Hurricane Dorian came through town last week, and by the grace of God skirted the coast of Charleston. We suffered a lot less devastation than the experts predicted.
We did have two major issues: trees on houses and an extended period of no electricity. Our public services crews and Dominion Energy linemen have worked long hours to restore power and remove trees. For those of us born after Hurricane Hugo, this may have been the longest stretch we have endured without power. Some houses in Shadowmoss had no electricity for more than four days. I know as I went many hours without power, I couldn’t help but think of our old pal Benjamin Franklin, who developed such a curiosity for electricity that he created the lightning rod.
While Franklin’s investigation into electricity is one of his greatest accomplishments, I am also often reminded of his great sayings. One of his most famous was, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I have read that quote probably a thousand times and it sure is the truth.
However, if Ben Franklin followed my life closely, he would have to edit his memorable phrase. Because it is almost guaranteed that I am going to have to see my name written by columnist Steve Bailey in a derogatory manner almost monthly in The Post and Courier.
At first, it was almost comical. Bailey comes to City Council and sneaks around looking for a good place to sit. He doesn’t speak to council members because he might have to add facts to his Sunday hit piece. For several months, I have sat quietly as I dealt with this. I often think back to my upbringing and my teachers reminding me to be the bigger person. But what do you do when someone who hides behind the pen writes whatever he wants with little to no facts? Do you allow somebody to smear your name, or do you write a response so they know that you will not take it?
I have decided to write a response because I am tired of the bullying. I honestly believe Mr. Bailey will continue his tactics until somebody stands up to him and questions his credibility. Here are some questions I pose to Mr. Bailey: What have you done in life? What role have you played in local government? What are your great accomplishments? How many votes have you received in an election? What makes you a reputable source on city business?
In the last few months, he has harped on my age, making sure to remind everyone that I am 24 years old and that I am “young Harry Griffin.” Maybe he is just upset that I have accomplished more in my 24 years than he has accomplished in his entire life. He wrote in a piece on a Sunday, the Sabbath, that the mayor should take the Bible and slap me over the head with it. He has called me a demagogue. I am ashamed that our local newspaper allows him to continue to trash me in the manner that he does, but I am not surprised. The hypocritical Post and Courier loves to preach humility, fairness, love and acceptance, but allows a man to discriminate against my age. Both Mr. Bailey and any periodical that prints his work should be ashamed.
When readership is down, I guess even the oldest paper in the state is willing to sell out to a columnist who has no merit.
I look forward to hearing what you have accomplished in your life, old Steve Bailey. I have never allowed a bully to push me or my comrades around, and I won’t start now.
Harry J. Griffin is a member of Charleston City Council.