A Victim of the Politics Of Personal Destruction
March 14, 2002
A shocking announcement in the race for Attorney General came yesterday afternoon in Spartanburg when the man who many considered the leading candidate to win that office in November decided to drop out of the race amid allegations over a crime he was never convicted of.
In the past few weeks, there has been an inordinate number of stories about the alleged crime that was committed by this candidate. These issues about his personal life have been the lead story in nearly every news organization in the Palmetto state.
Although the specific charges that have been brought up in these articles were legally dropped over a decade ago, the exploitation of this man is nothing more than South Carolina politics at its very worst!
This candidate is a victim of the politics of personal destruction!
Now that he has dropped out of the race, I think it is time to take a hard look at this level of dirty politics.
Let me illustrate just how nasty the campaign against this candidate became:
On Tuesday night, I walked into my house at 7:15pm and rushed to answer the phone that was ringing. Over the next 20 minutes, I received an earful of propaganda belittling this candidate. She attacked his personal character and told me why I needed to get the rest of the story before I make up my mind about who to vote for.
She kept telling me to keep an open mind about this information she has and that anyone who is intelligent enough would see the truth about what this candidate did.
She said that I needed to help her in her crusade to get this candidate to drop out of the race by writing letters to newspapers all over South Carolina with this newfound truth.
When I pressed her about who she was working for, she said that she is just a concerned citizen who wants the truth to come out.
On and on she went for what seemed like hours as I patiently listened to her long diatribe.
Finally, I was able to speak.
I questioned her about why I should care about having the “real” story on this candidate since the crime that he was alleged to have committed was wiped clean from his record.
She said that the information she wants to send me is too compelling to ignore.
I then asked her why should the voters not make the decision about what they believe on election day.
She said that most of the people who vote are not educated enough to make the right decision!
YOU READ THAT RIGHT: She said that YOU are not smart enough to decide for yourself which candidate you should vote for!
After she insulted thousands upon thousands of South Carolinians, I played along and gave her permission to send the information to me.
Toward the end of the call, after building up a good report with this caller, I asked her what her name was. She said she would rather not say.
After I insisted on knowing who I was talking to, she finally relented and told me her name is Louisa and that she was calling from Memphis, Tennessee.
She would not tell me who she was working for, though. She claimed she is just a concerned citizen who wants to do all she can to get the truth about this candidate to the intelligent voting pubic.
I hung up the phone and sat there stunned for a few minutes as I tried to mentally digest all that I had just heard. I was appalled by what I had just been subjected to on my telephone!
I assume when I receive this information in the mail in a few days, it will have some sort of supposed proof that this candidate did something wrong when he was in college.
You know what, though. I could care less what is in that literature. The damage has been done now that this candidate has dropped out of the race for Attorney General.
Their mission is now accomplished (whoever “they” are!).
This is the most disgusting thing I have ever personally seen happen in state politics.
The political life of this good man has been ruined by good old-fashioned mudslinging!
This sets a dangerous precedent for future candidates running for office in South Carolina who have allegations, founded or unfounded, from their past.
Here is my personal story:
I was once charged with assault and battery on a minor after I kicked a basketball that harmlessly knocked down a 3-year-old boy. Although it was an accident, the father of the boy got angry and pressed charges against me.
I was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail for 8 hours.
When the case went to court a few months later, the judge dismissed the charges against me because of the lack of evidence of the crime. The assault and battery on a minor was permanently expunged from my record in 1996.
Should this criminal charge from my past preclude me from ever running for political office in South Carolina or any other state someday?
Now you tell me: what is the difference between what happened to me and what happened to this candidate who dropped out of the race for Attorney General yesterday?