Seeding Reform . . . Or Why Elections Matter

Sometimes introspection is a good think just as long as it does not decline into extended navel gazing – the oblivious act of hanging one’s head and staring at your stomach for long periods of time.

With that said, I have been thinking about the conservative principles that I laid out in my first campaign almost five years ago.

During that campaign, I was critical of the Republican status quo. I even commented that I wasn’t mad at Democrats for being liberal – disappointed maybe, but certainly not mad. Instead, I was mad at Republicans for not pushing conservative ideas, both inColumbiaandWashington.

That comment was made to a Tea Party crowd of several thousand people at the Greenville Bi-Lo Center; a crowd who was demonstrably tired of being fed drivel from the Republican Party; a crowd who demanded more than conservative lip service.

They were looking for leaders who could take intelligent conservative ideas, turn them into viable legislation and then enact reform – large expectations from a large crowd.

Unfortunately, large expectations often lead to large disappointments. A friend of mine who served in the legislature for many years often reminds me thatColumbianever changes. He was commenting about the problems and the structure. My experience suggests that he is correct. But that does not mean that we should accept the status quo.

Another constant that never changes is that the players change – some sooner, some later. This fact brings to mind a quote from the original BBC political thriller House of Cards where the protagonist comments on the decline of the British Prime Minister that “Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest and most glittering reign must come to an end some day.”

When that end comes, the voters have the chance to plant the seeds of reform, but only if they elect a reform-minded candidate.

As I enter my third term in office, I can attest that the wheels of the status quo grind exceedingly fine. Reforming the process remains amazingly difficult and those reforms that I have witnessed resulted from the efforts of extraordinary people.

One day my time in office will also end. Until that time, I will continue pushing reform ideas and reform-minded candidates. I owe that to myself and to the people who elected me.

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