As a South Carolina conservative Republican I’m beginning to feel like I’m caught up in an abusive relationship with our legislators. The parallels in the cycle of abuse are striking.
First there’s the honeymoon phase that happens while they’re campaigning and running for office. Lots of charming behavior and bold promises about the importance of a red majority and how if only we can get enough Republicans elected to the statehouse we can finally drive a conservative agenda that will protect our sovereignty and our freedoms. More importantly, they promise to engage in passing legislation that is a reflection of the values of their constituents and to safeguard against the passage of legislation that will be antithetical to our conservative values.
We are all one big team! We pitch in to help make phone calls, host gatherings, knock doors and raise money for our candidates. We are a grassroots movement and one big happy family! We spend weeks, if not months, helping them get elected to office. After all the dust settles and the work is done, they’re headed for Columbia to be our voice. This is the solemn promise they made to us.
Except it rarely works out that way.
Newly elected or incumbent lawmakers head to Columbia and are faced with the reality of legislating. From the daily entourage of paid lobbyists who are there to provide them with breakfast, lunch, dinner, information, support, data, statistics, etc., to party leadership who has their own agenda to carry out based upon the will of the donor class, someone is always right there influencing their decision making, their priorities and their votes. All of this makes it easy for them to forget how important we, the people in their districts, truly are.
Get ready, this is where the beatings commence.
The relationship we’ve been working on with our lawmakers begins to fade. There’s a more attractive dance partner in Columbia. They forget about the promises they made to us. Their focus becomes having a spot among the popular crowd. Picture those middle school days and wanting to sit at the lunch table with the cool kids. Essentially that is what becomes more important to them than honoring the promises they made to us when they were running for office.
Legislation is coming down the pike at breakneck speed. In a typical two-year legislative session there are some 5,000 bills that come across their desks. It’s nearly impossible to keep up, but luckily, they’ve got leadership and lobbyists to point them in the right direction. Those are the centers of influence to whom they look to make their decisions on legislative priorities and votes cast. They have an eye on leadership, a sweet committee assignment or higher office and they’re about to abuse you because after all, they’re in Columbia and you’re not.
As of now republicans make up roughly 65 percent of the South Carolina senate and 70 percent of the house. We are the super majority and anything that comes out of the statehouse lies at the feet of the GOP.
Here are some of the things that have happened in the first three months of the current legislative session:
– Hate crimes bill (first time ever separating sex and gender in the code)
– $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars given to an international liberal corporation (that exposes South Carolina to European style ESG’s)
– Over $7 million to DEI funding
– Killed amendments to ban ESGs
– Killed pension reform
– Changed House rules to hide earmarks
– ARPA money (Biden bucks) to pet projects and select private companies
This sounds like something that would be happening in New York or California, not South Carolina. A complete betrayal. To make matters worse, you dare not question their reasons for such behavior. Not on social media and especially not in person. Such behavior is considered impolite and will get you ghosted.
But don’t worry, they’ll be back, contrite and kind and asking for your help to spread the good word, get them re-elected and remind you of the importance of a GOP majority. The honeymoon phase is officially in full swing.
While there’s no such thing as a silver bullet, there is one glimmer of freedom, however. That is the newly formed South Carolina Freedom Caucus. Their numbers are small but their will is fixed and their aim is to be the voice of the people. The design of a republic is to protect the rights of the minority from the will of the majority. That is precisely what the SCFC is working to do and I, for one, am grateful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
A small business owner, Stacy Shea is the founder of Spartan Woman Training and president of Unbreakable Leadership. She has spent the last ten years working in conservative politics in South Carolina. She is the wife of retired Navy SEAL and author, Thom Shea with whom she has three children: Autumn, who is a West Point grad and currently serving in South Korea as an Apache pilot, Garrett, who is a junior at Clemson and Chance who is a sophomore at JL Mann.
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