It all smells just a little fishy
It’s not “immoral” to offer voters a sandwich.
After the District 55 School Bond Referendum failed on Sept. 5, there was much righteous indignation among the winners about the “Yes” group handing out coupons for fish sandwiches.
One Facebooker called it, “illegal, immoral, unethical and desperate.” The word “desperate” I’ll agree with - by the evening of Sept. 4, any group with a decent ear to the ground should have known the referendum was going to be beaten. But “immoral” to give voters food? Please, it shows how far we have moved - and not in a good way - away from the era of stump meetings. Food and politics go back to when Julius Caesar was handing out salads.
Back in the day - before politicians discovered television and way before the internet was invented by Al Gore - if you wanted to hear about something political, you went to a stump meeting. The biggest one in South Carolina was Gallivant’s Ferry. The best one around these parts was by Dave Waldrop’s pond near Silverstreet. They always had food. Come listen to our candidates, eat our food - we expect your vote. The only difference in what the “Vote Yes” people did was this - they gave fish sandwich coupons even to the “Vote No” crowd. All you had to do was walk into the “Vote Yes” headquarters, according to a “Vote No” Facebooker. I can only presume the criteria for getting a coupon was wearing one of those “I Voted” stickers.
It would have been fun - and a lot more informative - if District 55 voters had a stump meeting about the school bond referendum. At the old stumps, the challenger used to say something like, “I am NOT going to say Senator Rufflehump is DIShonest. No, I am NOT going to say that.” After about the tenth time saying this, Senator Rufflehump - sitting in the front row with his barbecue plate - would rise to his full 5 feet, 6 inches and bellow, ‘Well, boy, I sure am glad you’re NOT saying it.”
Now, that is politics. Fish sandwiches - bhtttp (that’s me, scoffing) - people don’t even know how to buy good votes with good food any more. Fish sandwiches - bhttp (me, again) - you can get those any Saturday riding around near Bell Street School. Back in the day, we had stuff like venison and turtle and Beaufort stew - REAL, political food. One on-line news source, trying to ridicule the “Vote Yes” crowd, even got fish sandwiches mixed up with hot dogs. Nobody trades their vote for a hot dog, come on, guys - be real journalists.
The sore winners in the “Vote No” crowd eventually started calling them “fish sammiches” - I am presuming that’s meant to ridicule people who talk that way. You won - the Laurens high school students present and future lost - let it go. And start coming up with that “other plan” you will support for the improvement of “government schools.”
Now, the District 55 school board has to look for some middle ground. Laurens County’s 1.61% property tax increase was tolerable - though, barely so - and District 55’s 33% tax increase was intolerable. So somewhere between is the compromise, although not really so, because you can’t build schools on the cheap. And while people talk about wanting to “do something” they really don’t. District 55 needs to patch its 1972 high school and move forward. The People will tell you when they want it replaced.
By then, $109 million will look like pocket change.
And stop comparing the school Laurens wants to the school Clinton has. In fact, take our name out of your mouth. We have our school, but not a shiny new football stadium like the D55 “Yes” crowd wanted, and we’re still paying for it and will be through the next generation. And, no, it did not attract an industry, but it is part of the community enhancement attitude that Clinton used to land General Electric Renewable Energy. So just give it a rest - WE are not the county seat, WE don’t control four seats on the county council, and WE don’t get any economic development money except what we scrape together ourselves. And, for some bizarre reason, OUR school district pays YOUR school district money.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle, and he voted “Yes” for the District 55 School Bond Referendum, just like he voted for the bonds in Newberry County, and he can be reached at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org)