When considering the problems facing South Carolina, it is easy to get discouraged. The high rates of crime, school drop outs, and illiteracy manage to make national news on a regular basis. Our state provides volumes of material for comedians looking to lampoon regional stereotypes.
Sadly, what many commentators fail to recognize, or avoid addressing, is that these issues are themselves symptomatic of the larger problem: bad governance. Simply put, South Carolina’s political structure rewards rampant corruption, ignorance, and failure on the part of so many of its lawmakers.
Consider the desperate educational situation in South Carolina. Despite living in a state with a public school system that graduates less than half of its students every year, many legislators actually boost of their efforts to stifle proposed reforms like school choice. People who have spent years in the legislature continue to go about the business of serving themselves, with no real concern for their constituents.
B.R. Skelton is such a man. His well documented actions in the State House leave little question that he is part of the corrupt political structure that has no room for voters in its agenda. The most recent example? Directly lying to his constituents.
Duplicity is apparently a strategy that Skelton has no reservations about resorting to. In a recent Anderson Independent Mail article, Skelton references robo-calls he made to combat accusations that he introduced and voted for legislation to raise the gas tax by 30%. Skelton’s message to voters: the accusations are an “absolute lie.”
Later in the same article Skelton admits “I may have voted to increase the gas tax, but only a nickel a gallon.”
So what is it? “Only a nickel,” or “an absolute lie?”
His qualification poses an interesting question: how large of a tax hike merits honesty to the voters?
6 cents? 25 cents? A dollar even? Obviously some bizarre political calculus is guiding Skelton’s decision making. There must be a specific amount which requires the truth, because Skelton obviously doesn’t think the voters deserve his transparency and honesty for a paltry nickel per gallon.
Skelton’s desire to retain his seat is leading him to lie. His votes against education reform, and his co-sponsoring of legislation to water down standards speak of a total indifference toward the nation’s worst public schools and the children attending them. It is this complete disregard for the public good that is the foundation of South Carolina’s problems.