Columbia, SC — Cindi Scoppe’s April 2 column (“New lawsuit sharpens threat to elections”) captures the outrage citizens should feel because the General Assembly has not solved the local election problems that have come to brighter light because of circumstances that arose in Richland County, a lawsuit brought by Rusty DePass, a decision by Judge Thomas Cooper and a subsequent attorney general’s opinion.
The fact that Greenville’s Ned Sloan, a frequently prevailing plaintiff on matters constitutional, has seen fit to bring a follow-up lawsuit should emphasize how urgent legislative action really is.
My only quarrel with Ms. Scoppe’s piece is that it refers to Mr. Sloan as a “gadfly.” When Plato used the word to defend Socrates, who was on trial for his life, he said Socrates was a sort of a gadfly (or horse fly) “given to the state by the God; and the state is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owning to his very size and requires to be stirred into life.”
The analogy may have been apt then. Unfortunately, though, more common use of the word in modern times has drifted toward a connotation of being a lightweight who merely annoys others. As someone who has served with Ned Sloan on the board of the S.C. Public Interest Foundation for six years, I can attest that he has annoyed many elected and appointed officials but always with high-minded purposes. And his stinger usually has been more like that of a hornet.
If Ned Sloan is a gadfly, then we need to breed more of them. As for the state being a “great and noble steed,” at times like this, it seems only to resemble the posterior.
Robert M. Lloyd