New political party has its first meeting today in Columbia

Can’t believe I forgot to post this earlier; I had meant to give everyone advanced notice.

Oh well.

About a year ago, I was at an event at the convention center — a luncheon or banquet; I forget the occasion — and Oscar Lovelace, leaving early, paused by my table to tell me that he and Jim Rex were planning to start a new political party, and he would have more to tell me later.

Oscar Lovelace is the country doctor who ran a quixotic campaign against Mark Sanford for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006. Jim Rex is the former university administrator who served as our state superintendent of education, and ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010.

Both are reasonable, moderate men. I can easily see either of them reaching the conclusion that I reached so many years ago, that our two-party system ill serves our state and nation.

Anyway, after that initial mention, I heard nothing more until this past week, when Dr. Lovelace sent out an email that the new party was forming, and that its first meeting would be today:

Dear TEDx Friends,

I hope everyone has recovered from an incredibly stimulating event.  Thanks to each of you I have marked at least one more experience off my bucket list!

If you found my remarks about health care in our state and nation concerning please consider joining me and former Superintendent of Education, Dr. Jim Rex in doing something about our problems – instead of just talking about them.

I first met Jim Rex when I was running against then Governor Sanford in the Republican primary and Dr. Rex was running for Superintendent of Education in 2006.  He won as a Democrat and currently is the only Democrat elected to state-wide office in the past decade. Dr. Rex later ran for governor in 2010 as a Democrat.

Since our experience as gubernatorial candidates, Jim and I, have become resolute in our conviction that the current two party system is broken beyond repair and owned by the corporate interests which fund and control them.  As a result we have a dysfunctional, polarized and paralyzed government.  We need systemic change to renew our democracy and our nation. Months ago we recruited about 12 others to assist us in starting a new political party.

The Free Citizens Party was named to honor the freedom we enjoy as Americans and for which many have sacrificed greatly.  We have the freedom to be apathetic but a higher call as citizens to make our government work for the betterment of society.  Our first organizational meeting is:

Sunday Feb 10, 2013
3pm to 5pm
Tapp Art’s Center
1644 Main St.
Columbia, SC

We are encouraging everyone who plans to attend to bring others who are similarly interested in this effort. One of our first tasks will be to gather 10,000 signatures on a petition to start the new party,  Of course we will need to raise money and develop the structure and function of the party.

Please share the appeal below with others you may know who are willing to work for a brighter future for our state and nation.

If you plan to attend or bring others let me know.  If we have the names of others who plan to come we can more easily prepare.  It would also be helpful to have the email, snail mail address and cell phone number of those who are interested or plan to attend in the event of any last minute details and for future correspondence. .

I hope to see you on Sunday afternoon, February 10 in Columbia,


Oscar F. Lovelace, Jr., MD
Lovelace Family Medicine, PA

Yeah, I know. I’m not crazy about the name they chose for the party. It sounds like a name the Tea Party might have toyed with before coming up with “Tea Party.” It suggests snake flags and the like.

Not that I have a better name in mind. I call the UnParty that in part because once you call something this, you’re saying it’s not that. You’re limiting it. Also, I wanted it not to be a party at all, but an anti-party.

But we’ll see how this one defines itself. I plan to go to the meeting. Perhaps I’ll see you there, despite the last-minute notice.

11 thoughts on “New political party has its first meeting today in Columbia

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m also not particularly enchanted with the good doctor’s suggestion that the thing that’s wrong with the existing parties is that they are “owned by the corporate interests which fund and control them.”

    That smacks of the simplistic worldview of the Occupiers. And as you know, I have little patience with either that movement or the Tea Party, neither of which has anything to recommend it over the Democrats and Republicans.

    I hope to hear something better at this meeting.

  2. Doug Ross

    What exactly would this group’s platform be that wouldn’t be just a rehash of the Democrat Party platform?

    Let me guess: higher public school funding, “free” healthcare, more taxes but with “meaningful reform”, more “ethical” politics… same old, same old.

    Now if they really supported something that would result in change like term limits, a flat tax, vouchers for poor students… that would be news.

    1. Brad Warthen

      Doug, I’m at the meeting as I type this. You’d probably like their platform better than I do.

      “Term limits” is one of their four core “principles.” I put the word in quotes because it sounds to me more like a platform plank than a principle…

  3. Ralph Hightower

    I voted for Dr. Oscar Lovelace in his primary bid against Governot Mark Sanford. His attitude of servant leadership, “how can I make your lives’ better?” was refreshing from those politicians who only use an office as a stepping stone to serve themselves, such as Sanford and Haley.
    Servant leadership considers the servant as first instead of the leader. The people take higher priority over the leader.
    When I heard Lovelace speak of Servant Leadership in his primary campaign against Sanford, that was all I needed to hear. I served as a top level officer in a volunteer organization and it was my goal to help people achieve their goals. So I was familiar with the Servant Leadership model before I learned of the name.
    I sincerely hoped that Lovelace would challenge Governot Haley. Third parties haven’t won in this two party system. The Tea Baggers ran under the guise of being Republicans.
    BTW, I was one of the 4%; I voted for somebody else other than Joe Wilson (R-SC, the “You Lie! Embarrassment to South Carolina) and absolutely leaderless; Joe follows the prevailing herd.

  4. Steven Davis II

    So this is what people without hobbies do for entertainment. I’m guessing watching paint dry would be much more productive.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    This is a hobby.

    My local politics mentor used to say,”Some people go bowling” as we’d head to yet another D/DRC, BoZA, Planning Commission or City Council meeting….

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, I used to have a job like that, at a place called a “newspaper.” But the business model that paid for someone to edit and check behind me collapsed. So now I’m in the stream-of-consciousness world of blogging.

      I don’t like it. I consider one typo to be far too many. I’m one of those rare people who tries to send perfect emails. If I write it, I want it to be flawless.

      But I had to overcome my own perfectionism in order to blog. Because the truth is, it’s very difficult for me to find the time to write what you see here. If I applied the procedures of proofing and editing that I insisted upon as an editor to this blog, the blog would cease to exist. I just don’t have that kind of time.

      It’s hard for me to give myself permission to make errors. But I manage to do it, because the urge to blog is sufficiently strong…

      1. Doug Ross

        I’d pay to allow for editing my comments… maybe a feature like Linkedin has where you have X minutes to revise an entry or delete it. Too many times, I see that I have made a mistake in grammar or spelling that my bifocaled eyes didn’t catch the first time.

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