Alvin Greene and Making Sausage

This November, SC Senator Jim DeMint (GOP) will be facing Alvin Greene (D) in the General Election. Greene defeated four-term state lawmaker Vic Rawl in the Democratic primary. Greene got 59 percent of the vote. Greene was recently booted out of the US Army, does not have a job, lives with his parents, and was arrested in November 2009 and charged with “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.” Regarding the criminal charges, video surveillance indicates that Greene was showing “obscene photographs from a website” to a female victim on the University of South Carolina campus and trying go to her room without her consent.

So how did Greene pull it off?? Anti-establishment fever?? A well funded campaign? Nopes. It does not appear that Greene mounted any campaign at all. The speculation is that because Greene’s name appeared first on the ballot and “Senator Greene” is catchier than “Senator Rawl” folks pulled the lever for Greene without having a clue about him. There was little information out there about either candidate because everyone knows DeMint will easily carry the general election. Hence, Rawl’s campaign was on a tight budget. Folks I talked with in SC say they never saw a Rawl ad or even a yard sign. Rawl was simply to be the sacrificial lamb in the race against DeMint.

Yes, this is an embarrassment to South Carolina, the Democratic Party, and democracy in general. If a voter steps into the booth and does not recognize the candidates’ names, the voter should abstain. I know I did that on several primary races. Because of my state’s progressive-era constitution, almost every office in government is elected rather than appointed. Thus, I often don’t know a candidate or two and thus leave the ballot blank for these offices that frankly should be appointed by the governor.

But I digress. Should we do away with elections because of Alvin Greene.? No. The SC Democratic Party simply failed to take the race seriously and educate the people on the two choices. I still prefer to take my chances with the people voting and the occasional Alvin Greene rather than to leave the decisions up to my “betters” who aren’t much more appealing than Greene. Democracy is not perfect, can be down right embarrassing, yet it is better than the alternatives. Armed with information, the people are in a position to make reasonable choices and defend themselves against those in power. I’ll live with the embarassment of Alvin Greene so long as we retain the power to vote politicians, who act contrary to our best interests, out of office.

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