The state shouldn’t be so worried about having a bunch of anti-government, right-wing secessionists on Statehouse grounds.
There are dozens of them there every day between January and June. They’re called state lawmakers.
But for all their anti-government rhetoric, those guys are more than willing to accept a government check.
If that seems odd, consider this: It’s no more bizarre than the South Carolina Secessionist Party being upset about their constitutional rights being denied.
A constitution they are trying to get out from under.
Ironic as that is, the secessionists are right.
The Secessionist Party was given a reservation for a rally on Statehouse grounds this weekend in support of their cause, only to see it yanked by the state just weeks later. Even though they can still gather without a reservation, it is kind of a free speech violation against the secessionists.
The state says it is worried about protesters and the potential for violence.
So what, we deny one group the same rights as every other one?
Since this is the United States of America — for the time being — the Secessionist Party should be able to have their party. And they want to do it this weekend because it’s the 155th anniversary of our last secession, and they want to celebrate that.
Seeing as how it worked out so well last time.
State officials have been leery of issuing reservations for rallies at the Capitol since July.
That’s when some genius allowed the Ku Klux Klan and an offshoot of the New Black Panthers to gather on the grounds at the same time.
Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, not a man known for his powers of understatement, never sounded more reasonable than when he suggested that perhaps someone ought to review the schedule a little better.
Now, of course there are going to be protests when the Secessionist Party rallies, and the group wants the reservation because they said that will ensure police protection, a specified area to be, and barricades.
They should have that right.
By denying that right, the state has set itself up for charges that it treats some groups differently than others because of their message. And that’s wrong.
All the state really needs to do is monitor their bookings and use a little common sense. Don’t a bunch of left-wing loonies an adjacent patch of grass to antagonize the right-wingnuts.
Actually, the only people who should go out there are history professors, to set the group straight on a few things.
First, on their history page, the Secessionist Party says that the South was paying 80 percent of the nation’s taxes in 1860 — and that’s why we seceded.
No mention of that whole slavery thing.
Well, if paying too much in taxes was the reason then, what’s the reason now? Because these days South Carolina gets between $5.38 and $7.87 back from Washington for every dollar we send. The feds are paying more than half our state budget.
You know what that makes us? Yes, the No. 1 welfare state in the country.
And the Secessionist Party hates welfare.
It’s right there on their website.
It used to be everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Today, in a world of participation medals, it’s both.
If the Secessionist Party wants to believe everything Donald Trump says — even if unbiased analysis shows 76 percent of what he says is untrue — that’s their right.
And even if that upsets other people, the state shouldn’t deny the secessionists the same courtesies as anyone else who wants to get out there and spout off.
If these guys want to dream about secession, let ’em. Just realize that to maintain the same stellar infrastructure and services we have now, our taxes would go up between 500 percent and 800 percent without Washington to bail us out.
But that doesn’t matter much to these guys. Today everyone believes what they want to believe, and they protest those who disagree.
That’s no reason to start turning folks away at the Statehouse.
The only — and funniest — reason to not allow the rally is that if they don’t get their reservation, the secessionists say they are going to sue.
And do you know where they would likely have to sue the state?
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.