I just have one brief reaction to this email from Mia McLeod:
I’m a public servant, not a politician. There’s a difference.
One is committed to public service; the other, to that which is politically expedient.
And although I didn’t create the term, “OG,” you’ve gotta admit…when it comes to describing the corrupt, self-serving practices of the Old Guard…the glove definitely fits. And they’ve got their hands in it…from the Governor’s mansion…to the State House…and everything in between…all of these good ole boys and gals wanna do the deeds, but none of them want the “label.”
Fortunately, the voters of House District 79 didn’t send me to the State House to make new friends or become a willing participant in a corrupt “system” of governance that isn’t accessible, accountable or beneficial to the people it purports to serve. That’s “the system” I encountered when I was elected to the SC House four years ago, and that’s “the system” that I fight every single day.
And since so many members of the OG seem to question the definition and whether they’re appropriately “labeled,” please allow me to clarify for them what you and I already know…
The “OG” is defined by a self-preserving mindset and self-serving behavior, not age. There’s a difference.
Truth is…the OG is a very diverse group. Representing every age, race, ethnicity, gender, discipline and party affiliation, they are masters of deception and rhetoric. Why? Because if they can convince you to trust and believe what they say, you won’t pay close attention to what they do.
But if you’re still in doubt, just check these out. They’re some of the OG’s proudest moments:
Governor Haley’s ethics charges, although legitimate and substantiated, are unabashedly “dropped” by her OG colleagues…some of whom now stand with her in front of every camera they can find, “demanding” ethics reform
Former Richland County Elections Director recklessly disenfranchises thousands of voters in 2012, but is endorsed, elevated, insulated and just a few weeks ago, reinstated by the OG over the objections of outraged voters
Richland Two’s School Board Chair publicly confirms his support for the divisive, self-serving OG practices of the Superintendent, while they continue to disregard the voices of the majority, diminish the District’s diversity and discreetly plot to put even more of their cronies into high-paying positions at the District Office (“DO”)
Yeah…the OG is a narcissistic and seemingly invincible force, alright…united by greed and loyal only to that which strengthens and preserves their power.
Never principle. Never people.
Not surprisingly, I’m OG Enemy #1. Among their “faves” are threats to “take me out” (of this House seat) by finding and supporting an opponent who will advance their agenda. Self-preservation is always rule #1 in the OG’s handbook. Anyone who exposes their dirty deeds becomes their number one target.
And after two years of trying, looks like the OG has found me a “doozie” of a primary opponent…one that’s obviously in sync with their core mission. Disbarred for almost a decade, publicly reprimanded for “misusing” his clients’ money…now, that’s their kinda politician.
But before they get too excited, here’s a newsflash…
I write my own stuff…every word. My voice is not attached to or contingent upon “this seat” in the SC House. Neither is my ability to fight for what’s right. So whether I’m fighting “the system” at the State House or relaxing in the comfort of my own house, I won’t be bullied. I refuse to be silenced. And I definitely ain’t scared.
By now, even they realize…that’s the difference.
On June 10th, tell the OG they’ve got to GO! Vote to re-elect Mia for House District 79!
And my reaction is this: You may be right that the people of your district didn’t “didn’t send me to the State House to make new friends or become a willing participant.” But presumably they did send you there to be effective, and that means playing well with others and not being a constant irritant so that no one wants to work with you. Which I’m not saying Mia is. But her emails can really come across that way.
It’s understandable to take pride that “I write my own stuff…every word.” But maybe she could use a good editor.
Bottom line, there’s nothing wrong with being a politician. Yeah, they can be smarmy and phony and off-putting, but only if they’re not good at it.
You can have all the principles and dedication to public service in the world, and if you lack basic political skills, you’re not going to be much good to the public, or to anyone. I’d like to have seen someone with Jimmy Carter’s principles have the skills of Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan.
Richard Nixon was a guy with some decent policy ideas, but was dragged down by his many character flaws, including among them an inability to interact with other human beings in a way that wasn’t off-putting.
A politician is a person who is good at working with other human beings to get things done. And that’s not a bad thing to be, in and of itself.