Frierson: SC needs better schools, better health and stronger voting rights

January 10, 2014 

Frierson

PICASA

— It is January, and predictably some group is protesting. This never changes anything, and yet the sponsors of Truthful Tuesday are convinced that with the right nudge, South Carolina’s Legislature will do what is moral in 2014: Expand Medicaid, fully fund public education and protect voting rights.

Public education is a crap shoot in South Carolina. Why else would we tie part of the funding to the lottery? Why do some of our legislators and constitutional officers propose schemes to divert public education dollars to private schools, year after year?

If high-quality public education for all of South Carolina’s children is a priority, why does the Corridor of Shame still exist? If South Carolina were serious about uplifting all of her children, why is access to quality education intricately linked to ZIP codes and the percentage of children who eat free and reduced-price lunch? We label such children as “at risk.” We know it is morally right to allocate more money to schools that are disproportionately populated with socio-economically disadvantaged children, but do we?

Oh, excuse me; your governor, recently proposed that more money be allocated to such schools. Could this be an election year?

South Carolina has an abysmal record of health-care accessibility for the poor; so last year, the Legislature voted to reject funding for Medicaid expansion.

Our legislators must be magnanimous. They decided, in essence, to give your federal tax dollars to other states. There must be no vulnerable people in the Palmetto State.

We are rallying at noon on Tuesday to educate, energize and speak truth to power, for truly, enough is enough.

True power is not vested in elected officials who arrogantly forget the meaning of public service as soon as they take the oath of office. True power is invested in registered voters who vote.

Enough is enough, South Carolina. Your commitment to do what is moral will be the catalyst that makes 2014 the year of progressive legislative action. I have faith in South Carolina, but I have far greater faith in God. He hears the cries of the sick, the oppressed and the undereducated. He can, and will, break the chains of indifference. He calls you to demand that which is moral for all of his children. Enough is enough.

Beverly Diane Frierson

Columbia

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