In the past three months of my visits to this space, I have commented on several shades of “resiliency” in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, there was an administrative resiliency with several agencies of our state, such as DHEC, MUSC, and public broadcasting teaming up to make sure that there was accurate information being made available to citizens on how to protect themselves, and their families, from the virus.
The effort was a broad outreach with general information on how to productively quarantine those who were infected, and how those not infected might remain so.
The second level of resiliency could be called “family resiliency,” with each family up to speed on when to quarantine, how long such was necessary, and when there was relative safety.
We are now at the level of “community resiliency,” wherein neighbors check in with each other to assure that children or parents have done the proper pandemic management and training to assure that playdates and business meetings are safe, and we get some idea when “normal” will return and what it will look like.
The Newton family, although remaining scrupulously careful in our practices, has not been unscathed by this. Having had several family members test positive, we wear our masks where appropriate, attend to social distancing, and have vivid memories of failing to do so, and the consequences.
As far as my Statehouse responsibilities are concerned, we had a two-week September special session to pass measures that were warranted to deal with COVID-19, and other issues, needing to be accomplished before we return on the second Tuesday of January.
While there was much we could do during the special session, we were unable to formulate or pass a spending plan due to a lack of reliable revenue projections from the Board of Economic Advisors. In the meantime, we are operating under a continuing resolution until we reconvene in January.
I would like to tell you that my trips to Columbia were somewhat fewer than during active session. Being chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which operates year-round, as well as chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee managing the difficult particulars of our impending Hate Crimes legislation, my time on I-95 is “business as usual.”
As a final note, I’m putting this modest effort together on Oct. 21. It’s misting rain and, according to my little weather station, it’s 75 degrees right now. Last night at 10 p.m., it was 68 degrees. It is hard for me to talk about the beauty of our South Carolina Lowcountry. The problem, for me, is just that I don’t have the vocabulary to adequately describe the gifts we have been afforded by a generous nature.
Myrtle Island, Old Town, Callawassie, Spring Island and a host of other neighborhoods qualify for the highest superlatives. How do we, mere mortals, muster and express our gratitude for the beauty we have been bestowed?
Try as we might, the words are just not there, but we continue to try. We are immeasurably blessed.
Weston Newton is the representative for District 120 in the State House of Representatives. WestonNewton@schouse.gov