Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top 8 Reasons I left South Carolina (and I'm not going back)

Disclaimer: I don't hate South Carolina. Most of my mom's family is there, including my sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I attended a great high school there, and made some good friends.

South Carolina continues to find its way in the news and hearts of Americans for its various travashamockery (a word, I learned from, that was in a 2004 Super Bowl Commercial.)

I say "Top 8" Reasons, because I don't want to imply that there are only 8. There's more. Meet me at Busboys and Poets and I'll give you the rest.

Here we go.

8) The food was trying to kill me. I'm a huge fan of good old-fashioned soul food. I like Five Guys' greasy hamburgers. But I don't need it on every corner and every street. South Carolina gives you Fatz, The Clock, Zaxby's, the Beacon, and dozens of other mom and pops that serve grease and chili with a side of bun. Over 65% of South Carolina's adult are overweight or obese. I'd like to believe that I wouldn't allow myself to become obese on that diet. But, it tastes so good and it's everywhere and there's no one to discourage you from stopping. I don't know that God gave me the willpower.

7) Plantations. The most beautiful parts of South Carolina are plantations (eh, and the golf courses). I'm not opposed to these places as tourist attractions. I get it. The big Southern houses, with wraparound porches and crops that extend for miles is pretty to look at, especially for a New Yorker. And the history behind them is important for us to know. But something about the site of national oppression being presented as idyllic replicas of the "good ol' days" makes me squirm.

6) My vote doesn't matter. Well, unless I decide to vote Republican. I know that's really childish and people hate it went you don't acknowledge that "every vote counts", but the fact of the matter is, unless you transplant the population of say... Springfield Massachusetts or Los Angeles, California to South Carolina, a liberal vote is a drop in the bucket. So, in the last presidential election, my vote in Virginia, a highly contested swing state, held weight! South Carolina liberal residents, I'm not saying you should stop voting. Somebody needs to do it. But I am saying, I'm not willing to be a bigger person and stay to help the cause.

5) We don't have a professional basketball team. It seems really lazy to sit around and watch other people engage in high-energy sports, so I don't watch a lot of sports. But I do enjoy watching the NBA. And South Carolina doesn't have a team. We barely have a football team, and even that we share with North Carolina. (For the idiots uninformed folks, the Carolina Panthers were signed into existence by Congress members from both Carolinas, and although the team plays in Charlotte, the training camp is 15 minutes from my high school in Spartanburg, South Carolina.) I need a home team to cheer for, and South Carolina's not handling that need.

4) Strom Thurmond is a god. In South Cack, good ol Strom has been honored with a highway, an elementary school, a LAKE!, a building at Clemson University, and the list goes on and on. Sure, he deserves some credit for holding the longest filibuster by a single Senator. Here's a quote from this filibuster:
"I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches."
Don't believe me: Click here and hear it for yourself! About 15 years prior to this... speech, Strom's mistress/maid (who was 15 and part of this despised "nigger race") gave birth to his child, Essie Mae Washington-Thurmond. And the resemblance is ASTOUNDING.

Do I hate Strom? Nah. I met him in high school, a year before he passed as part of a leadership program, and he was extremely friendly and courteous. Does he deserve all the credence and glory South Carolinians give him? Definitely not.

3) Jim Demint and Joe Wilson. Don't know who they are? Senator Jim Demint, is most recently infamous for his claim that "Gays and unmarried pregnant women shouldn't teach in the public schools." I could talk about how ridiculous this statement is, but I think it'd be stating the obvious. If you disagree... well... I'll pray for you. Representative Joe Wilson is the guy who was so overcome with the Holy Spirit (or ignorance) during Obama's health care speech that he yelled out "You lie!" Both of these fine gentleman have been voted into office and supported by South Carolina's citizens. They LOVE him there. You'd think they'd be embarrassed by their antics, but nope! They embrace them both as champions for the right (pun intended) cause! I can't allow myself to be represented by these individuals.

2) The Confederate flag is at our statehouse. When I was in high school, and the Confederate flag was moved from above the statehouse to the front of the statehouse, a supposed compromise, I wrote an article about it. Anyway, to sum up the article I wrote then, and stand by today, the Confederate flag represents a nation that no longer exists that supported the oppression of people of African descent. It belongs in a museum, not in a building that is supposed to represent all citizens. It was published in the local newspaper, and my Mom's boss called her in his office to ask if it was true that her daughter had written it. I'm not going to say her job was threatened... but I will say she was given the impression that she should try and shut me up.

1) Our nickname sucks. South Cackalack, Cackalacky, and other or derivations just sounds really hickish, tacky, and some other words that my mom won't let me say.

South Carolina will always have a special place in my heart (the diabetic side), but I simply can't call it home. See you at Christmas and for the family reunions. Your thoughts?