Here are my Top 10 resolutions for South Carolina
By Phil Noble
This is the time for New Year’s resolutions, and I have a few for our state.
Resolutions are all about hope – it’s about our hoping we can make a change and do better.
So here are my Top Ten for South Carolina –
Let’s have more pride in our state. There are lots of great things about our state but to listen to all the politicians, it’s all about being 50th in everything. We’re not a bad as we think we are.
Let’s get serious about ethics reform in state government. Although Speaker Bobby Harrell is gone, we haven’t even begun to get serious. A whole bunch of folks are expected to get indicted in the next few months and hopefully that will lead to real reform.
Let’s finally do something about fixing education. After 21 years, the Abbeville case for education funding reform was decided and the courts said we have to do something big. If we don’t fix education, nothing else really matters.
Let’s stop killing ourselves. The statistics on domestic violence, car accidents and gun deaths are truly awful. We should all be embarrassed and, more importantly, we should all be very aggressive about reporting threats and locking up the folks who make them.
Let’s do something about the state’s welcome centers and rest areas. They are so bad that folks who pull into the welcome centers or stop at rest areas don’t feel welcome and wish they hadn’t stopped. Little things like a Wi-Fi connection, staying open past 5 p.m., planting some nice bushes and flowers, and giving out a free sample of our state’s great food products, etc., would all make a big difference.
For my Republican party friends, quit complaining about President Obama.
Yes, we know, you don’t like him and you didn’t vote for him. But if you can read a newspaper and are honest with yourself, you know that since he was elected the stock market has more than doubled, unemployment is below 6% for the first time, the deficit has been cut in half, 32 million people are now eligible for health insurance, the auto industry is still in business and Gadhafi and Bin Laden are not.
For my Democratic Party friends, get a clue.
After several consecutive statewide elections without a majority, it’s clear we need something radically different. On the statewide and legislative level, the party is at its lowest level since 1876. At the same time, however, on the county and local level, we are still a majority Democratic state. Quit blaming others and come up with some new people, new ideas and new technology.
Let’s all be honest with each other about issues of race in our state. There are problems on all sides; all sides have legitimate concerns; all sides need to be patient and compassionate; all sides need to be responsible and admit it when we are wrong. Race relations in South Carolina are like a marriage when divorce is not an option – we all need to work at it every day.
Let’s all learn something new about the world beyond SC and the US. There is a whole big world out there and we all need to explore it – one way or the other. With cheap airfares available online, it’s now possible for a lot of folks who previously couldn’t afford it. With falling gas prices, in two days you can drive to another culture (Spanish in Mexico or French in Quebec) – do it. At a minimum, go the public library and check out some books and movies about different places – it’s free.
Let’s have some fun. We are a great state with lots going for us. A simple fact: a whole lot more folks – white and black – are moving into our state than are moving out. People come to where things are good, not to where things are bad. Do we have our share of problems? Sure we do. But let’s all recognize what good things are happening and have some fun.
So in the New Year, remember, it’s all about hope. Lucky thing, then, that our state motto just happens to be “Dum spiro spero” — while I breathe, I hope.
Phil Noble is a Charleston businessman and president of the SC New Democrats, an independent reform group started by former Gov. Richard Riley. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.