I’m From South Carolina

That’s right. I represent the Palmetto State. I’m a proud Gamecock! And I was really proud last night, though it had nothing to do with sports teams or geographical references. As I watched last night’s Democratic debate on CNN, broadcast from Myrtle Beach, my pride was simply in what I was witnessing.


As Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards squared off to convince South Carolinians and a national television audience why each of them is most qualified to be our country’s next president, they also found time to put politics aside for a few moments. Albeit brief, the candidates each remarked on the significance of the night.

Those of you who watched the debate likely saw it, but I felt the need to comment on it because the news headlines today will focus mostly on the “gloves coming off” during the debate (do a Google News search and you’ll see). But what sticks with me most and my aforementioned reason for being proud is: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in the state that is known for its continued racial issues, the state where people are still fighting over flags, the state that was the first to secede from the Union (1860) and the last to recognize MLK Day as a state holiday (2000), the American Dream and Dr. King’s dream were realized—even if only for one night.

The candidates each spoke about how proud they were that a woman, an African-American man, and a son of the South were all on the same stage in South Carolina vying for the presidency of the United States. No matter how much any of us may or may not want race and gender to be an issue in the Democratic primaries, remember this: It has always been an issue. Except in the past, it was an issue because blacks and women never had a realistic chance of making it this far. It looks likely that either Clinton or Obama will be the Democratic presidential candidate.

If that’s not Dr. King’s dream, I don’t know what is.