I would like to preface this ramble by stating that I don’t have the qualifications, specifics, or professionalism to offer a concrete, objective solution to improve South Carolina. But I, as a long-time resident of this state, can share my opinions.
South Carolina is a beautiful state, immensely charming and eye-catching; however,
this state’s allure will not last. In fact, it’s declining. Indecent pieces of glass,
paper, and even wholly functional objects are strewn across the land and waters. Littering
is a major problem (hardly the only, but significant nonetheless). It subtracts from
the appeal of this state and reflects poorly on the people, particularly in terms
of our responsibility to our environment. A poorly kept residence is worse than uniform
housing: it not only shows that people treat their own and communal property with
disrespect, it highlights that they did not even see the beauty to begin with. This
myopia is a shame, and although this issue pertains more to environmental problems
than aesthetics, it is an issue nevertheless. There are solutions to help ameliorate
this crisis, but the effect has been slow. However, as more people have been becoming
environmentally conscious over the years, I think this problem will be settled, and the beauty of South Carolina
will be restored in the coming future.
Another problem that I see growing at an alarming rate (quite faster than littering) is the forged beauty here. Beauty is subjective; it can be faint, it can be obvious, but the one thing beauty cannot be is forged. Imitating it can seem exclusive at that moment, but after the same color and shade of crepe myrtle planted; the same shape, material, and size of houses built; the same two-inch length of grass cut; the same shape of bushes trimmed, it becomes no more than the normal. In fact, it has become the normal. The normal that is to be anticipated. So much so that non-native South Carolinians believe that this is what South Carolina looks like. But it is not! Beauty does not have to mean new, imported, consistent, nor the most appealing. Beauty can home in on the willow trees, lakes, and antiquated stores with their items. In short, what is present. Yes, the crepe myrtle is attractive, but that is all it does: attracts. It attracts but does not hold one’s view; it entices, but does not excite. This is the flaw.
You might be wondering why I chose beauty as an issue to solve. Indeed, I could have chosen a more stressful and alarming problem, and in actuality, I did not have to choose an issue at all; I could have written about a mundane day I had, and why the General Assembly should fix it, but I did not. This is because I view beauty as a reflection, a portrayal of the people. It expresses them and their culture. It can be as subtle as the small Blythewood Historical Society or as grand as the infinite amount of pine trees here. To see beauty is not just to be able to admire; it is to be able to relate, to emphasize, and communicate with people; it is a language to see what people find important. Yet with each unoriginal house built, with each crepe myrtle planted, I only see this language dying.
These are my main concerns and suggestions on how to improve the state of South Carolina. I want to be clear: this state has potential. The beauty here is present and always has been present, just mishandled. There are economic benefits to having a gorgeous state, but for the majority (and as the crux of this ramble), no one wants to live in a banal state.