Last week, SC witnessed its latest political firestorm. On Wednesday, the SCGOP held protest hearings relating to candidates that were removed from the ballot. One of those candidates seeking to be reinstated was Katrina Shealy, and Gov. Nikki Haley spoke on her behalf at the hearing. Shortly after the hearing, the Director of the SC Senate Democratic Caucus, Phil Bailey, took to Twitter and gave his reaction. It was during this series of tweets that Mr. Bailey made an inappropriate comment in the heat of Twitter battle.
I have had the occasion to hang out with Phil Bailey on numerous occasions, and greatly enjoy speaking with him. Phil is a great guy that made a mistake, and my experience with him has been that he is not the person that many are making him out to be, based on this one series of tweets. He doesn’t deserve the death penalty for this, a simple apology should suffice.
Twitter is a world of rapid fire communication, and that provides an opportunity for us to potentially say things that we may regret (I know there are tweets that I have sent that I later regretted, but fortunately I don’t have the reach of Phil Bailey). I have greatly enjoyed Phil’s tweets, some are informative about events in the Senate, and others are humorous commentary on state politics and other matters.
I believe this also points to a larger issue that we have in today’s highly polarized environment, the epidemic of faux outrage, and being overly sensitive. It seems that every time one turns on cable news show or talk radio, we are informed about the latest episode of “insensitivity” by one side or the other. This is quickly followed by demands for boycotts or terminations. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve done the same, and it is a cheap trick to rile up supporters, yet highly effective.
I also understand one point of view from fellow conservatives, about demonstrating that both sides can offensive. However, let’s not get into the game of calling bigotry and discrimination at every little thing. It only serves to diminish the impact when true acts of bigotry occur. So, please let’s cool it on the rhetoric and finger pointing.
I hope that we will soon see the return of Phil Bailey’s twitter account, because this is one conservative, Republican that misses it greatly. I’ll say once again, based on my interactions with Phil Bailey he is none of the things that people have made him out to be, based on a couple of tweets. It was an attempt at humor that crossed the line, but nothing more. I hope all of you will join the cause and let’s help #FreePhilBailey.
(Full disclosure: I once played bocce ball with Phil Bailey, and having a Democrat on your team is beneficial. They count points Chicago style, points magically appear at the end of each round.)