Category Archives: Other voices

SCV presser: The most dramatic example of the human capacity for self-delusion that I have ever seen in my life – Columbia, South Carolina

OK, the really nutty stuff is starting now, with Clementa Pinckney not even in the ground yet.

I just watched the Sons of Confederate Veterans presser on WIS, and I have never in my life seen anyone so completely delusional as this guy who spoke, identified as “Commander” Leland Summers.

Wow. Wow.

The essence is that, as he looks around him at the miraculous things that have happened in the last few days, he sees the precise opposite of what sane people see: Instead of the unprecedented unity and reconciliation that we’ve all seen between black and white, Democrat and Republican, he sees the “race war” that Dylann Roof wanted.

He says that if Roof is seeing any of what’s happening, “He laughs in our faces,” saying “‘Look what I did!'”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I watched the thing live, not having had time to get over to the State House myself. I hope they’re keeping a recorded up to where you can go watch it, because you will witness a technological miracle — somehow, WIS managed to transport a TV camera to an alternative universe, and transmit the video back to this one. First Netflix, now this.

It’s a universe where up is down, right is wrong, left is right. I always thought the Superman comics devoted to the Bizarro world were pretty silly, but we just saw video transmitted from that planet.

And it’s just one completely backward statement after another. For instance, he says “If Sen. Pinckney were here today, he would call for peace and unity,” instead of what we’re seeing.

But fella, that’s exactly what we are seeing. We’re seeing the most profound, heart-warming, soul-enriching display of peace and unity that I ever hope to witness this side of heaven. Where Have You Been?

He calls these magnificent developments “cultural genocide,” saying, “The United States of America is killing itself from the inside out.”

Cue the theme music from “The Twilight Zone.”

If there’s anyone left out there unconvinced that the flag needs to come down — and I know that with Glenn McConnell on board, there can’t be many of you left — please watch this stunning performance, as soon as the recording is available (I’ll embed it here once I see it). You will see just how confused, messed-up, inarticulate, sputtering and irrational the folks who still want the flag to fly truly are. And unless you’re pretty messed-up yourself, you won’t want to have anything to do with that.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow…


Perhaps Kathryn can translate this for me


When I saw the above sub-headline, I said, “say what?”

Then I said it again when I started reading it, then a few more times as I made my way through it, then once more when I was done.

So, since Kathryn’s always getting on me about my “privilege blindness,” and this writer does the same, maybe she can ‘splain this to me.

Because it made NO kind of sense. An excerpt:

White people, even well-meaning and thoughtful ones, have the privilege of looking at deadly acts of mass violence of this sort as isolated local incidents, particular to one community. They do not look at such incidents as indicative of anything having to do with race or racism. But everything from the difference in law enforcement response to media response tells us what we need to know about how white privilege allows acts of violence by white people to be judged by entirely different standards than those of any other group. If a Black motorcycle gang had engaged in a shootout in a parking lot, any honest white person will admit that the conversation would have sounded incredibly different.

Frequently in conversations that I have observed or participated in with white people about race, the claim is levied that it is Black people “who make everything about race.” But this incident in Waco gives lie to that claim. It turns out that when white privilege is in clear operation, white people are invested in making sure that we don’t see race in operation. Charles Mills, a philosopher of race, has a term which I think applies here: epistemology of white ignorance. By this means, he means that white people have created a whole way of knowing the world that both demands and allows that they remain oblivious to the operations of white supremacy, that white people remain “intent on denying what is before them.” Thus even though three gangs have now attacked each other in broad daylight and killed or injured 27 people, there is no nagging, gnawing sense of fear, no social anxiety about what the world is coming to, no anger at the thugs who made it unsafe for American families to go about their regular daily activities without fear of being clipped by a stray bullet, no posturing from law enforcement about the necessity of using military weapons to put down the lawless band of criminals that turned a parking lot into a war zone in broad daylight. More than that, there is no sense of white shame, no hanging of the head over the members of their race that have been out in the world representing everything that is wrong with America.

That kind of intra-racial shame is reserved primarily for Black people.

Most white citizens will insist that this was just an isolated incident, even though the gangs were already under surveillance for consistent participation in criminal activity. And this studied ignorance, this sense in which people could look at this set of incidents and simply refuse to see all the ways in which white privilege is at play — namely that no worse than arrest befell any the men who showed up hours later with weapons, looking for a fight — returns me to the words of Malcolm X. For many Americans, this is just good ole American fun, sort of like playing Cowboys-and-Indians in real life. As Malcolm reminded us, “whites idolize fighters.” So while I’m sure many Americans are appalled at the senseless loss of life, there is also the sense that this is just “those wild Texans” doing the kind of thing they do.

White Americans might also deny the attempt to “lump them in” with this unsavory element. But the point is that being seen as an individual is a privilege. Not having to interrogate the ways in which white violence is always viewed as exceptional rather than regular and quotidian is white privilege. White people can distance themselves from their violent racial counterparts because there is no sense that what these “bikers” did down in Texas is related to anything racial. White Americans routinely ask Black Americans to chastise the “lower” elements of our race, while refusing to do the same in instances like this. Yes, white people will denounce these crimes, but they won’t shake a finger at these bikers for making the race look bad. It won’t even occur to them why Black people would view such incidents as racialized.

Such analyses are patently unacceptable. And they are possible because white bodies, even those engaged in horrendously violent and reckless acts, are not viewed as “criminal.” Yes, some police officers referred to the acts of these killers in Waco as criminal acts and them as criminals, but in popular discourse, these men have not beencriminalized. Criminalization is a process that exists separate and apart from the acts one has committed. It’s why street protestors in Baltimore are referred to as violent thugs for burning buildings, but murderers in Waco get called “bikers.” And if thug is the new n-word (and I’m not sure that’s precise), then “biker” is the new “honky” or “cracker,” which is to say that while the term is used derisively and can communicate distaste, it does not have the devastating social effects or demand the same level of state engagement to suppress such “biker-ish” activity as we demand to suppress the activities of alleged “thugs” and “criminals.”

OK, let’s review.

  • She’s right that I see this as a local incident, just as I see the violence in Baltimore as a local incident, the product of local conditions. Yep, there are loads of people out there who nationalize such incidents, rightly or wrongly, but in my experience black observers are at least as likely to do that — seeing a national racial morality tale in, for instance, events in Ferguson — as white ones are.
  • She’s right again that I don’t see anything racial in a bunch of white thugs killing each other. I SORT OF see her point that cops didn’t think they needed riot gear, but was this actually a riot, spreading across a city? Wasn’t it a gang battle, contained to one place and with a specific, limited set of victims, as nasty and bloody as it was? Was it not focused inward, rather than outward? To what extent did it need to be contained?
  • I guess I’m not an “honest white person,” because I don’t see how “If a Black motorcycle gang had engaged in a shootout in a parking lot… the conversation would have sounded incredibly different.” A bunch of thugs killing each other is a bunch of thugs killing each other. Where’s the difference?
  • And who, pray tell, does not consider these thugs to be thugs?

Near the end, she writes, “there is something fundamentally dishonest about a society that revels in the violence of one group while demanding non-violent compliance from another.”

Say WHAT? Who is reveling in what violence?

A weird piece. But this is, after all, Salon, which also today offers us this elevating gem:

,,, a Tweet that, let’s face it, doesn’t even make grammatical sense…

An insider’s perspective on the Sanford campaign, Part III

Scott English, Clare Morris and Keith Munson on election night.

Scott English, Clare Morris and Keith Munson on election night.

This is the third and final installment of Clare Morris’ report on her brief stint working on the Mark Sanford campaign in the 1st Congressional District special election. Here are links to Part I and Part II:

How I Spent the Final Days of Mark Sanford’s Congressional Campaign – Part Three

 By Clare Morris

Tuesday, May 7th – Election Day and Victory Party!

My friend Lauren FitzHugh and I headed over to the victory party HQ at Liberty Tap in Mount Pleasant late that afternoon in case we could help Joel Sawyer with any reporter logistics.

I texted someone to ask whether he was going to the victory party and he asked me whether I was predicting a win. Lauren answered for me saying, you don’t call it a “Whatever Party.”

The folks from a Charleston TV station overheard someone say that I had gone to college with Mark and wanted to interview me about that.

Of course, that’s not what it was about. It went a little like this:

Interviewer: “So, I understand that you went to college with Mark Sanford?”

Me: “Yes, I did.” (Big Smile)

Interviewer: “So, we’ve had the Appalachian Trail debacle, followed by the numerous ethics violations, and now these new trespassing allegations by his ex-wife. How do you think he’s handled those things?”

Me: (Brief Startled Look) “Well, I think that we all have had the experience in our lives of hurting the people we love. However, for the rest of us, those transgressions were not played out on the national stage.”

Interviewer: “So, do you think the voters will forgive him?”

Me: (Ready for a Glass of Wine) “I don’t think this election is about forgiveness. I think it’s about who is the most capable of doing the job. Mark’s experience is what voters should weigh in for this special election.”

It was mercifully over then.

As it got closer and closer to the polls closing at 7, there was heightened energy in the room. More and more former Sanford staffers started pouring in, and it turned into a fun, light-hearted reunion of sorts.

Daniel Layfield was there. He’s a successful lawyer now at an international law firm in Charleston, but was Scott English’s intern back in the day.

I also got to catch-up with my buddy Scott and with Keith Munson – a prominent attorney in Greenville. (See pic above).

Scott English, who is now the chief of staff for State Education Superintendent Mick Zais, and I go way back to the mid-‘90s, when I was Mark’s press secretary in Washington and Scott was a legislative assistant and, later, the legislative director. Scott then became Mark’s LD and then chief of staff when he was governor. We enjoyed working together so much in DC that another staffer once complained to Mark that we created an “Animal House” type atmosphere in the office.

Will Folks rolled in in a suit and set up his laptop outside on the porch to file his story on the election results for his blog, FitsNews. As most people know, Will was Mark’s press secretary back in the day. Just as recently as March, The Washington Post declared FitsNews one of the most influential state political blogs in the country.Faith,Clare

Another old friend I was very excited about seeing was former SC Secretary of Commerce Bob Faith (at right). Bob and I worked together during Mark’s first term. We actually went to China and Japan ten years ago for an investment mission (see pic below from Shanghai). He continues to rock it with his super-successful real estate company, Greystar,

When the polls closed, we were all eagerly checking the SC State Election Commission website in case we could see any early results. We couldn’t, and kept trying as the night went on. Then the early numbers started trickling in, and Mark’s opponent was winning in Charleston County. The poll numbers had been so tight leading up to the election, we weren’t really shocked, but were certainly a little disappointed and apprehensive.

It seemed like forever until the results showed an advantage for Mark. (It probably wasn’t that long, but it sure felt like it at the time).

I was so busy catching up with old friends and colleagues that the time really slipped by and suddenly, such press outlets as Politico and The Washington Post were declaring Mark the winner.

The stage was flooded with Mark and his family and long-time supporters. His sweet Mom, Peg, was looking on with such pride and so was his fun sister, Sarah. Also, I saw his oldest son, Marshall, who made a special trip home from UVA to be with his Dad on election night.

Lauren and I realized at the same time that María Belén Chapur was on the stage behind Mark. (I’d learned recently that she actually doesn’t go by María, but by her middle name, which is Belén).

Anyway, her presence at the victory party caused a lot of excitement in the crowd.

Will described her as one of the “Winners” in that special election in his May 8th blog:

María Belén Chapur … Sanford’s mistress-turned-fiancée was the undisputed star of the governor’s victory celebration. Decked out in a black Donna Karan dress and three-inch peeptoe sling backs, the tanned, toned Argentine bombshell stole this show.

After Mark gave his victory speech, Belén unobtrusively slipped off the stage and walked to a less crowded and quieter part of the restaurant. Lauren and I made it our business to try to meet her without being “stalker-ish”.

Well, we caught up with her and introduced ourselves in our own perky kind of way. The thing that struck me the most, aside from Belén’s drop-dead gorgeousness, was how incredibly warm she is. I put out my hand to shake hers and she leaned in and took it in both her hands. She smiled and nodded as Lauren and I were talking to her. The acoustics in there were pretty bad, so I’m sure that she had a little trouble understanding us. The other thing that was really apparent to me about Belén was a sense of serenity and stillness. She seemed like the type of kind friend you would seek out for comfort at the end of a really long and bad day.

This totally gross guy interrupted us, so our visit was unexpectedly cut short. Belén told Mark later that we all had met and that she was afraid that we thought she was rude. He called to tell me that, and I assured him that it was the exact opposite – we were totally charmed by her.



Ms. Clare Folio Morris is the CEO of the Clare Morris Agency, Inc. (CMA). In 2006, Clare was thrilled to launch her own public relations agency with several colleagues from the SC Department of Commerce. CMA, which recently celebrated its 7th birthday, specializes in helping organizations that are working to make the state more globally competitive.
Ms. Morris is the proud Mom of Roe (23) – a 2011 Furman graduate who works in international finance in New York City and Andrew (20) – an ethical computer hacker in Reston, VA.
She was recently chosen as one of five 2013 Women of Influence by the Greater Columbia Business Monthly.
You can reach her at