It’s that time again!

The time when South Carolina men (and women) get covered with mud coming at them from all directions and getting bogged down so they can’t really focus on getting to the finish line.

While you’re probably thinking about political campaigns (which I’ll talk about in a minute), I’m actually referring to the USMC Mud Run coming up in a few weeks. For those following me on Facebook and Twitter , you know that Karen convinced me to sign up with two friends of ours and participate. Notice, I didn’t say “compete”.

Since I’ve done basically no athletics since my college fraternity intramural football days (note: Pi Kappa Alpha starting “defensive back” on our championship squad), this is definitely an event I just want to finish, regardless of our time.

But since I’m talking about mud, let’s talk about it from a political standpoint.

For those that have lived in SC a while, you know that SC politics ain’t Sunday School. Not sure of the origins of “slinging mud” in politics but Republican operative Lee Atwater definitely put his mark on the “sport”, here in our state and throughout the country.

While my uncle played in Atwater’s band back during high school, that’s about all I know of the man other than what I’ve read or other than seeing his “proteges” work around the state.

In politics (especially in SC) it seems nothing is off limits. Apparently the thought process is that if enough mud is slung, main stream media may pick up on it and everyday folks may actually start to believe rumors and inneundo. Then that candidate/official that is attacked ends up spending time and money defending some ridiculous rumor and getting off the real message of their campaign and issues important to real people.

Now, I don’t see a big problem with candidates attacking an opponent’s voting record. But to me, and most folks I hear from around the state, things like a candidate’s or official’s religion, family or past personal issues shouldn’t matter or even be discussed.

Almost always the mud is either an outright lie, fabrication or exaggeration. Religion and past personal issues seem to be the “mud of choice”. It’s been used at every level from school board to Presidential campaigns in our state. It’s been said that “Gotcha politics” is Destorying America. No wonder fewer folks are offering theirselves up for public service. Who can blame them?

Obviously everyone has his/her own criteria for what is and what is not “worthy of debate”; but, more times than not, when it comes to slinging mud – most of that mud ain’t worth another thought from a candidate and shouldn’t be worth another thought from a voter.

But chances of this vicious campaign “strategy” stopping…here in SC or anywhere….now or ever… very unlikely, if not improbable. Instead it’s up to the voters to determine whether to even care about the mud or stay focused on what matters.

If it matters, Karen, me and another couple are team #1078 (out of 1,800) trying to get through the mud and stay focused on finishing the race in two weeks (September 19)!