I am frequently very hard on our politicians in South Carolina; Let me explain why. I have interviewed a number of them. Most of them really are a bit delusional. Their hearts are in the right place on issues, but they have an unrealistic view of how to get things done for the residents.
Many South Carolina politicians are living in the 1980s. I grew up in the 1970’s an 1980’s watching a city the size of Charleston explode in growth and population. Traffic as a result of poor planning, was a mess. We are well on our way to those conditions here in South Carolina (and specifically Charleston) because of our small-minded approach to growth.
People simply want to move to Charleston; businesses want to move here too. And, we’ve got to embrace that reality instead of fighting it every step of the way. We block Cruises, big-box retailers, roadway expansions; we even by land next to land next to the land of a park to stop development essentially pushing the inevitable growth out further and snarling traffic even more.
Many of the residents in South Carolina want to maintain the core integrity that makes this place so attractive. And, politicians do understand that. However, what they are missing is how to merge the desires of the voters with the inevitable growth we must manage and then explain it to residents effectively.
We are good people here. We want to do the right thing; we just don’t know how, and that’s what I have been calling out. Our leaders just don’t have the experience to take the City or this State into the future and because of fear of the unknown and a deeply-rooted, small-minded mentality. People fear most what they cannot predict, what they cannot know. That’s why leaders must have vision and the ability to articulate it effectively. Our leaders are reacting to need for expansion of the roadways, growth of the population, they think that they must do something to slow it down or stop it. This area will either proceed to grow or it will begin to die. There is no “in-between” in business and in life. A great city will either remain great and grow as a result or it will die as a result of failed policies and declining quality of life.
And that’s my biggest fear for our area is that we, as people, need to embrace change; but, we’re not. And, we need to dig deeper to understand what’s really happening in our community. In the 1980’s, residents of Isle of Palms fought the introduction of the Isle of Palms Connector; it was needed. It was argued it would ruin The Island. It was built, and it improved it. The I-526 debate is the same. It is believe this expansion will ruin Johns Island, when in fact the Island is being ruined by traffic gridlock in the absence of the roadway.
Why are we so “bass-ackwards” here in our thinking?
Our political leaders are acting like salespeople; just telling people what they think they want to hear instead of explaining to people what they need to hear. And, many of the voters are so detached, they don’t even remember their lies when it comes time for re-election. Politicians are elected to be leaders and to communicate with the people, stay out of their way in business, and insure that basic services (security, police, fire, transportation, roadways) are stable and available.
In many ways, our “leaders” are failing at this task.