Like most South Carolinians, I begin my day with the same boring routine. Slide out of bed, take care of the morning "ritual", scrub the sleep from my eyes, and head to the coffee maker to get my daily fuel injection. After lifting the spoon from the cup, and taking that first sip of wakeup elixir, I generally pick up the ol' mobile device (in my case the iPhone), swipe the screen and press the button that says Facebook. For our household, the Facebook news feed has replaced the old standby of heading down the driveway with slippers donned and coffee in tow, and a wink to the neighbor who is performing the vey same task. This is 2017, and things are just a bit different than they were in the past.
While scrolling through the Facebook news feed I am greeted with the news of the day from various local outlets like the Post and Courier, News 2, Live 5, The State, Island Eye News, Moultrie News, etc... Each and every day, the news story is different, but eerily similarly themed to the last. Today's happened to be a story from the Post and Courier regarding our rural roads (which is defined as any road that is not an interstate, so.... most roads) and how they are now ranked as the deadliest in the nation. Yet another category in which we have successfully achieved complete failure, in our seemingly unending race to the bottom.
For those keeping score at home, I went over to the most reliable source on rankings, the US News and World Report, to see where we as a state, actually rank on important issues. Not surprisingly, the results are pretty dismal:
- Education - 50th (last)
- Roads Safety - 50th (last)
- Opportunity - 48th
- Health Care Affordability - 46th
- Property Crime - 4th Worst
- Domestic Violence - 5th Worst
- Violent Crime - 6th worst
- Most Dangerous - 7th Worst
- Infrastructure - 43rd
- Household Income - 43rd
- Labor Force Participation - 42nd
All of these statistics fall on the shoulders of our state government. They are the institutions responsible for creating and implementing laws to ensure that our state does not have rankings that are so objectively disappointing and in some cases infuriating.
There is one more disappointing and infuriating statistic, and this one falls on the shoulder of every single voter.
This is the percentage of incumbents who were reelected to the South Carolina legislature during the last election cycle. Out of every State Senate and State House seat up for election during the last election cycle, 96.5% kept their job. Something is very, very wrong here.
If we want to realize change in the above statistics, we need real, concrete, progressive change in our state legislature. We need a state in which our children get a proper education, that is safe to drive in, where women are safe in their own homes, and where people are earning enough to be comfortable. We need a state that works for us again, not career corrupt politicians who are more interested in padding their own bank account in spite of yours.
We can come back from the bottom. We need to come back from the bottom. The status quo is not working. Change is the only way.
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