As a native South Carolinian and in light of the political events of the past few weeks, I have once again found new reason to stand a little taller, feel more hopeful.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has shown to be a leader of unprecedented bipartisanship by joining Sen. John Kerry in fighting climate change. With Sen. Graham's leadership, I feel that South Carolina can become the state to transcend political division. It is a new day with a new vision on the horizon.
With the help of Sen. Graham, South Carolina's shining legacy will be that of respect.
Is Wilson a statesman or a mere politician?
With all of the vastly increased funding that has come into Congressman Joe Wilson's coffers since his infamous outburst, I wonder how his receipt of these funds squares with his stated apology and regrets.
There is a line in Father Mapple's sermon from Moby Dick that may apply: "And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment."
We might expand on Father Mapple's words as follows: After an apology and statement of regret have been made, integrity would seem to dictate that one might not profit from that which he regrets. Perhaps a letter might be addressed from the congressman to all those who have contributed to his campaign since his outburst, asking them to clarify whether their money had been sent because of his outburst and stating that if that were, he would return the money.
A statesman-politician might do just that; a mere politician, never.
HAL W. FRENCH
Collaboration needed to solve problems
We South Carolinians are a butt-headed lot with a predisposition to fight rather than collaborate. This is true even when experience shows that collaboration clearly yields better solutions.
In his excellent book Servanthood, a much admired, deceased friend the Right Rev. Bennett Sims wrote:
"Collaboration is the real energy of human strivings and accomplishments, not competition. Once we grasp the fundamental importance of collaboration, then compromise means gain, not loss, because inclusion of the strength of others is enhancement for any important dream. It is also a way of obtaining a win/win outcome. In a competitive win/lose relationship, we hear in the arguments of others only what we can hope to discredit and demolish. In a collaborative win/win relationship, we seek to hear in the arguments of others those ingredients we can affirm for the enrichment of the outcome."
James F. Byrnes, South Carolina's most revered statesman of the 20th century, said, "Progress is largely a process of coalition-building and timely concessions."
As South Carolinians, let's get on with solving our multitude of problems by listening and collaborating rather than fighting. What would happen if our political leaders ran on the platform of purposeful collaboration with the opposition to achieve win/win governance?
Would anyone dare try?
Public option is the only real solution
Any so-called "public option" short of true single payer is just an exercise in seeing how much Congress can cripple any actual remedy. Single payer is the only strong public option.
But the latest word from the White House is that President Obama "prefers" a public option but is not going to demand it. So what is this all about? "Change we would prefer," or something like that? Would the American people have elected a candidate with the slogan, "Change we would prefer"? I think not.
So I cannot hold the president to be true to his word. But I will hold my congressman accountable if the final bill does not contain a strong public option.
A new poll came out recently showing that the majority of Americans want a public option. Don't serve the corporate insurance industry. Serve the people who elected you.
Politicians out of touch with most Americans
President Obama is going to spend more than a million dollars of taxpayers' money to fly to Norway to pick up a check for $1.4 million that he is going to donate to charity. Does this make any since to anyone? How can Obama expect anyone to respect him when he wastes the taxpayers' money on unnecessary trips? Let them mail him the check, or he should use the money to pay for the trip.
Our politicians are out of touch with mainstream America and seem to think they are above the laws and rules that the rest of us have to live by. Look at N.Y. Rep. Charlie Rangel, who is under investigation. If he were an everyday citizen, he probably would be in jail for tax evasion; but no, he still gets to make tax laws.