6, 1860, where Abraham Lincoln, the leader of the “Radical Republican” Party made up primarily of abolitionist, won the Presidency, a secession convention was called by the South Carolina legislature, where the vote was 169-0 to secede from the United States.
It’s interesting to note that, while many are currently focusing on the Confederate Flag that still flies over the capitol dome in Columbia, the state of South Carolina has shown itself to be one of the most racially progressive states in America, at least in regards to their choices in senior elected officials. Back in 2008, Tim Scott ran for the seat of retiring Republican State Representative, Tom Dantzler, and won 53% of the votes in the Republican Primary, before going on to win the general election while running unopposed. Then, when U.S. Representative Henry Brown announced his retirement, Scott ran for the seat of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional district, which is based largely in Charleston. Scott won a plurality (32%) of the vote against eight other candidates in the Republican Primary, and then captured 68% of the vote in a run-off election. He went on to win 65% of the vote in the General Election, easily defeating the Democratic candidate, Benjamin Frasier, Jr.
Congressman Scott ran unopposed in the 2012 Primary, and easily won re-election in the general election with 62% of the vote. When U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) announced that he was retiring from the Senate to run the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, it was up to the Governor of South Carolina to appoint a replacement for him. It’s interesting that a state known for seceding from the union, and firing the first shots of the Civil War, had a female Governor, Nikki Haley, of Indian descent, (she was elected in 2010, with 51% of the vote, and re-elected in 2014 with 55.9% of the vote) who ended up appointing a Black man, Tim Scott, to fill the seat vacated by Jim DeMint on January 1, 2013.
It’s even more interesting that on November 4, 2014, when Congressman Scott had to run in a special election to earn the right to continue to be a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, he easily defeated his Democratic opponent, winning 757,215 votes, 61.1% of the votes of South Carolinians.
Despite the ugly history of the Confederacy, the people of the South have always been a proud people. But, it is precisely that ugly history, and the putrid lingering taste of racism that makes the response from the citizens so beautiful and sweet. As beautiful as the initial response was from the citizens of Charleston, they doubled-down and affirmed their Christianity on Sunday, June 21, 2015.
When large crowds of people gathered to cross the iconic Arthur Ravenel bridge, and held “The Bridge to Peace — Unity Chain”, while clapping and singing “This Little Light of Mine”, it was a slap in the face to, and total rejection and repudiation of the efforts of the race-baiters who want to divide this country along the most superficial and trivial things…the color of ones skin. Not only have the proud Southerners and citizens of Charleston honored the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, but 385 years after John Winthrop gave his beautiful sermon, they have proven that Charleston, South Carolina is just one community of believers in America, who have created a “shining city upon a hill” for the whole world to look upon, with hope for a better world.
Thank you Charleston, for once again proving the reality of American Exceptionalism.