Thanks to state Sen. Tom Davis, this year’s state budget includes appropriations to assist with the preservation of our area’s unique historical assets, including Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, America’s first community of freed slaves founded in 1861, and archaeological digs of the Spanish town of Santa Elena on Parris Island, North America’s first colonial capital — predating Jamestown in Virginia and Plymouth in Massachusetts.
South Carolina’s importance in the history of our country is far greater than its size, population or economic activity would indicate.
In addition to being the site of the first European capital in the continental United States, it was one of the wealthiest British colonies, a leader in the Revolution War and the origin of some of the most fundamental parts of the Constitution. Our state was also a leader of the secession movement and the place where Emancipation and the Reconstruction of the Old South began; literally, it was the origin of the New South.
All of this is inherently understood by millions of Americans who flock to South Carolina annually to see where these events occurred, and those heritage tourists are a billion-dollar annual industry for our state.
Sen. Davis is right to believe that a modest investment of state revenue for the preservation of our priceless and irreplaceable artifacts and the enhancement of the cultural experience of our eager guests will yield great social, economic and cultural dividends for generations to come.
Lawrence S. Rowland
St. Helena Island
The writer is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at USCB and the co-author of “The History of Beaufort County” (three volumes).
Beaufort County Council chair Stu Rodman fighting open government
At a time when arrogant and isolated public officials threaten the workings of democracy across the country, Beaufort County Council chair Stu Rodman is emerging as an enemy of open government here.
It should come as no surprise that some residents question a backroom, sweetheart consulting deal gifted to an outgoing county employee. What should anger all taxpayers is the council’s effort to hide a third-party report that apparently found the golden-handshake deal to be improper.
So now the council chair wants to remove government transparency as a priority because coverage embarrasses him? Who does he think he is?
Rodman isn’t a private businessman anymore. His stakeholders are the citizens and taxpayers who elected him to represent their interests. One cannot do that from a sealed backroom.
Now Rodman won’t speak with The Island Packet because he didn’t like coverage of the consulting deal and his cover-up of the state report criticizing it. The Packet’s job is to inform the public of government actions. It was doing its job.
A mature public servant would meet with Packet staffers to discuss why he might believe coverage was unfair. A mature and honorable public servant would understand the need to avail himself of all channels possible – including the newspaper – to communicate with the public.
That would be a mature and honorable public servant. Not Stu Rodman.
Hilton Head Island
Free college a terrible idea
Buying millennial votes by offering free college and paying off school debt was bad enough. Then I realized the hidden agenda behind the Democrats’ cynical plan: crippling the ability of our military to attract quality recruits.
Millions of patriotic young people have earned college degrees through ROTC scholarships and the GI Bill. If college becomes a “right,” there will be one less way to reward those who put their lives on the line for their country.
I am a 30%-disabled Vietnam-era veteran. The GI Bill and VA Vocational Rehabilitation programs allowed me to become a high school teacher. I worked hard through two master’s programs without incurring any debt. Notice that I chose degrees that had actual market value. Telling me that I should pay for some self-centered snowflake’s four-year beer bash is a kick in the teeth.
Even taken as mere educational reform, paying for everyone to go to college is a bad idea. Free college simply encourages, then rewards, making bad choices. Some colleges are little more than diploma mills. Some degrees, even from “name” colleges, are worthless despite their cost. Some people can’t do actual college-level work, or don’t need a degree to have a successful career.
There are ways to work your way through college without running up massive debt. Many people do. Community colleges and technical schools provide worthwhile educational experiences at bargain prices. Work during the day and take a class or two in the evening. Your employer may even pay your tuition.
Just don’t ask me to.
Democrats, don’t discount Joe Biden’s experience
The column “Harris made Biden look like a man of the past” caught my attention.
It was written to show that this was very bad and the younger members of the debate “assaulted” Joe Biden to show their point.
On a visit to the National Archives, the impression the entrance made is one I never forgot. The statue there represents the following inscription at its base: “What is past is prologue.”
In our current administration, and to others who believe that today’s world is the only one, the past does not have meaning.
The time when politics meant reasonable compromise, not passionate partisanship, is a way of the past.
Past experience does not mean lack of understanding of the future. It is the basis for good judgments for the future, not seat-of-the-pants decisions with no basis in fact. To have been important and a full participant in the governing process, and to make hard decisions, will always open the door to criticism by those who have not been part of the process. There will always be good decisions and questionable ones if you are part of the mainstream.
The article declared a winner in the debate. Winning the debate, is, at most, seen differently by individuals. Only time will tell how meaningful these debates have been.
For the Democrats and for the country, there is really only one issue and that is who they can have as their candidate that will beat Donald Trump.
Hilton Head Island
The big question for each of us
I recently visited my old Rotary Club while in New Jersey. The guest speaker was a representative from the Boy Scouts of America. He spoke on their mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by installing in themselves values of trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness and reverence.
Further, their oath states, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and country, to obey (scout) laws, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” while Rotary International’s mission statement, “The Four-Way Test,” states:
▪ Is it the TRUTH?
▪ Is it FAIR to all concerned?
▪ Will it build GOODWILL and FRIENDSHIP?
▪ Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
If only our leaders and president in Washington lived by these standards!
In fact, these powerful words should give all of us pause as we continue down life’s challenging path.
While on this “soapbox,” these words and thoughts should remind us that it is never too late as individuals to confront society’s numerous problems by pursuing our own mission of values in order to fulfill a more meaningful, purposeful life. These basic tenets of character and understanding are now being challenged and overlooked in society, but we cannot.
The question for you and I then: Do each of us have a mission and values in life that we can be proud of, while contributing to a better world and society?
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