Russell A. Mebane - African American Science Fiction Writer
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Sanford, South Carolina, and stupidity

Well, Readers, I'm from South Carolina.  What is South Carolina, you ask?  It's a state in the U.S.A. in the region commonly known as "The South".  It was the state that sparked our nation's civil war.  It's a state that clings to this rebellious heritage.  One of its senators, Strom Thurmond, was the guy who spoke loudest against civil rights for Black Americans.  With all this being said, South Carolina is well-known for racism.  Everyone can agree on this.  What disturbs me today is that it is now about to be known for political stupidity.  Not idealistic stupidity, where I ramble on about values and the principles of the Founding Fathers.  South Carolina will now be known as the capital of just plain stupid in America. 

Why?  Because they just elected Mark Sanford to Congress.  Mark Sanford is the former governor of South Carolina, but he's more well-known for his illicit extra-marital affair with an Argentinian national.  Am I saying that cheaters shouldn't be elected to office?  No.  Politicians cheat.  I'm a cynic.  I am a firm believer in cheating politicians.  They'll cheat on their taxes, their constituents, and their wives.  None of that is any surprise to me.  Former president Bill Clinton was a cheater, so was former California governor Arnold Scharzenegger.  Eliot Spitzer liked high-class hookers.  Their infidelities are well-known and I, personally, do not judge their politics by their family affairs.  Sex is sex.  Politics is politics. 

What makes electing Mark Sanford such a stupid move is the WAY that he cheated on his wife.  For those of you who don't know, Mark Sanford went missing for six days back in 2009.  Now you might be in another country reading this, so I want to explain that a state governor turning up missing for six days is not a good thing.  No one knew where he was, including the state law division which is supposed to provide security for him.  Of course, his wife didn't know where he was either.  Before his disappearance, he told his staff that he would be hiking in the mountains for a few days. That's okay.  South Carolina has mountains that you can hike.  Lots of them.  Unfortunately, no one knew which mountain he was supposed to be hiking on.  For six days, the entire state of South Carolina, a place roughly the size of Portugal, did not know where its leader was.  For six days, 4.7 million people were leaderless. 

Where was governor Mark Sanford?  In a word:  Argentina.  For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of South Carolina, I will let you know that Argentina is not in the mountains of South Carolina.  In fact, it's not in South Carolina at all.  The governor left the state without telling anyone.  Oh, but it gets worse.  Argentina is not only not in South Carolina, it's not in the U.S.  It's a country in South America.  For six days, the governor wasn't even on the same CONTINENT as South Carolina, and he told NO ONE, not even the people who are supposed to protect him. 

Yes, he was cheating on his wife.  Whoop-dee-doo!  That's not an excuse to abandon your post and leave the country.  Had he been a member of our military he would have been imprisoned without question.  If he'd been a member of another country's military, he would've been branded a deserter and killed.  In case of an emergency, like a natural disaster, an American governor has to be be there to declare a state-of-emergency so that evacuations can be planned, federal money can be freed up to help the needy; and to mobilize the state militia.  Being a state governor is actually a pretty important job to have in this country.  However, you need to be IN THE STATE or at the very least, IN THE COUNTRY, to do it.  

Yes, Bill Clinton cheated on his wife too...with a White House intern.  How is that better?  Simple.

"Aliens are attacking!  Where's the President?"

"In his office."

That's where the President's supposed to be.  In his office.  Arnold Scharzenegger cheated on his wife with the maid while he was governor of California.  How is that better?  

"Zombies are attacking Los Angeles.  Where's the governor?

"At home."

That's okay.  His house is guarded and they have his home phone on record.  Eliot Spitzer was an attorney general (very important lawyer) for the state of New York.  He was cheating on his wife with a hooker.  Where was he?  A hotel down the street from his office with his staff's FULL knowledge.  Let's try this with Mark Sanford:

"A category 5 hurricane is heading for South Carolina.  Where's the governor?"

"Uh, the mountains..."

"Which mountain?"

"He didn't say."

"Did you call him?"

"He's not answering his phone."

He wouldn't be able to answer his cell phone since Argentina is WELL outside the calling plans of most cell phone companies in the U.S.  This is bad.  Very bad.  I understand that South Carolinians respect his political views and hope that he will express them in Congress.  However, a congressman's power comes from voting on issues, and, yes, that requires that he actually be in the room, in the country, and on the continent to do it.  Of course, when he turns up missing next time, he won't be in Argentina because he's imported his booty-call to the U.S.  She's here now.  The next time he comes up missing (because cheating is an addiction), he'll more than likely be in Siberia with some Russian heifer.  He'll still have his conservative views though, but what good are conservative ideals when you're not IN THE COUNTRY to express them?  Thus, congratulations, South Carolina!  You are now the center of stupid. 

My new book "Squirrels & Puppies" is out now!


3 Comments to Sanford, South Carolina, and stupidity:

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