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Why vote?

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dear Editor,

Williamsburg County is a rural community that has a history of not expecting much in terms of politics and economic development. For generations its economic foundation has been poverty based low-income. Its county governance (county council) has been non-productive at advancing the county’s economy out of low-income paying jobs into livable wages. The young people with academic talents look forward to leaving the county and migrate elsewhere to establish their livelihoods. The mechanism for changing and improving the historically floundering political, economic, and educational systems in the county should be the vote. However, the utilization of the vote has been the doomsday lever in the voting booth, which nukes any future progress by electing leadership unable to create the conditions for growing a productive community. Therefore, what benefits can one really gain in Williamsburg County by participating in politics?

The history of voting in this county is one of predictability. Over many years, the electorate holding the voting power have re-elected the same poorly qualified leaders to county council; their continuous re-election is the result of an indifferent electorate voting for them whether county governance functions as a governing body or a social organization. These unenlightened voters select their leaders based on friendly relations founded on a clannish social order; a social order that gives no merit for intelligence as a qualifying factor to lead. When these clans select a leader, it does not matter whether that leader can speak coherently or is able to read and comprehend the English language. It is not necessary for them to possess the mentality to understand the complicated issues involved in growing a community like Williamsburg County. In other words, they can be poorly educated and still be leaders.

Clan members vote mainly for social purposes committed to benefiting the small needs of clan members. They are oblivious to the wider concern of the community at-large, and as far as they are concern, things are just fine living a disadvantaged life as long as they can have the leaders they prefer. Their numbers are significant. Their thinking is narrow-minded, mostly irrational, and for the most part selfish. A significant number of this voting population is elderly and poorly educated adults. These voters do not have the basic understanding of the purpose of county governance, and would not recognize or even care whether county council is fulfilling its mandate.

Not that it would help to change the way people think in this county, but the main purpose of county governance is to plan and set goals to implement strategies with the objective of increasing future economic opportunities. It is just that simple.

When councilmembers are not performing the duty of improving the county’s economy, everything else they do is meaningless. Councilmembers’ primary function is to press for an improved economy to increase its tax base to provide funding to enhance the quality of life issues facing Williamsburg County’s citizens. Unfortunately, county councilmembers cannot do what it does not know.

Most councilmembers are not business-minded people, and that is a serious flaw in county council’s leadership. Their understanding of business is being a consumer. They are not growth oriented business people.

There should be savvy business people serving on county council that know and understand that economic growth is essential to maintaining the economic vitality of a community – not political opportunist with self serving aspirations, which is the reflection of our present county governance.

Although councilmembers serving today receive salaries, they are non-professional in the field of economic development. If asked to formulate an economic plan for growth, county council left to its own devices would be unable to conceive a workable economic development strategy. Councilmembers lack the background, education, and experience, to conceive a visionary strategy for economic growth; and with a downward spiraling economy in Williamsburg County, it is self-evident that councilmembers are dreadfully unqualified to do such work. This county council must seek outside advisors to formulate ideas on how to develop strategies for economic development and growth. Still, they would not know whether the advice given them was sound. Again, the point is - you cannot do what you do not know.

Williamsburg County is a county that has not been able to contribute anything significantly to the advancement of South Carolina or this nation. We have been a generational dependent community, unable to fend for ourselves without substantial government aid. Sadly, this is the history and the present state of conditions in Williamsburg County - poor and dependent - and as far as I can envision, that will be our legacy in the history books of the future.

I see no economic prosperity on the horizon for Williamsburg County, just more disappointment from the same failing leadership.

Nevertheless, people in this county that have no foresight have done the predictable this pass election cycle held June 10, 2014 – re-elect their preferred failing council leaders. So I ask, what does voting benefit me when people are dedicated to failing leadership? Voting is pointless when the political outcome is under the control of unintelligent voters.

In fact, politics in Williamsburg County has suddenly died! With Senator Yancey McGill serving over 20 years representing Williamsburg County in the state senate, all that was politics in Williamsburg County was fixed to his political will. Then, without warning, Senator McGill suddenly vacates his state senate seat to take over the position of South Carolina Lieutenant Governor. Now Senator McGill is gone, and all that was politics in Williamsburg County also went with him, leaving behind the dead shedding of Senator McGill’s political skin.

LaKarr Cooper

Kingstree

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