This POINT explores some of the stickier issues facing South Carolina in 2000: the Confederate flag, video poker, the death penalty, drug policy and reproductive rights. We can ignore them, but they ain't goin' away. Better that we face them by reading all we can, listening more often than reacting, and debating from an educated position. We hope this POINT will help broaden the dialogue on some of the issues that likely will bedevil the Palmetto State well into the next millennium.
While there has been seemingly endless, and often circular, debate over what to do about The Flag, in this POINT we try to put the hoisting of the banner in its historical context. How did the social and political reality of South Carolina in 1961 play into the decision to fly the flag over the State House? We talk to Daniel Hollis, the last living member of the centennial commission, for a reality check.
We also explore another issue that has garnered growing attention: video poker. We offer opposing views, one from someone involved in the video poker business (guess which side he's on) and the other from a woman who thinks the games are dangerous. With as much copy as newspapers here have generated on the subject, hers is the first piece we have seen anywhere that was written by someone who actually gambles and admits to having a problem with it.
The staff at POINT, which usually finds it fairly easy to reach consensus, remains split on the question of video poker. On the one hand, we concede that gambling takes a social toll, often on the most vulnerable among us. On the other hand, our crowd has serious libertarian tendencies that resist governmental meddling in people's private affairs. We are suspicious, too, of the "grass-roots" movements organizing for the fall referendum. Suddenly everyone claims to be concerned about the affect of gambling on poor families. Why aren't they out organizing, then, to do something about illiteracy, or infant mortality or the lack of affordable housing? Where is the moral outrage?
What do you think? Let us hear from you.