Letters to the Editor

Stump provides closer look

For 134 years the Galivants Ferry Stump Speaking has taken place along the banks of the Little Pee Dee River. As the hosts of this tradition, the Holliday family would like to extend a warm welcome to people of all backgrounds and political beliefs to come and enjoy this truly unique, historic and fun-filled event.

Americana at its finest, the Galivants Ferry Stump Speaking is about more than just politics. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the fact that thousands of people from all walks of life - regardless of political allegiance - attend the Stump biannually. If you're not from around here - heck, even if you are - chances are you haven't even heard of Galivants Ferry. Yet this rural, one-blinking-light town has hosted some of the most prominent political figures of our time. This year we are honored to have the third- and fourth-ranking members of the U.S. House, Rep. John Larson of Connecticut and South Carolina's own Rep. Jim Clyburn. Also featured will be candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, House, statewide offices and our own county races.

We want to emphasize that people from all parties are invited and welcomed: Democrats, Republicans, independents, undecided and frustrated. Of course in keeping with tradition, only Democrats are allowed to speak from the podium. What provides this occasion with such broad-based appeal is the festival-type atmosphere that serves to entice even the most indifferent political observer. We've gone to great lengths to make this a vibrant, family-fun event. There will be live entertainment on a flatbed truck including a bluegrass band, shaggers, cloggers, a sweetgrass basket demonstration and Eleanor the donkey. If you're hungry, our Southern delicacy chicken bog will hit the spot and your sweet tooth will be satisfied with our funnel cakes. We always have an eclectic array of folks dressed up handing out hats, fliers, bumper stickers, etc. - a feast for your eyes and your camera. Truly, the Stump is unlike any other political venue because of its ability to bring people together from all walks of life throughout the community and state and simultaneously provide a cost-free arena for those people to hear, meet and speak with candidates, to look at them "eyeball to eyeball." We believe that people yearn for the time when a handshake was the same as a contract, when your word was your bond. The Galivants Ferry Stump invokes that feeling of "grass-roots politicking" that has largely been removed from today's political scene.

The first documented Galivants Ferry Stump Speaking took place back in 1876 during the S.C. governor's race. At that time, Gen. Wade Hampton came through the area on horseback and spoke to a crowd in Galivants Ferry in a nearby thicket. Before the advent of sound systems and microphones, candidates would have to cut down a large tree and stand on its stump to ensure that their voices carried to all listeners in the crowd, thus giving such campaign events their name. Since its beginning in 1876, the Holliday Family has continued the Stump as a gift to residents of Horry County and all of South Carolina.

The ultimate objective of the Stump is to motivate people to think and to participate. People of all ages and social strata need to realize their opinion counts and that they can make a difference.

Truly, the single greatest privilege afforded to us under a democracy is the ability of every citizen to vote. Therefore, it is not only your privilege but also your duty as an American and a South Carolinian to be familiar with the candidates, informed on the issues and then vote for the individual who best represents your opinion and beliefs, not those of your friends, family or political pundits. Labels such as "liberal" or "conservative" are subjective and constantly evolving and thus should not be the primary determinant for voting one way or another. The bottom line should be: "Who do I believe has the best platform and the greatest capacity to guide our county, state and country in the right direction?" The Galivants Ferry Stump Speaking is proud of the fact that we provide a free, fun forum for all citizens to be able to participate in this decision-making process.

We sincerely hope to see y'all at 4:30 p.m. Monday for entertainment and 6 p.m. for the speaking. Come be part of this historic event.

The writers live in Galivants Ferry.