Everything went well for school board and Beaufort City Council candidates at a Nov. 1 forum, but when the congressional candidates took the stage it was a different story.
It started when candidate Bobbie Rose made her opening statement and took a sarcastic dig at Rep. Tim Scott for missing a forum in Charleston. Some of her supporters lauded and applauded the comment, and the tone was set. It escalated from that point and was on the verge of getting totally out of hand before the moderator asked the audience to stop harassing (my words) the candidates and hold all applause until after the forum. The behavior of some of the supporters in the auditorium was appalling; a total lack of decorum and civility. Many people forgot to put on their "party manners."
For those new to the political process, there's a lesson to be learned, maybe several lessons to be learned. First, the rules must be laid out right up front, and the moderator must be assertive and stop any breach of those rules immediately. Supporters must realize that it's not only rude to jeer, sneer and shout, it also deprives the candidates of precious time to answer questions.
Running for public office is a grueling experience, and the candidates deserve our respect when they give of their time to answer our questions in person. I hope we never see this kind of behavior in Beaufort again.
Former state representative