We owe so much to Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedies. Those seemingly outrageous parodies in many situations illuminated and parroted real life situations. For those that don’t remember the character, Clayton Bigsby, a blind spokesperson noted for his enthusiastic right wing, minority hating followers. Occasionally leading the chant “white power” for the faithful. The “catch” was that Clayton Bigsby was black.
In South Carolina for all to see is the manifestation of the popular Clayton Bigsby skit. Tim Scott, an African-American was the chosen replacement for the ultra-conservative, Jim DeMint, who resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate to head the conservative group the Heritage Foundation. The idea of a black man in a state that has one of the largest percentages of black residents that have consistently voted to oppose Jim DeMint, his policies and his party would be ironic if it wasn’t for the hilarious comedy of Chappelle.
DeMint voted against and worked to oppose the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) even though a similar Heritage Foundation plan was the guideline for the Massachusetts health care law. He voted in favor of English as the official language. He was opposed by the National Organization of Women and National Education Association in his 2010 run for office.
Tim Scott has had a history of being in the minority of black political thought in South Carolina. Working with the son of the one-time devote segregationist and longtime Senator Strom Thurmond, opposing district voting, an attempt to gain black representation in Charleston favoring at-large districts, Scott declined to join the Congressional black Caucus when in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Conservatives have few African-American supporters in South Carolina. Issues such as the confederate flag flying on the state capital, voting rights, civil rights or even district verses state funding for public schools have led many blacks to the Democratic Party. Blacks were long time Republicans since gaining the right to vote. However, various local and state policies saw a steady switch to the Democratic Party. Conversely, whites have since the 1960’s consistently moved to the Republican Party.
Sketch comedy seems funny when in the abstract. It’s not difficult how some can see the irony in the position of some candidates for office. No one expects any group of people to have a monolithic voting record or even the same position on key issues. Questioning a candidates fundamental positions is also not the point. However, no one can ignore the hilarious convergence of real life and comedy.
Mr. Scott is running for a full term as Senator representing South Carolina this fall, 2014.