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S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell may have thought he was the one “teaching lessons,” but it’s actually recently-demoted conservative Reps. Nikki Haley and Nathan Ballentine who are out and about teaching our young people the real lesson – that it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in.

Haley and Ballentine both visited Dutch Fork High School yesterday, speaking to Ms. Kelly Payne’s current affairs class on the issue of government transparency as well as the price you sometimes pay for doing the right thing.

“Nikki Haley and Nathan Ballentine are at the forefront of a movement to change the way government operates at an interesting time in our state’s history, and they’re not afraid to rock the boat,” Payne said. “And the fact that they were taking time away from their important duties to speak to the next generation of public servants was not lost on the students.”

Haven spoken to Ms. Payne’s class a few times ourselves, we can assure you that nothing is lost on these kids. Especially not Reggie, who we’re honestly hoping throws his hat into the 2010 governor’s race.

Seriously, they’re all smart as whips, totally immersed with what’s going on in state government and they ask incredibly tough, thought-provoking questions.

Plus, the last time we checked our comment pages, they seemed to have a pretty solid grasp of what happened to Ballentine and Haley … and why.

Seriously, if we put Ms. Payne’s current affairs class in charge over at the State House, South Carolina would be in a helluva lot better shape than it is right now. We’d sure as hell be voting on the record, for starters.

Anyway, props to Ms. Payne for the amazing job she does, and to these kids for getting (and staying) involved in the issues that matter.

Most importantly, props to both Ballentine and Haley for being the kind of leaders we can all truly look up to in this crazy ass backward state …