• Meg Kinnard

The SCGOP’s 'assault on the Founding Fathers'

Something has happened to the South Carolina Republican Party. In my nearly 15 years of covering South Carolina politics, I’ve always had a fantastic relationship with both the SCGOP and its counterpart, the SC Democratic Party. There’s a lot of buzz in the Palmetto State these days, however. Things just simply aren’t the same.

Twitter has had an interesting effect on the American political system. These days, it’s become the tool of choice for communicating with the media - and the public. Which is why I’m left baffled by the actions of our state’s GOP over the past several months. Now, before you write this off as a rant by “a liberal reporter,” let me assure you: What I am writing is a matter of fact - not opinion. And yesterday, I was particularity hard on the South Carolina Democratic Party. If you don’t believe it, just ask them. Or check my Twitter feed.

I’m just a journalist who seeks truth.

A few months ago, I noticed that the SCGOP’s Twitter feed had changed. Where it once was a source for information about what was happening in the party, I was now seeing links decrying “fake news” and quotes from our Founding Fathers. There’s only one problem: These aren’t quotes from our Founding Fathers, at all. They’re fake attributions. So, the irony of their disgust over fake news, as they sent out fake tweets, was not lost on me. Nor was it lost on others.

As I sincerely hope that anyone would do for me, if I ever tweeted something that was untrue, I let them know that what they had tweeted was false. So did a lot of others. Here’s an example from January 26 of this year.

As I write this, it is still on their Twitter timeline - as are all of the others - despite the fact that dozens of people, including me, let them know that they're fake.

That didn’t matter. They had done it before - and they would do it again.

Today, in fact.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington - men the SCGOP claims to revere, yet they continue to misquote them. Republican leaders to whom I’ve spoken are baffled and frustrated, with one telling me: “It upsets me a lot and needs to change.” Said another Republican, “It’s a matter of integrity. And an assault on our Founding Fathers.” Webster’s New World Dictionary describes integrity as “uprightness, honesty, and sincerity.” It’s difficult to defend that lack, when one refuses to acknowledge their deliberate sharing of falsehoods - and their refusal to correct the problem.

Recently, the SCGOP tweeted, “George Washington Deserves His Own Day, Not Presidents Day.” Perhaps. But I bet he’d be thrilled if you’d just stop lying about him, first.

The SCGOP also recently tweeted: 'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.'

Indeed. But oh, the irony!

As one follower put it: “You guys better be glad Jefferson’s dead, because if he were alive he’d be peeling you like grapes.”

He’d also have a slam-dunk case for a libel lawsuit.


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