They have such refined and delicate palates
That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots.
And then when someone terrible gets elected
They say, There, that’s just what I expected.
– Ogden Nash, “Election Day is a Holiday”
There are just a few days left before Election Day, your last chance to cast an informed vote to cancel out a misinformed one, just a few days to elect candidates who, theoretically, might change your world for better or worse. Choose carefully and hopefully. Most of all remain skeptical. Those we elect Tuesday to govern our city, our county, our public schools, our state and our country cannot keep all the promises they made or will make before, or later, or even ever.
Your vote is precious. Do not throw it away. Democracy is not perfect, but it is the best political system ever devised in the long and sometime sad history of mankind.
I suspect many of you already will have made up your mind on those you will pull the lever for when you go to the polls. If you are still undecided, I hope you take under advisement the recommendations of this newspaper’s editorial board (of which I have not been a member of for many years). The paper’s editors and reporters have had the privilege of extensively interviewing, questioning and writing about many, if not all, of those running for local and state offices. Such journalistic work is always informative, even that which you may find less than persuasive.
Politicians, particularly those who are novices in the game, not infrequently say what they soon find reason to regret. Be wary of those who promise to lower your taxes. They may work to do so if elected, but lowering taxes is not something within reach except by a legislative majority and an executive intent on doing so. Better to take at their word those who promise to raise taxes, few of whom will ever say such when running for election or, more often, re-election.
The environmental issue that most South Carolina office seekers are running about this year is something they will have little if anything to make their mark on if elected — drilling for
oil in national waters off our coast. Thanks to the fracking revolution, near-term drilling that might impact state tourism does not now strike me as necessary.
Something that also is in our state and national interest is what we can and should do to ensure a safe and reliable source of energy for the foreseeable future. Renewals (wind and solar) will hardly satisfy our needs, barring a huge technological breakthrough. There was a time when nuclear energy could and should have fulfilled much of our needs (as it now does in France). The $9 billion debacle that SCE&G, Santee Cooper and state legislators unloaded on South Carolina ratepayers should not forestall forever the salvaging of the failed reactors. They could have and should have done so much to guarantee the state’s energy needs for at least 40 or 50 years — the projected life of a nuclear power plant. It’s hard for me to believe that there is nothing to make their completion practical.
If nuclear power in our state and country produced the same percentage rate of energy as it now does in France, we would not be having this argument today. Maybe we should have hired a French company to design and build our failed nuclear plants. Better yet, maybe we should have given the job to those who design and build the Navy’s.
R.L. Schreadley is a former Post and Courier executive editor.