John Brock: Mark Sanford can shoot from hip but Vets must take gun classes
Much of US history involves dealing with South Carolina and South Carolinians. With the election of disgraced Mark Sanford to the U.S. House of Representatives, the saga continues.
Sanford, because of his marital infidelities and lies concerning his absence from duties as governor of the state, forever negates his espousal of the conservative significance of “Family Values” and absolute honesty. He is sadly mistaken if he is under the false illusion that the national press is going to overlook his transgressions in the same manner that they turned a blind eye to President Bill Clinton’s Oval office peccadilloes. Clinton is a liberal Democrat and Sanford is/was a conservative Republican and the media will take every opportunity to politically crucify him. His Congressional District will be robbed of effective representation in Congress.
But, he will find many fellow travelers among his colleagues in Congress who have their own sordid pasts. I feel the American people deserve better.
National Republicans were quite correct in withholding endorsement and campaign funds from his run for the House. Every mention of “Congressman” Sanford will be forever stained with his marital shenanigans, lying and dereliction of state duties. An asterisk will always be attached to his public name.
For me and a host of South Carolinians, he will remain an embarrassment and a detriment to a concerted effort to restore decency in American Life.
I feel the most pain for his family who now will be forced to drag up painful memories of what he did to them every time his face appears on the television screen or in print. They will be confronted almost daily with the humiliation he caused them.
What a shame. I once applauded Sanford’s efforts when he espoused family values and other values dear to the hearts of like-minded individuals. But he lost that respect when he ran away from his duties as governor in order to meet his paramour in South America. And just as disturbing, he lied about it until he was caught red-handed.
Like a deer in the headlights, he suddenly became repentant but didn’t have the decency to resign from office. Instead, he spent the next several years trying to convince the public of his recognition of the errors of his ways and that he deserved a second chance.
He has never turned loose of that mantra. I believe sinners deserve a second chance but words are cheap. I believe in so-called second chances but only when repentance is evident by actions illustrating a genuine regret for past deeds. His onetime supporters wanted to see his repentance displayed in actual deeds. But in fact he went on television to announce that he had found his “soul mate” in his South American beauty, divorced his wife and humiliated his kids. Recently he was charged with not abiding by the conditions of his divorce decree.
I am equally disturbed by Sanford’s victory night celebration when he said, “I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances but third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances.” He appears to have used up most of those chances but his words seem to leave the door open for redemption in subsequent misdeeds!
I cannot look into a person’s heart and soul but I do expect to witness some outward activity to convince me of one’s sincerity. Sanford’s actions after the fact don’t exactly appear to be the actions of a truly sincere person. Actions always speak louder than words.
Why did voters in the 1st district return Sanford to Congress? I can’t know for certain but it might well be because they considered him the lesser of two evils when viewed through the prism of their conservatism. I have never been able to sacrifice my principles based on such logic. I would have stayed at home on Election Day or entered the name of a write-in candidate. The election was held to choose someone to serve out the term of former Rep. Tim Scott who is now a U.S. Senator. The winner will serve only 18 months until a new election will be held. The Republicans could have endured a liberal Democrat for that short spell and put up an appropriate candidate at that time.
They still hold the option of supporting another more viable Republican in 2014.
Sorry, Congressman Sanford, you don’t have my admiration. I suspect a large host of South Carolinians feel the same way.
Guns and Vets
As I understand the rules, SC military veterans and other citizens are required to pay for a course in gun use and safety in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon. They also must pay a $50 fee every four years.
Along with millions of other Americans, I am a veteran of military service and underwent months of training in firing weapons and weapon safety. But we have to pay for a civilian to teach us what we already know so well?
Like other infantry veterans, I have fired just about every weapon that was available from pistols to rocket launchers. Safety was always paramount on the range and I don’t think there is much that a civilian instructor can teach me about any weapon and gun safety, Like most Southerners, I grew up with a pistol, a hunting rifle and shotgun. And danged if I am going to pay for a civilian to teach me what I already know about guns and gun safety.
Our state lawmakers need to incorporate an exception for veterans when they apply for a concealed weapons permit as long as they were honorably discharged from active service and have no criminal or mental health background issues.
John Brock is a retired newspaper editor/publisher and college professor. He can be reached by mail at this newspaper or by E-mail at: email@example.com.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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