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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 05:35 PM


First Published in 1994


Many Americans unsatisfied with the current regime in Washington, D. C. are asking the question: “Do Republicans offer an alternative?” For the nation, the question is difficult to answer. In South Carolina, the answer is easier because it is contained in state law. The same political party and plantation mentality that gave the Palmetto State “Jim Crow” laws and racial segregation for a century passed the laws that ensured that incumbents would be secure in their positions of power and new lawmakers would become loyal to them or have no legislative influence.  This allowed the career politicians to maintain political power and control the wealth of the state, regardless of the shift in political winds.

When Democrats became unpopular with South Carolina voters, the power brokers in the legislature simply changed party labels in order to be reelected. They supported candidates for the legislature who did the same. Many senior Republicans who were happy to share the power and the spoils that come from legislative power and being part of the majority party in South Carolina welcomed the party shift.

When Republicans gained the majority for the first time since “Radical Republicans” ruled the state at the point of bayonets during more than a decade of Reconstruction, the people rejoiced. They thought change was on the way.

Grass roots Republicans became excited about voting for people with an “R” after their name. Many did not know that they were voting for Republicans in name only. Neither did they know that Republicans were not the only people voting in the Republican candidate selection process. South Carolina Law currently requires Republicans allow Democrats, Communists, Libertarians (any registered voters) to participate in selecting candidates to represent the Republican Party running against Democrats and others in general elections.

Primaries are not elections. Political parties are private clubs and primaries and conventions are means of selecting party candidates to run for office. Only members of a political party are allowed to select candidates in most states, but not South Carolina.

Since political parties are private, not government entities, Harry Kibler, a supporter of changing the election laws, offered an analogy recently. “The current system is like requiring Greenville First Baptist Church to allow the Deacons from First Presbyterian and First Assembly to vote in the selection of the next pastor at First Baptist.”

Why do people tolerate corruption, mendacity and abuse of power by political figures and elected officials?

Ronald M. Mann, Deputy Director of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, believes the words of the Founders explain the decline in our republic.

We have not followed the admonition of our Founding Fathers. “A people must from time to time, refresh themselves at the well-spring of their origin, lest they perish.”

We have not assigned the maintaining of our freedom a high priority. “A Frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantage of liberty, and to maintain a free government.”

We have allowed the moral enemies of freedom to dominate the debate. “Though, when a people shall have become incapable of governing themselves and fit for a master, it is of little consequence from what quarter he comes.”

We have elected some of the most undesirable persons to high office. “Effective resistance to usurpers is possibly only provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.”

We have evicted “Providence” from our counsels, schools, courts, and assemblies. “From the day of the declaration… they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.”

At this late date, no man or political party can right the ship of state. The only answer is found in II Chronicles 7:14.