A Letter to the State That I Love: Some Love to South Carolina When Comparing North Charleston to Ferguson and Baltimore

Posted: April 28, 2015 in Current Events

I am not usually one to comment immediately on news stories of the day with knee jerk posts. And, this post itself is not a knee jerk reaction to what is going on right now in Baltimore. It comes watching events such as this unfold repeatedly throughout the past couple of years. This post is to point out and praise the people of South Carolina in light of Ferguson, MO and in light of Baltimore, MD. Recently, we had a white cop who shot and killed a black man on video right here in South Carolina. The expectation because of recent similar events in other parts of the United States was that North Charleston, SC would explode in rioting just as these other cities have. However, the powder keg explosion never happened here. Say, what you will about South Carolina and maybe your perceptions of its backwardness if you are from some other part of the country. However, our people, both black and white, are both practical and rooted in the Christian faith.

We are a practical people. Just look back at integration in the 1970s. There was no violence here. It was tense but it was quiet. South Carolinians are practical people, black and white. We work. We believe, both black and white, that it is better to work than depend on the government. We work to provide for our families. We work to make a better life. To destroy property without personal cause seems strange to us. We realize that we are hurting no one but ourselves when we behave as Northerners do. We are too busy about making a living for our families than to descend into anarchy and then have to pick up the pieces later. In South Carolina, we, both black and white, have come to learn that our history is our teacher. The old South Carolina and its ways caused us great poverty and strife. Race relations are not perfect here, but we are practical people, both black and white. Our history is ugly and we vow to never be that South Carolina again. South Carolina is about work and making a living. South Carolina is about industry and raising the standard of living of all South Carolinians. We learned along time ago that if every man has a job, all of our boats are lifted. That’s why North Charleston did not explode. Yes, there were protests in North Charleston and that is our right as citizens to express our opinions right or wrong. That is the fundamental right of all citizens of South Carolina and our nation. The response by North Charleston residents was measured and appropriate. I can express my rage at police brutality without committing violence myself. I praise the community leaders of North Charleston for handling this in the practical way that South Carolinians approach life. Say what you will about South Carolina but we will not be rebuilding North Charleston for years to come.

We are a people rooted in the Christian faith. In our Christian values, truth is valued. On the surface the North Charleston shooting appears to be murder. However, the people of South Carolina are considering more than just what was scene on the video. The truth is that there was a reason that the man ran from the simple traffic stop in North Charleston. Honest people don’t run. Sure, the use of force appears to have been misguided. However, the people of South Carolina, both black and white, are waiting for the truth to come out. And the truth will come out. The cop involved has already been charged with murder and I expect that his use of force compared to the crime and compared to the fact that his life was not in danger will result in a conviction on this charge. But North Charleston did not explode. There is hope in the faith in Jesus Christ. There is the belief that life will get better. There is the belief that the truth will come out in the end. We wait for the judicial process to take its course. This is why North Charleston did not explode.

Think about it. There is truth in the words above. Say what you will about South Carolina but we, black and white, value where South Carolina is going and not where it has been. South Carolina is about opportunity. South Carolina is about work leading to a better life for all. South Carolina is about practicality. South Carolina is about if you burn it down you just have to come back later and rebuild it. We know that from history. South Carolina is my home. I have lived all my life here except for three years in California. I would live no place else. When I compare the reaction in North Charleston to the reactions in Ferguson and Baltimore, it confirms that I have the right place to call home. It is the state I was born in. It is the state that I am unashamed to say I am from there. It is the state that I am very proud of right now. It is South Carolina.

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