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Saturday, October 07, 2006

C'mon NAACP.

Published by cck at 10:04 AM

There was a brief time in third grade when I confused the NCAA and the NAACP - there were so many letters in common. I heard grown ups talking about both groups - and was unsure of their differences. Go ahead, you can laugh. I surely did.

However, at this point, I think I'd like to commend the group that has affected change across the nation and provided assistance and leadership on so many important issues to so many people across this nation. It's not a black/white issue - the issues the NAACP lobbies and represents and gives guidance to are American issues.

So, it pained me several years ago when the NAACP put a boycott on South Carolina for not removing the flag. First, I was working in state government when we took down the flag. And I say we, because I was part of the Administration that made that happen. I am proud of the compromise -- and that in no way means I like having that stupid piece of fabric flying in front of the most beautiful state house in the country. But, I would rather have it down on a memorial pole than flying on top of our Dome -- or GOD FORBID, incorporated into our state flag somehow.

I was upset that the NAACP would put a boycott on our state because I really didn't think it would do anything - save for hurt minority business. Which is pretty much what it has done. The State has a good article on the issue today - click here - and since tourism dollars have actually gone up, we can safely say that the boycott was useless. Except that it made a bunch of good ole boys upset and started a new topic of conversation while they ate over at the Palmetto Club.

Tourism is important to South Carolina - I know we all know that. But, living in Florida, I now see what tourism can do for a state -- there's no state income tax here. There are no car taxes. Property taxes aren't higher and our state sales tax is at 7%. And yet, their budget is a gazillion times larger than ours! (Okay, perhaps not a gazillion). Despite the Republican assertion that money will not fix our problems -- spending enough money and spending it to actually correct the problem (not just put a band-aid on it) WILL.

Regardless, the NAACP should be thinking of implementing policies and advocating issues that would help the lives of their members and the states where they live. We're all in this together. What's good for you is good for me. If my school is failing, then odds are that yours is too.

Get rid of the boycott -- find a new issue to advocate. And, for God's sake -- make it something that will improve the lives of generations to come.