Letter to a newborn daughter
By Andy Brack
SC Statehouse Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: My wife and I had our first child 4:23 a.m. Friday. The following thoughts were written a couple of hours after little Avery's birth. These thoughts replaced my planned column on taxes and next year's legislative session. We'll get to that next week.



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SEPT. 12, 2003 - - Dear little Avery,

You came into the world today with wide open eyes that darted around the hospital room and seemed to ask, "So what have you gotten me into now - what is this place?"

You've been born in South Carolina, one of the best places in the whole, wide world. It has lush land from the rolling hills of the Upstate to the salt-scented marshes of the Lowcountry. Its people are warm and generous with an independent spirit. For the most part, they are kind and forgiving.

As you looked at me before the crack of dawn, there were so many things I wanted you to know.

You should know our people are generally good. Sometimes they stray and do bad things or forget to do what's right. Some leaders forget to pursue justice and good for all South Carolinians by pushing a narrow agenda fueled by selfish desires. Sometimes people forget the lessons of church to love their neighbors and, instead, love themselves too much.

You also should know that sometimes people need help - - a hand up to get past hard times. There's nothing ever wrong with asking for help and you shouldn't look down on somebody who needs it. When somebody asks you for help, you should try to give it.

Your mother and I hope you learn how to recognize the difference between good and evil, truth and lies. We hope you'll always tell the truth, eat your vegetables and learn how to be a good friend to others.

In South Carolina, we hope you'll learn to mind your manners, be on your best behavior at all times and obey the law.

We want you to appreciate hard work, value a dollar and learn to refrain from wasting things. We hope you'll focus on our state's bright future and keep from dwelling on the past.

And we pray you'll fight to protect our freedoms and stand up for the rights of those who feel they have no voice. Too many people take the easy way out, play the blame game and pit neighbor against neighbor. Too many leaders really are followers who lack the courage to be different. We hope you and your generation will challenge conventional wisdom. We hope you'll be fearless in the midst of naysayers. We hope you'll help make things better.

There are a lot of challenges here in your new home in South Carolina. We need a better education system for all. We need people to respect and understand each other better. We need leaders who will find the courage to do what's right for everyone, not just select groups of people. We need to provide better health care, jobs, futures and opportunities for everyone.

But with all of the problems that are out there, our future is positive because we have a shared sense of purpose and determination. You and your peers have inherited it. We hope you'll use it to benefit everyone.



Shopping for America

This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:


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