A Choice For SC District One:
Jesus said whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for God. He explained, I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
These words and similar teachings from all of the world's great religions have influenced our nation to embrace the idea that we should judge the character of our society by how it treats the least powerful among us. According to that standard, I believe South Carolina falls short. Our state legislators are passing laws that allow harassment of immigrant workers, erect barriers against voting, deny people unemployment insurance, weaken our pollution standards, and divert money from public education to private schools. I believe that we have allowed a powerful few to take control of our government and they have sought to further their own interests rather than the interests of all South Carolinians, especially those who are less fortunate.
In 1887 Lord Acton wrote, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Republican Party has pretty much achieved absolute power in South Carolina. While the duty of our elected officials is to serve the whole community, when the election of any legislator becomes a foregone conclusion, the incentive to serve everyone is lost. Even when decent people go to Columbia as Republicans, when they get there they are pressured to do the bidding of the big money in our State because if they don’t they know that those interests will find ways to prevent their re-election.
We all know that money is powerful. It is easy to bow to moneyed interests when one needs those same interests to get elected. Too often elected officials are beholden to money rather than to their constituents. Politicians spend too much of their time raising money for future campaigns rather than doing their jobs of representing the people of South Carolina. This leaves the door wide open for big-moneyed interests to manipulate them by sending in lobbyists to write their laws, and by threatening to financially sabotage their campaigns if they don't go along.
Democracy puts power in the hands of citizens. But with power comes responsibility. Since we send the politicians to Columbia to represent us, ultimately we are responsible for how they represent us. If laws are being passed that result in the mistreatment of the hungry, the sick, the poor, the strangers, and the prisoners, then we share in those failures. We need to take our responsibility seriously. We need to vote for people who have the character to withstand biased influence and who are courageous enough to truly represent all of the people of District 1.
Democracy is in fact not democracy when there is no choice; when there is only one person on the ballot. Republicans are so dominant in Oconee County that often they go unchallenged at the ballot box. In District 1, that's about to change. I am asking you to elect John Hester as your State House District 1 Representative. You have a choice. Vote for the person who will finally put the interests of all of the people before his own.