Issac Bailey

Bikefest: It’s great to be in Myrtle Beach and South Carolina for Memorial Day

As far as I know, the Rev. Al Sharpton has not rented out an entire North Myrtle Beach hotel to fill it with protesters to be unleashed on the streets of Myrtle Beach during the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest this weekend.

What would Sharpton be heading to Myrtle Beach to protest?

And how could he afford to rent out an entire hotel in one of the nation’s top tourism destinations during the tourism season?

Who knows? Conspiracy theories don’t leave much room for details or logic.

It was comical at first to keep getting messages through email and Facebook about all sorts of Bikefest rumors, like the one about Sharpton, as well as having earnest people ask me about them while I’ve been out and about in Myrtle Beach this week.

After a while, though, it became depressing, for it illustrates people’s dark expectations about this weekend.

I won’t dwell on that, though. As I said last week, this isn’t the time to push myth or misperception or rumors, or even debate the merits of the plans Myrtle Beach and Horry County officials have put in place.

I’m just hoping that what area leaders have done will work well, that law enforcement officials will be stern but courteous, that Bikefest participants and other tourists enjoy the place and show residents they love and respect this area as much as we do.

It’s time to focus on what each of us can do as individuals to make this weekend a success.

Each person has to figure out how best to do that. Christ Community Church in Conway is having a 24-hour prayer, and I’m certain Bikefest will come up during at least a few of those hours.

A group of churches — HOPE, Centenary United Methodist, and Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist — is sponsoring an interfaith bike blessing and “Bike Unity Ride” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Carolina Forest Elementary School.

There are other such groups and individuals, including those who will be members of the revamped “Friendship Teams.”

For the next few days, it would be wiser to listen to those kinds of folks — those who have committed to positive action — than those who would rather focus on spreading rumor and innuendo.

Maybe you don’t pray. That’s fine.

You don’t have to pray to assure that the rumor mill doesn’t run through you.

A few years ago, a political controversy erupted when Gov. Nikki Haley implemented a policy that had all state employees who answered the phone use this greeting: “It’s a great day to be in South Carolina. How can I help?”

Her critics said there were too many problems in the state to sound so upbeat. I defended her because I know attitude has a real effect on behavior.

Being mired in the negative won’t help us this weekend.

Contact ISSAC BAILEY at ibailey@thesunnews.com or on Twitter @TSN_IssacBailey.

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