In the past two weeks, a town in South Carolina fired its gay police chief, state leaders skipped a ceremony honoring a famous anti-segregationist, and the city of Charleston complained about a reality show produced by a New York network. We get it, guys. You're rebelling against liberal social norms, as you do.
The ousted gay police chief
"I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children. Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be."
Those are the eloquent words of Mayor Earl Bullard of Latta, South Carolina, explaining his attitudes toward gays to a town councilman who happened to be taping the call, as transcribed by WBTW. The conversation apparently took place before Bullard suddenly fired the town's police chief, Crystal Moore, an openly gay woman.
Bullard claims that the firing was for cause. He gave Moore seven reprimands in one day last week — the first she'd received in 20 years of service in the city — and then booted her. But people in the town are skeptical, noting both that Moore launched an investigation of a Bullard appointee and that, well, his views on Moore's sexuality were well known.
"I'm not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it," Bullard said later in the call with the councilman. What "up there" referred to isn't clear.
The snubbed statue unveiling
Earlier this month, the city of Charleston unveiled a statue honoring Judge Julius Waties Waring. Waring became famous for his strong dissent in the 1951 case of Briggs v. Elliott, in which he declared that "segregation in education can never produce equality and that it is an evil that must be eradicated."
But as the Huffington Post reports, neither of the state's senators or Charleston's congressional representative, Mark Sanford, attended the unveiling. Sen. Tim Scott sent a representative, but all three indicated that they had scheduling conflicts. The Charleston Post and Courier noted the absence of all three Republicans.
The anti-atheist state senator
One of the weirder skirmishes recently took place on Facebook. Gov. Nikki Haley last week praised the work of Department of Social Services director Lillian Koller during a hearing at the capitol.
In a response to her Facebook post, a commenter declared that Koller is an "outspoken Atheist" who is "not a fit for our state," as BuzzFeed notes. Haley responded that the commenter should not listen to those spreading the rumor — like State Sen. Katrina Shealy. Which, in turn, prompted Shealy to post on Facebook that she was "so angry" (with five exclamation points) at Haley's comments. Shealy clarified that she'd heard Koller was atheist and then was told that she was Jewish.
And then to BuzzFeed, offered a clarification in the some-say-he-was-born-in-Kenya mold: "She is Jewish from what I've been told. I can't verify that one way or another."
The embarrassing reality show
The surprisingly popular Bravo show Southern Charm just completed its first season on Monday, depicting, in true reality show fashion, the horrible life decisions and bad alcohol consumption patterns of residents of the elegant city of Charleston.
Other residents of the elegant city made clear to The New York Times that they disapproved of the lack of decorum demonstrated.
Negative local buzz began building long before the show made its premiere, starting when [cast members] Mr. Ravenel and Mr. Sudler-Smith invaded the sanctity of the Carolina Yacht Club with a camera last year. Mr. Ravenel, a member, said they were there only for a drink. Nonetheless, an argument ensued and, Mr. Ravenel confirmed in an interview, he was briefly suspended.
“It is particularly egregious the idea that some believe it might be somehow acceptable to expose your friends and neighbors to potential global ridicule,” [Charleston Mercury publisher Charles] Waring wrote at the time.
Your humble New York-based author watched every episode of this television show, and has friends in Charleston with whom he discussed its plot and characters. And so, on this one, we are inclined to side with the good people of South Carolina. To arms!