Nikki Haley is the first female governor of South Carolina. She is also the first minority governor of South Carolina. She is the child of legal immigrants who made a living in South Carolina despite a lot of racism, classism, sexism, and anti-immigration sentiment. She has probably led a tough life.
Despite all of this, Nikki Haley is a Tea-Bagger.
I’m from South Carolina. After many years of fighting it, I’m becoming proud of it. In order to grow as a person, I had to leave, and I don’t regret that, but there’s a lot of things to like about Southern culture, especially the Deep South (by the way, where I’m from, Texas is “the West,” not the South).
Southerners take immense pride in their heritage. Often and stereotypically, that takes the form of racism, homophobia/transphobia, sexism, and the classic nostalgia for antebellum society. But Southerners, especially those of us from South Carolina, can be proud that we’re fighters (we started both the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, so you can’t blame us for not standing up for our ideals). We’re also very mannered and cultured, generally, which means that the average Southerner actually values educated and successful people. Problem is, the definition of what “educated” and “successful” means is twisted more and more every day by neo-conservative rhetoric. Currently, it means “CEOs of large corporations” and “Christian Ministers.” But that said, Southerners generally and South Carolinians in particular are very curious about their heritage and culture. Middle class Southerners attend plays and art exhibits, even when the subject is injustice towards minorities. They may or may not agree with the message, but they will go. They will spend their money. By all capitalist standards, they support it.
So by cutting funding to the entire South Carolina Arts Commission, Nikki Haley is denying Southerners the dignity – and disaster – of their heritage. By cutting education programs, heritage projects, and funding to the arts, Haley is not just destroying jobs, she is destroying what it means to be Southern by denying everyone access to that information. She is denying knowledge of the difficult history of slavery from all points of view (especially artistic), despite South Carolina’s history blatantly affecting the Civil War and the fight for Civil Rights which has all eventually led to her being legally allowed to be governor, although she is a Indian-American, formerly Sikh, and a child of immigrants. She is denying cottage industries which have supported indigenous local cultures, to be found nowhere else in the world, their existence by destroying conservation programs and cultural funding. She is denying education to rural people and minority children who attend poor schools by denying pay raises for hard working teachers and creating a standard to measure school performance that promotes in-fighting and retribution, rather than real education.
In short, Nikki Haley is trying to destroy South Carolina.
If Nikki Haley actually wants to balance the budget, I suggest, rather than denying rights to everyone in the state, she try cutting her own spending. “Following a trip to Europe to meet with potential companies that might invest in South Carolina and create jobs, Haley was criticized for the $127,000 of taxpayer money spent on the week-long trip. She was criticized for spending the money on what some viewed as unnecessary luxuries, such as five star hotels” (Wikipedia). Or she cut the salaries of highly-paid government employees, such as herself. Of course, because she’s a social Darwinist like most conservatives, she believes that she deserves her wealth – it’s a sign that she’s worked hard. Even though social Darwinism and the Bootstraps Myth have clearly not worked to create jobs or help the needy. Which is how you can end up with stupid quotes like this:
“What I’m saying is, if you come to South Carolina, the cost of doing business is going to be low here. We are go going to make sure that you have a loyal, willing workforce and we are going to be one of the lowest union-participation states in the country.”
And why companies like Boeing move to South Carolina rather than completely exporting all the jobs – as developing countries get wiser about production, they fight for their rights to their own production, then to workers’ rights. So it’s cheaper to go to states where politicians intentionally keep the populace stupid and poor.
This evil person is doing nothing to help South Carolina. She is doing nothing to run the state, benefit her constituents, or promote the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the population she lords over. She is a tyrant who pays lip-service to tax breaks and apparently has no idea how to balance a check book, let alone the budget for an entire state. She is in this position only because she is power hungry and wants to glorify herself. She is doing these things at the expense of everyone around her.
South Carolina is already starting to fight back. I hope that fight becomes a uniting force for all political sides, who understand that to be Southern, one must have access to that history, from visual representation to support of the ecosystems in the state to educating every single child well and thoroughly.