S.C. Statehouse Report
Sunday, July 2, 2006
VIEW: http://www.statehousereport.com/columns/06.0702.fourth.htm

Fourth of July means a lot to South Carolinians
By Andy Brack
SC Statehouse Report

JULY 2, 2006 - Perhaps the best thing about America's Fourth of July holiday is that it gives us all a chance to be purely American for a day and to celebrate it fully.

Like Thanksgiving, Independence Day is a purely American holiday. It's a day of fun, sun, fireworks, cold drinks, grilled foods, companionship, family and friends. But it's more. It's a way for Americans to rejoice in their freedom and pay tribute to those who have fought and died to preserve it.

Just about everyone has favorite July 4th memories. A few years back on Sullivan's Island after a great dinner with friends, we went to the center of the island to watch fireworks. As they were going on, you could see fireworks from Mount Pleasant in one direction and Isle of Palms in another. All around, Americans were celebrating being American.

Another favorite was in 1990 at the Gilbert Peach Festival as 87-year-old Strom Thurmond and then-Gov. Carroll Campbell mounted horses to participate in an annual parade. While both were politicking for re-election, it seemed the Fourth of July was more than being Republican or Democratic - - it was about being American.

Other people have similar memories and thoughts about our national holiday:

For Columbia public relations executive Bud Ferillo, "The original 4th was a moment of great courage and a leap of faith. At once the colonial leaders were embarking on a bloody revolution and a risky experiment in democracy, and their deeds remain today most worthy of remembrance and celebration."

Charleston political consultant Phil Noble notes, "It was a 'revolution' -- not just an interesting discussion or small changes -- - but a full blown REVOLUTION of big ideas, big hopes and big dreams. Where are our big ideas and big hopes today?" Citing the state motto, he added, "Dum Spiro Spero -- While I breathe, I hope."


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S.C. Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Howard remembers a unique July 4th when he was a boy. He watched adults dig a sand pit on an island off the coast:

"They would put red and black ants into the pit; then, they would bet on who would win -- which ant would get out first. That ant pit actually reminds me of where we are as Americans and South Carolinians in the global economy," Howard noted. "We need to focus on raising this state's per capita economy and educating our children to ensure we are winners in the new economy. Only by being the world leader can we continue to celebrate the sacrifices others have made to ensure our freedom."

For State Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, the Fourth of July means reflection and appreciation. In particular, he warmly remembers how his family spent holidays with neighbors in the 1960s: "The Dacusville Community of Pickens County came together for several years to cook some of the best pit-cooked barbecue in our area of the state. The Dacusville school facilities served as the site for the event, and an array of games and activities for the children and youth was provided. I never attempted to climb the greasy pole, but I vividly remember admiring those that did."

It's a family affair also for State Rep. Vida Miller, D-Georgetown, who has been going to a "Friends and Family Cookout" for more than 40 years: "Hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade ice cream are still the main fare. We have great memories of four generations of wonderful friends and family members. The tradition is still going of celebrating knowing and loving each other and honoring our freedom."

Martin's neighbor, Blue Ridge Electrical Cooperative President Charles Dalton, vividly recalls a 1997 holiday in Boston when his family watched Furman graduate Keith Lockhart conduct the Boston Pops as fireworks filled the skies: "Nothing can compare to that display. The entire sky became bright with fireworks. The clapping and shouts of the people, the flags being waved by children and adults, we truly felt so proud of our country. For that brief period, there were over 200,000 people with something very much in common, a love for THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What a grand 4th of July celebration!"

Let's hope we can remember the spirit of the Fourth of July every day of the year. Be safe.

Andy Brack's new book of commentary, Bugging the Palmettos, is available for $15.00. Click here for more.

Recent commentary

lighter side
7/2: Identify theft

Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:

The best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more. Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less for business subscribers. More: SC Clips.

6/19: Decent wages, more needed

To the editor:

None of the tax rate would be so hard if we got paid a decent wage. Property personal income on a vehicle is outrageous. You have to drive a substandard car that breaks down on every curb. If you happen to be able to afford a half decent one, the property tax you surely can't afford.

Most states do something we can see with the money they take in. S.C. does nothing for the low-income people, as far as fixing up houses for the elderly.

-- Mary Mack, St. George, S.C.

6/19: Better attitude needed on education

To the editor:

Enjoyed your article summary of the problems of education in our state. (Commentary, 6/18) We need more discussion, no doubt.

Think about it for a minute. My bet is that at least one quarter of the young people starting high school in any state haven't a clue why they have to go to school; my bet is that their reply would be....."It's a state law".

It is downright human nature that as soon as you tell someone to do something, their immediate thought or question is "Why?" I would offer the thought to you that the majority of young people in school today do not know the why.

I suppose the answer to that question might be debatable by the academic community. To me, it is simple and basic. The reason you go to school is to prepare you for a job. Yes, I understand the ancillary reasons such maintaining a culture or that democracy requires an educated input. But the preparation of a lifetime effort in something that perfectly would be one's passion is all summarized in one word......a job.

If our teaching professionals realized this and starting from Kindergarten brought this objective in life to early realism, you would see a different culture. Young people can absorb it early on........I've seen it done.

Those of us who are successful and happy in life are there because we set a goal and sometimes many attempts of goals until we get the right pathway. Why can not you write about the "why," instead of the the faults of parents, teachers, administrations, buildings, drugs, sex, legislators and school committees? What are we suppose to stop for, to look for, and to listen for? This is not about money. It is about attitude.

I do commend your writings about it. Can't we sharpen the pencil?

-- Otto Wahlrab, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

6/18: Look at ability to pay

To the editor:

The whole problem for the education system is money as everyone speaks. We need to increase taxes on businesses who have the ability to pay them. We need to increase sales tax or remove all the sales tax exemptions, which are based on your ability to pay . We have sales taxes on cars, trucks, airplanes, boats and RVs that is based on your ability to pay; but you let the rich have relief on the harsh tax on expensive things. We need to remove all the property taxes on personal homes as this IS NOT based on your ability to pay.

-- David Whetsell, Lexington ,S.C.

Recent feedback


Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various political news items from the past week:

Thumbs up

Bauer. The lieutenant governor proved he has committed supporters by turning out his base in the election. Campbell's supporters showed they weren't as committed to the son (Mike) as they were his dad (Carroll). Now comes the real test -- whether the tempestuous LG can beat Robert Barber in the fall.

Barber. One side says it's good to have a November opponent with a short temper, who races cars, gets speeding tickets and crashes planes. Others worry that the hardworking LG will again work hard enough to keep his job. Our thought: Barber has a better shot against Bauer than Campbell because Bauer's got higher -- and some very public -- negatives.

TERI recipients. After waiting for awhile, TERI recipients will start getting millions of dollars in retirement checks soon.

Thumbs down

Sanford. Perhaps endorsing Mike Campbell wasn't such a good idea for the governor's wife. It exposed another chink in the gov's armor and makes many wonder how deep his support is.

U.S. House. Rep. Henry Brown and his cronies have pushed through a bad bill to allow drilling off the SC coast. They should be ashamed of themselves.

SC voters. It's pretty pitiful when only 7 percent of registered voters turnout for statewide runoff elections.

South Carolina. The state fell two spots to 47th in child welfare in the country in the KidsCount survey. South Carolina can do better.

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