One of my South Carolina muses, yes, I have more than one, alerted me to the terrific departing floor speech of State Rep. Boyd Brown (D). The 25-year-old isn’t seeking a third term; instead he’s going to law school. The farewell address was heavy on rib-poking of fellow legislators and brickbats for Gov. Nikki Haley (R). But what made Brown’s speech noteworthy was the blunt yet inspiring warning to his colleagues about his generation. One that should be heeded beyond the Palmetto State.
My generation acknowledges science and we want to protect our planet. We understand the importance of our natural heritage in this state, and what responsibilities come with that heritage. Visit the ACE Basin, and then try to convince me we don’t have an obligation to protect our natural resources.
My generation doesn’t think you improve the lives of the working South Carolinian by lowering the taxes of the corporations that fund your political endeavors; you do so by finding ways to lower the personal income tax and improve their lot in life.
My generation finds it disgraceful to confine a child born to a broken home in Winnsboro or Kingstree, Allendale or Dillon, to a life without opportunity. Instead, we want the classroom to be a place where that child can escape from the shadows of despair and find refuge in an entirely new world, rich with opportunity.
My generation understands you don’t fix roads by naming them after Andre Bauer and other politicians, and you don’t fund infrastructure by changing the composition of the DOT Board. President Clinton reminded us, “There is no evidence that we can succeed in this century with an antigovernment strategy, with a philosophy grounded in ‘You’re on your own’ rather than ‘We’re all in this together.” We must invest in better roads, stronger bridges and updated water and sewer lines.
My generation does not hate gay people. We don’t hate any people, we simply believe all Americans, here in this state and across our country, should be able to live their lives as they see fit.
My generation is not caught up in black versus white. We must break out of this out-dated prism of looking at one another through the spectacles of the past. We want to celebrate equality and opportunity in South Carolina, not the bigotry that has defined our state for too long.
This is my generation…
My generation does not fear the future. My generation is not afraid of progress; we’re not afraid of globalism and an interdependent world. My generation, we welcome change.
And, ladies and gentlemen, as a word of caution to you, my generation is sprinting this way.
Brown is a voice of a generation that everyone claims to be protecting, to be fighting for. Would that those who are older and profess to know better listened to the next generation. Pretty soon they’ll have no choice. As Brown so vividly said, “My generation is sprinting this way.” On a host of issues, its arrival can’t come soon enough.