In my many years as an amateur anthropologist observing the people of the Southern United States, I’ve come to a conclusion, one which is backed up by voluminous amounts of research, some of it coming from other scholars and the like, some of it based on my own field work. I’m talking boxes and boxes of notebooks, recordings, and newspaper clippings, and they all have directed me to one startling conclusion: South Carolinians simply do not understand how this whole voting thing works. This is the only explanation for why we continue to elect Lindsey Graham to the U.S. Senate year after year when it’s so clear he's one of the most reviled individuals in our fair state.
Whether it’s Graham’s persistent push for immigration reform, his tendency to reach across the aisle and compromise with the Democrats, his stern refusal to vote against each and every one of President Barack Obama’s appointees, or his utter disdain for the Tea Party’s army of snake oil salesmen and bargain-basement political philosophers, most of what Graham stands for South Carolinians stand against. All of which is why I firmly believe that every vote cast for Lindsey is actually a vote to get him out of office.
Perhaps reality TV is more dangerous than we’ve all been led to believe. My research shows that programs like Survivor and Big Brother have actually done irreparable damage to our understanding of voting. If you doubt me, then consider the most recent Winthrop Poll.
As you may know, Scott Huffmon of Winthrop University and his trusty crew periodically place phone calls to men and women across the state in an attempt to discover where they stand on key issues. And according to the most recent poll, we know exactly where they stand on Lindsey Graham: They don’t like him.
OK. That’s not entirely accurate. It’s just that six in 10 South Carolinians firmly do not want Lindsey Graham to run for president. Equally as bad, less than half of all of those polled think he’s doing a good job. I don’t know about you, but if that doesn’t prove my theory I don’t know what does.
But that’s neither here nor there.
What I really want to talk about is the semi-annual Haire of the Dog Poll, a poll that honestly hasn’t been conducted annually or semi-annually since, well, it was created, oh, I don’t know, last night around stumble o’clock, that murky hour when the dominate sound in the house is yet another satisfied sip and the snoring of sleeping dogs.
The point is, there is a poll and I conducted it and I’m going to tell you exactly what I learned and it’s frightening stuff. Prepare to be shocked.
For starters, I discovered that my fellow South Carolinians — some 75 percent — believe that Project Unicorn was actually a plan to create real-life unicorns, whether by combining the DNA of a Clydesdale with celebrity pornstar James Deen or some other unethical scientific means, I’m not sure.
Even more troubling, a small fraction of those polled — 6 percent — think Project Unicorn was a coordinated effort on the part of Nikki Haley, the entire S.C. Legislature, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, and Hasbro to bring BronyCon 2016 to the Palmetto State. Clearly, somebody needs to lay off Applejack’s signature apple cider.
As surprising as that was, nothing quite prepared me for this stat: A whopping 77 percent of those polled who publicly profess their hatred for Southern Charm already have the season two premiere queued up on their DVRs. Meanwhile only 5 percent of the population believes the show paints an inaccurate picture of life in Charleston, but those are also the 5 percent of the population who have never been invited to Whitney Sudler-Smith’s Stabbin’ Cabin or done a line of blow with T-Rav.
And then there is that sorry 66 percent of South Carolinians who believe that Tim Scott had consciously de-coupled with his childhood sweetheart, Selma Alabama, blissfully unaware of the fact that the state’s junior senator is currently seeing Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog and salivating over a recipe for kale and butternut squash lasagna. And with good reason: It’s looks tasty.
Now, this next bit will actually blow your mind: 85 percent of Charlestonians have never even met a person from Ohio. In fact, they’re not entirely sure what an Ohioan actually looks like, although some secretly expect that if you stare into its eyes, you will instantly turn into a steelworker and a card-paying member of the AFL-CIO.
Of course, nothing tops this final bit of information: On any given night, some 1,000 South Carolianians will blindly answer the phone from an unknown party, whether it’s from Scott Huffmon at Winthrop University or this writer asking them if they support marriage equality for the Ben Tillman statue on the Statehouse grounds with the John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square.
Surprisingly, 34 percent said yes, but only if Glenn McConnell officiates.