The worst thing about the “It’s a great day in South Carolina!” order isn’t the fact that it is so grating and insulting to the caller. Callers can shrug that off; if they really need to do business with the state, they’ll take a breath and go ahead (even while filing a mental note that they now think less of SC government than they did before).
The worst thing is the attitude that underlies the order, which was ably set out in the newspaper this morning by Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey:
“While the press focuses on the negative, the governor is changing the culture of our state.. She is proud of South Carolina, and while we have challenges, we are making great progress every day. The focus of this greeting is to have state employees pass along a positive attitude and ask the caller, ‘How can I help you?’ so that they remember – and the people know – that they work for the taxpayers. The governor has always said that it’s time for government to work for the people, and this is the first step.”
She’s changing the culture of our state…. It’s time for government to work for the people…
This is the first step.
Because, you see, that never happened before. It’s never occurred to any state employee that they serve the people of South Carolina. Ever. Nikki Haley invented it. Thank God for Nikki Haley, because not one single state employee in the history of South Carolina has ever considered serving the public, even for a moment. If any had, this would not be the “first step” in implementing this wonderful new day. And this is the first step.
Again, we are seeing what we get when a person who does not have a clue about an organization — what it’s for, whom it serves, what its personnel are like, how it works, how it should work — is placed in charge of that organization.
Tragically for all of us, that organization is our state government — an institution that the people of our state, perhaps more than the people of any other state in the union, badly need to be well-led.
But there’s more to it than that. Nikki Haley is merely a symptom of a sickness in the politics of our state. The sickness is a nasty attitude of despising those who serve the public — and despising them more and more as their jobs become more difficult.
She is now engaged in the process of tearing down that workforce. And the first step is humiliation.