all of us in my class of 17 were taught that the United States was an exceptional country.
In geography, we learned of countries all over the world, but especially in South America, that were so badly run that they were called banana republics. In these very corrupt regimes, only those who gained favor with the ruling elites were able to get good jobs. Skill and ability counted for little or nothing, but once you got that job, it was yours for life, and nothing but a major revolution could ever remove you.
We were taught the importance of good governance, and we eventually grew up and scattered all over the world. I landed here in South Carolina, where I found, just as I had been taught, that hard work, common sense and prudence will provide a very good life.
I have been watching the Lillian McBride fiasco with open-mouthed astonishment, and while I know that what I am seeing could never be called blatant corruption, because Richland County is governed by dedicated, hard-working Democrats, I wonder what dear old Sister Malachy, my fifth-grade teacher, would call it if she could see it.
Dennis A. Traffas