This op-ed piece by S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore literally took my breath away. Where to start on what the GOP has done in (to?) South Carolina since 1964?
Senator Strom Thurmond’s switch to the GOP was fueled by rejection of the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Thurmond’s action, Moore says, “…slowly opened the floodgates here at home...” – shorthand for the like-minded white voters who followed him and abandoned the Democratic Party rather than support voting rights for their fellow citizens.
Today, 50 years later, the GOP majority entrenched throughout state and local governments is still passing voter ID laws that will cost South Carolina millions of dollars to prevent non-existent fraud (The Sun News 7/5/13) and cooking up other legislation designed to hinder rather than encourage full participation by all voters.
What else have S.C. citizens endured at the hands of this GOP-dominated political scene? According to the 2012 Bloomberg “Misery Index” (measuring rates of poverty, under-employment, income inequality, lack of health insurance, etc.), only three other states are worse off than South Carolina.
And despite ranking 46th in health status (America’s Health Rankings), GOP leaders have foolishly rejected Medicaid expansion, which will result in $11 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars supporting Medicaid programs in other states (including those “nanny states”), instead of providing health care coverage to nearly 250,000 working South Carolinians and creating 44,000 new jobs.
None of the above makes South Carolina “the envy of the nation” as Moore proclaims. I am another newly-arrived resident. But I retired here for the weather, ocean air and friendly people, not for the political climate, which I am determined to help change.
Democrats are growing in numbers and confidence (45 percent of voters in the new 7th Congressional District supported Democrat Gloria Tinubu). Moore says that Democrats use “divisive wedge issues.” Does he mean our commitment to strong public education, access to decent health care, livable wages, voter protection, and transparent and ethical government? Indeed, these are the genuine building blocks for enduring prosperity and growth.