Just a few years ago, no one would have dared dream we might one day be considered the sane Carolina.
After all, we’re the ones who started the war, had a governor go missing and nominated a U.S. Senate candidate with a rap sheet.
For a long time South Carolina has been right up there with Mississippi and Florida on the crazy meter — a national joke, a perennial punching bag.
But we endured. We got used to it. Well, now we have a chance to turn it around.
For a month now, North Carolina has been making a fool of itself because the nuts that took over the Statehouse in Raleigh concocted some bathroom legislation to stir up the anti-civil rights crowd.
Charlotte has lost business prospects, Greensboro lost Springsteen and so far a baker’s dozen conventions have canceled upcoming meetings in the Tar Heel state. They have cost themselves millions to fix a problem that isn’t there.
It got so bad awhile back that religious groups were protesting the state government every Monday, just to remind officials how bad they were acting.
Now, it’s a shame to take advantage of someone else’s misfortune, but we have to face facts: the crazier they look, the better South Carolina seems in comparison.
So we need to seize this opportunity to overcome some unfortunate, long-standing stereotypes. We can do it in one swift act that will cut down on our craziness while ratcheting up the lunacy in North Carolina. It’s really pretty simple.
Just send them Lee Bright.
If you don’t know Bright (or “Ain’t,” as he’s known around Columbia), he’s the Upstate senator who famously offered to give away an AR-15 during his wildly unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign against Lindsey Graham.
At the Statehouse, he’s the guy always waving the flag for more gun rights, more religious training in schools and more religious freedom to ... discriminate against people with different religions.
He wants to register refugees, protect the unborn and then preserve the right of Second Amendment-loving citizens to shoot any former fetus that makes them feel threatened in the least little bit.
He also seems real keen to amend the U.S. Constitution.
In other words, yes, Bright derives his entire agenda from talk radio.
So this week, as the Legislature was finally trying to get some work done, what was Bright doing? He was parading around the Statehouse, looking for co-sponsors in a doomed effort to drag South Carolina into its very own gender-bending potty patrol controversy.
You know, the national shaming North Carolina has gotten would be enough to steer most thinking people away from that mess — the key word being “thinking.”
So Gov. Haley, you need to get on the horn to your less-stable counterpart in North Carolina and make the deal: Lee Bright for any Tar Heel.
Preferably someone from Asheville or Charlotte, but we aren’t picky.
No matter what, we get the better end of the deal.
South Carolina has real problems — we don’t need to make up fake ones to swoop in and fix.
And you see, that’s what Bright does. He’s not alone, not by a long shot, but he’s king of this shuck and jive right now and, if we got rid of him, maybe some of the less not-so-bright ones would get the message.
Quit playing in the mud, pandering to low-information voters.
See, what Bright does is pretty transparent: You dream up a problem that doesn’t exist — a mass invasion of restrooms by transgender people, for instance — and then ignore any laws that might already exist to address a problem, should it ever arise.
Then you go on the radio and talk about traditional American values, how it’s important to protect our women and children — even if it’s a safe bet the people who spew this malarkey are the very ones who would have shoved toddlers and old women out of the Titanic’s lifeboats.
All that crusading sounds real good to the average person: you know, those people who pay absolutely no attention to anything that’s wrong with the world.
And that’s the idea.
See, all this theater is a very deft sleight-of-hand to distract the easily mesmerized from the truth, which is that these clowns aren’t doing the jobs we hired them to do.
You know, things like fixing roads or funding education.
Well, perhaps it’s time for a little magic of our own. Let’s make one of them disappear, for the sake of our national reputation ... and our sanity.
See, Bright doesn’t learn real good on his own. After he failed to find enough people to start a debate on his bathroom baloney — a sure sign he won’t have near enough votes to pass anything — he announced he would try to add this to the budget debate. Translation: he wants to screw up and delay the entire state budget to fix a problem that exists only in his pea-brain.
It’s shameless grandstanding, just to show primary voters nobody’s more intolerant than he is. It’ll work, too.
So governor, please trade Lee Bright to North Carolina. Tell ’em he’s already halfway a native.
We guarantee he’s a Heel.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.