Let Verne Hang With Strom
February 8, 2004
Hang Senator Verne Smithís portrait in the state senate chamber? Why not hang it around the neck of the Strom statue on the statehouse grounds?
Both men were not leaders but sniffed and followed the popular political scent. Both believed in a legacy that their political jobs were more important than principle.
To stay in office, Strom supported segregation while hiding his personal practice of sexual integration and producing a biracial baby before there were biracial bathrooms.
Only when integration became popular did he support it to keep his job. It did not matter that integration was a principle that a true leader would have supported. Not even a personal interest in making sure that his own daughter did not grow up as a second class citizen could make him risk his job. Strom ignored principle until the principle became popular.
Verne Smith has that same selfish survival instinct. As long as democrats were the majority party, he believed in the party principles. He attended the party functions plopping his voluminous self in the front row applauding. He spoke in support of Democratic Party policies over generations. But when republicans took control of the state senate, he wasted no time in switching party loyalty to the GOP.
Smithís political job is his priority just like Strom. Letís hang Verne around Strom to honor both.
There are more political portraits to hang. Letís hang one for Senator Mike Fair in all the sex education classrooms of public schools. Teachers can point to the Fair portrait when they cannot respond to students who have questions about abortion and contraception.
Letís hang a group picture of the Greenville GOP Legislative Delegation on school trailers and in overcrowded classrooms. Teachers can point to it when students and parents ask why there are not enough supplies, computers, or teachers.
A portrait of Governor Sanford can also be displayed at Clemson University and the State Museum to explain how public services are being cut. In fact, the whole state museum may close. If so, we can put Sanfordís picture on the closed front doors.
Of course, a portrait of President Bush in his flight suit is also needed in all classrooms. It can be used to explain how students will get a bill to pay off the $500 billion Bush deficit and may even die in unnecessary wars.
All these portraits should be hung in honor of all these selfish politicians.
Let Verne hang with Strom.