Dear Palmetto State:
How are you doing? It’s been a while. I’ve always loved South Carolina for reasons that are hard to describe. Perhaps it’s the history that lies just below the surface – even the bad stuff (you know what I mean here). It could be the unique “Shag” dancing (no, that’s not a euphemism) or the passion for ACC hoops. It might just be that I’m a swamp kind of guy. But whatever it is, I’ve always known you as straight-up and honest people who are kind and decent.
You’ve all heard about the mayhem that native son Stephen Colbert has been plotting in your primary by now. I’m sure it seems pretty silly, but it isn’t. The thing is that we in the rest of the nation are asking you to help us out. You’re on the front lines of nasty campaigning election after election, and you keep taking it and taking it and taking it. But this year you can take a stand. This could be your second Battle of the Cowpens. You probably heard this story in grade school, but let me explain:
Back in the Revolutionary War, things weren’t going well for our side in South Carolina. The rebels made their stand under darkness in a fort made of tough palmetto logs, but they couldn’t hold back the superior British force. That’s where the beautiful flag comes from – a symbol of resistance held fast in the dark of night. For years Francis Marion hit the occupiers when he could, shooting and then running off in what many credit as the first guerilla war campaign. South Carolina had to endure the occupation, but they hit back when they could.
Then came Daniel Morgan with some more regular troops, and he had a plan. He knew that in the rolling hills inland he could set a trap despite being outnumbered. At the ingloriously named Cowpens he set up his men so that the first line could shoot and fall back, as they always did. The British chased after them, also following the usual order of things, and found the second line. That line, too, shot once and fell back. The Redcoats kept after them, over the hill and into a gulley. Then, at the top of the next hill, was the mass of regular soldiers.
They didn’t shoot and fall back. They made their stand and cut the British to ribbons.
From that great victory, Morgan marched north and joined up with General Washington to surround the larger force at Yorktown. On stand led right to the next, and the British gave up the fight forever.
We became a nation in large part because South Carolina stopped taking it and made their stand.
Many years have passed since then, and somewhere along the way you became the third primary state. Every four years the nasty has slithered into the Palmetto State and you have all stepped past the slime as you went off to vote. Where have all the attack ads and personal assaults come from? No one really knows. It’s not who you are, I’m pretty sure of that. But you’ve been taking it for the rest of us, getting in your shots where you can.
Stephen Colbert is asking you to vote for Herman Cain as a show of support for him. But what he’s really asking you to do is to show up on Saturday and make it clear to all the people who invade your state with nastiness that this year you’ll make your stand. They’re not expecting it. They won’t see it coming at all. It could be a huge victory, just like the Cowpens.
You might think that Colbert’s “campaign” is a bunch of nonsense and not worthy of the serious business of electing a President. You’re right. But you’ve had to deal with nonsense unworthy of a serious election for so long that there just isn’t any other way. Like the British occupiers, you have to fight force with force – except in this case it’s nonsense hitting back at nonsense.
Good people of South Carolina, I promise that if you do this we can take the battle on to Yorktown and surround this nonsense once and for all. All Stephen and I are asking is that you make a stand and stop taking it this one time. You’ve done it before and the result was a free nation. Help free us again. This Saturday, take a long look at that beautiful flag of yours flying over the school where you vote, remember the heroes that fought under it at the Cowpens, and vote for Herman Cain.
Raise Cain for Colbert!
Thank you very much.