By Paul Gable
It seems that it takes national news making events to make the SC General Assembly work at all.
This year’s edition of the SC General Assembly may be known as the group that removed the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds and little else.
In the past few days, momentum seems to be building for removal of the Confederate flag in response to the massacre of nine Black citizens at a Charleston church.
Removal of the flag was nowhere on the SC General Assembly radar at the beginning of the legislative year, or last week for that matter.
But now it will be debated in a specially amended legislative session next month and members of the SC General Assembly are falling all over themselves to demand its removal.
A bill to require police body cameras throughout the state was passed after a North Charleston police officer shot a fleeing Black man in the back two months ago.
Both events were covered by major national and international news organizations so they got the attention of the legislators.
Does it really take a major tragedy to get the SC General Assembly to act?
And when it does act, it is all for show and not for substance.
Removing the flag from the statehouse grounds will not have any effect on whether another senseless act is committed by some deranged member of society.
Removing the flag will not address the underlying problems that really cause such senseless acts to be committed.
But, that’s another discussion altogether. For now it’s the headline grabbing gesture that is important to our state’s supposed government leaders.
At the beginning of the legislative year, bills on ethics reform and state road repair were supposedly top priority and the SC General Assembly was under court order to come up with a more equitable method of funding the state’s public schools.
Of course nothing happened in those areas. So much for top priorities.
And, this group couldn’t even get the budget completed on time. It needed to amend the Sine Die resolution and the governor won’t begin the veto process until next week.
Will it take some deranged motorist wrecking his car because of one of the state’s crumbling roads and looking for revenge by shooting his way into the SC Department of Transportation to get a roads bill passed?
It seems that way with the current bunch of SC General Assembly members.
Everything is gauged for maximum political perception rather than effective governing.
The same is true for Gov. Nikki Haley. She’s trying to use the shooting at the Charleston church and her response in calling for removal of the flag to catapult herself back into the national political conversation.
If this is not so, why did Haley wait through four and a half years as governor, and until a massacre occurred, before her big press conference calling for the flag to come down?
We seem to have nothing but a bunch of actors in Columbia rather than legislators and an executive interested in performing the serious task of governing.
We get what we vote for and nothing comes from nothing.