Oh South Carolina

by Zach kincaid

Matthew's House has graciously allowed me to say a few words about the United States and the political world. Although my comments might cause some to side one way or another, my main observation is an historic one, rather than the want to lose one's head - namely mine- in the drivel of American politics today. I hope you'll oblige a reading and a discussion.

Last month Joe Wilson failed in his politicking and picked the pocket of honesty. But his, "You lie!" is not the first South Carolinian cry that challenged the federation and the president that is its head. South Carolina is the whip that calls out such abuses. For example, it is South Carolina who leads out in the succession of states that will form the Confederacy. And if we step back further, it is South Carolina that is so anxious about Andrew Jackson and his woeful tariff control that John Calhoun (who was Jackson's former vice president) leads out a rebellion. Yes, Jackson wraps himself around it and takes care of these would-be rebels but the first breaths of confederacy are inhaled... and that air is crisp and dangerous at the same time.

Now, Joe Wilson received disciplinary action for his "breach of decorum." Has "Mr.President" become "His Majesty"? John Adams tried to make it so and it didn't happen. Washington preferred a simple title and one that echoed a certain humility (along the lines of his 1783 resignation as a war hero and "retirement" to Mt Vernon after beating the most powerful nation in the world.) No, only Mr. President, please. And the title suggests a leveling that is unlike other nations. The president will be a regular person and his respect will be a regular respect, they said. Perhaps Wilson crossed the lines of common etiquette. That certainly can be argued. But he did not cross lines that infer the executive branch in a propped up manner.

What lies inside of South Carolina that coals at the idea of federalism run amuck? What is absent in her fellow southern states that they sit silently?

It's encouraging to see South Carolina cycle around the same block, whether it's Wilson's blast or DeMint's angst. At the same time, it's discouraging to hear the media connect the concern only in the theater that's called today. If we have a longer view, we recognize that "You lie!" is an echo that needs to be heard, even if it be mere rhetoric. It's the voice that has marked out statehood versus a united blob and it's a voice that might be willing to have another go at country status if the federation breaks the back of friendship for which we share our union. In the end, are we not part of a democracy that serves to be free and open, even when it means a union that is vulnerable?