Columbia, SC — Like most South Carolinians and Americans, I am frustrated with what seems to be the inability of our elected leaders to resolve the major problems of the day. I think there is too much partisan politics controlled by too much money on each side.
Many of our elected leaders put their desire to be elected or re-elected above the interest of the state or the country. The idea of compromising to advance a worthy goal is seen as a sign of weakness in this day of partisan politics. It would be virtually impossible to expect term limits to be adopted or to limit the access of lobbyists or the influence of money in our democracy, so I propose we explore another way to get things done.
South Carolina and our country have a resource that could be invaluable and cost almost nothing: the wealth of knowledge and experience of our retirees. In South Carolina, we have five former governors, a number of former legislative leaders (both state and federal), two retired state chief justices, a number of retired chief executive officers of major corporations as well as leaders in education and medicine. I think if asked, we all would be glad to serve in an advisory capacity if it would help our state.
We must admit that South Carolina needs help in education, jobs and the delivery of health care. We should use every resource at our disposal to make our lives better. It is inexcusable to leave an inheritance to the future generations of an inadequate educational system that does not meet the needs of a high-tech industry, a medical system that is available only to the wealthy and an unresolved mountain of debt.
One might agree that this is a worthy goal, but how can it be accomplished? I would begin by asking the presidents of the University of South Carolina, Clemson and the Medical University of South Carolina to appoint a steering committee to meet and formulate a strategic plan to implement a way to utilize our retirees to help move South Carolina forward.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. What do we have to lose?
David W. Harwell
S.C. Chief Justice, retired