• Every year seems to find a new "over-used" expression -- something that is uttered by one person and then is heard everywhere you turn. For this year's we've-heard-it-too-much saying, we're nominating "kicking the can down the road," which Washington politicians are using to describe a quick fix to the nation's deficit problems rather than a solid, long-term solution. We hope that in the future they resort less to catchy phrases and more to solving our problems.
Every once in awhile we take to jousting at windmills, posing situations that we know will never become reality but advocating for them, nevertheless. This year's elections, and the massive amount of money spent on them, spur us to do a bit of windmill tilting today. We all know, of course, that President Obama and Mitt Romney spent billions of dollars during their presidential campaign, but over the years, other races have gotten more and more expensive. Those filter all the way down to the local level.
Tip O'Neill, the Massachusetts pol who was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for many years, once said that all politics is local. That maxim was never more evident than in last Tuesday's election for mayor in which political newcomer Tony Scully unseated incumbent Jeffrey Graham. It was concrete proof that if voters believe their elected officials aren't listening to them, they'll turn them out of office. Scully was a reluctant candidate but turned out to be an effective one, and voters responded to that.
• Former Camdenite and equine enthusiast Sally Brown is now living in Hilton Head with her husband, Austin, but her many friends here are happy that she has had a race horse named after her, just as Austin did a couple years ago. Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and his wife Cathy named a filly for her earlier this year, and that horse is now in training. We don't know of any other "couples horses" which have been named for people, and it's a fitting tribute to both of the Browns.
The best thing about Election Day is that all the drivel spooned out by the pundits and analysts and strategists and partisans goes right out the window. The electorate finally gets to have its say. And on Tuesday, the nation's voters said they'd rather have another term of the Obama administration than put Mitt Romney in the White House. Strangely enough, Americans say they're tired of bickering among the two parties and they want compromise, but they re-elected both the president and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the two parties which haven't been able to agree ...
With election day now in the rear-view mirror, all Kershaw County residents from the staunchest, most bleeding-heart Democrat to the most rabid, reactionary Republican probably agree on one matter: that campaigns at every level last too long, are too expensive and focus too much on negative advertising. It won't be more than a few days before national pundits will begin speculating on which candidates are so-called front-runners for the 2016 election, and we'll be subjected to endless political chatter once again.
• With election day upon us, there's one final sad fact to report: lawyers for both parties are mobilizing, ready to start flinging lawsuits. In Ohio alone, thousands of attorneys are standing by; we're reminded a bit of those ads for prescription drugs in which a somber announcer tells viewers there's a pretty good chance they have a disease they might not even know about. Actually, having a legal fight would be an appropriate though mournful way to end what has probably been the most down-and-dirty fight American voters have seen.
Hurricane Sandy proved once again that Mother Nature is always in charge. In fact, the number of natural tragedies in the last few years has been almost incalculable, emphasizing the point that man has little power when facing natural forces. Though nobody would have chosen it to happen because of a storm inflicting such cruel damage to so many people, it did focus publicity off the presidential race, and that was fortunate; the media coverage had become stifling.
No matter which candidate wins the presidency and no matter which party controls the House and the Senate, elected officials would do well to pay attention to level-head business leaders when it comes to the horrid budget deficits this country is facing. Democrats decry any kind of spending cuts, while Republicans want to close the door on tax increases, period.
• In the midst of all the presidential punditry and endless spin, we were struck recently by the simple concept of how much sense it would make to have a single six-year term for the presidency, with re-election not allowed. Chief executives then could accomplish things without always stopping to check the political winds. Perhaps best of all, we would only be subjected to the endless campaign tripe every six years instead of every four.
As South Carolina's oldest inland city, Camden has a proud historical heritage and, fortunately, a populace that embraces it and promotes it. The latest chapter in the historical tableau was unveiled yesterday afternoon when statues of Joseph Kershaw, one of the founders of the town, and King Hagler a Native American leader who assisted the people of this area during the French and Indian War, were unveiled on the Town Green.
When former Sen. George McGovern died last week at age 90, there were probably many Kershaw County residents who might have remembered him only as the presidential candidate who got crushed in one of the largest landslides in history, winning only one state plus the District of Columbia against President Richard Nixon in 1972. McGovern's campaign was somewhat dysfunctional -- he fired his vice presidential running mate, Thomas Eagleton, after revelations that Eagleton had been treated for mental disorders -- and never had a chance against a president who was popular at the time and hadn't yet been trapped by ...
• Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, Newsweek became a journalistic force of the 20th century; its weekly wrap-up of the news events affecting the world was required reading for those who wanted to be in the know. When the print woes that have affected the entire magazine industry, and much of the newspaper industry, became too severe, it switched to a sort of combination print-online publication. But last week, facing mounting losses, Newsweek gave up the ghost and cancelled its print edition. It's a sad occurrence, but a sign of the times in the magazine business.
• A belated tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk for being awarded the "Green Seal of Approval" from the Conservation Voters of South Carolina back in September during the organization's annual Green Tie Awards banquet. She earned the honor along with fellow State Rep. Paul Agnew and State Sen. Ray Cleary for their continued "championing (of) funding for the Conservation Bank and they have also promoted clean energy initiatives." The group said Funderburk and Agnew were "instrumental in upholding the Atlantic Compact that ended the nation's use of South Carolinas as its nuclear waste ...
Kershaw County Council made a reasonable decision earlier this week in limiting to 10 minutes the amount of time people have to speak when addressing issues during public hearings. Having the right to be heard is fundamental, and it's important that council didn't attempt to do away with that, but anyone who's ever attended hearings before -- or any type of public forum, for that matter -- knows that some people can get carried away with the sound of their own voices.
Lawyers of every political persuasion are lining up in Washington to have their say on the legality or illegality of the plan President Obama intends to implement regarding amnesty for illegal aliens who are in the United States without proper authorization, with one major network saying the president's plan to take the immigration system into his own hands "is a daring test of the limits of presidential power."
Operating under the simple premise that citizens have a right to know as much as they can about how their government officials operate, and how that affects governmental agencies as a whole, we almost always favor laws and regulations which require transparency in government. Transparency, of course, is an overused word, but it basically means that government agencies must operate in a way that allows citizens to observe what's happening, and even to have input about what's taking place.
• Once again, we mention the good work of Brian Mayes in this space. Seven years ago -- in response to the death of Camden High School student Michael Smith in Kershaw County's only gang-related shooting -- Mayes said the community had to become "a better gang than the gangs." What he meant is Camden and Kershaw County had to offer young people alternatives to gang life and choices which could land them in jail, or worse. Two events this month prove Mayes has planted good seeds we hope will bear fruit for generations to come. First, the official ribbon cutting ceremony ...
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