He owes his escape from poverty to the work ethic and the values his mom drummed into him -- and to Chic-fil-A french fries, Tim Scott says.
His single-parent mother often worked 16-hour days as a nurse's assistant "cleaning up other people's feces," so Tim and his brothers would have food in their bellies and clothes on their backs.
As a freshman in high school in North Charleston, Tim Scott couldn't afford to buy a sandwich at Chic-fil-A. But he'd often make a meal of the fries at a restaurant near the movie theater where he worked part-time. One day the restaurant's owner struck up a conversation. John Moniz became Tim Scott's mentor.
"My mother taught me how to shoot for the stars, but he taught me how to think it through," Mr. Scott told the Washington Times. "It's about thinking your way out of poverty." Having a job is good, John Moniz told Tim. But creating jobs is better. After college, Tim Scott started his own insurance agency.
In 2008, after 13 years on the Charleston County Council, Mr. Scott won a seat in the state legislature. Two years later, he was elected to Congress. When the 113th Congress convenes in January, Mr. Scott will be the only African American in the U.S. Senate. He'll be the first from the South since the Reconstruction era.
Mr. Scott, 47, will be a senator because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., plans to resign to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. When South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday she'd pick Rep. Scott, a Tea Party favorite, to fill the vacancy, conservatives rejoiced.
Among the most pleased is Sen. DeMint. Rep. Scott is "better than I am," he said. "You've inspired me since the first time I heard you speak in public, and our country needs those positive, optimistic voices."
Tim Scott pledged that he'll "take the conservative message to people who rarely hear it. That's vital for the GOP. Mitt Romney won more of the white vote than Ronald Reagan did in his 1984 landslide. But whites were then 88 percent of the population; they make up just 73 percent today.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., conflicts with the liberal meme that Republicans are racist. Yet Democrats have fewer statewide minority officeholders than Republicans do, noted Josh Krausharr of the National Journal.
"And contrary to the ugly stereotypes of conservative activists being right-wing to the point of racist, it's been the Tea Party movement that's been behind the political success of most prominent minority Republican officeholders," Mr. Krausharr wrote.
The only blacks in the House of Representatives elected in majority white districts have been Republicans.
Mr. Scott's appointment did trigger racist remarks -- from liberals. He's a "token," a "house Negro," an "Uncle Tom," some said in tweets and posts on liberal blogs. He's by no means the only successful African American to be so maligned.
There may be no more admirable young man in America than Robert Griffin III, rookie quarterback of the Washington Redskins. The son of two Army sergeants, RGIII earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor in three years with a 3.67 GPA. Self-effacing despite amazing success, his hard work has won him the respect of teammates. But ESPN analyst Rob Parker called him a "cornball brother."
A "cornball brother" is "an African-American male who chooses not to follow the stereotype" by "being educated, well spoken ... humble," says the Urban Dictionary. They make "life choices such as marrying white women, being a Republican."
The other four starting quarterbacks in the NFL of African-American descent (Seattle's Russell Wilson, Carolina's Cam Newton, Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick) also "grew up in a Christian home with a mother and a father" who imparted their values to their children, noted Jack Cashill at AmericanThinker.com. "Given the impact of faith and family on the NFL, one can imagine how an emphasis on the same could re-shape America."
What does it say about liberals that so many think only losers and whiners can be authentically black?
To demand people think or act a certain way because of the color of their skin is the essence of racism. That's why Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when his children would be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
But then, according to his niece, MLK was a Republican.jackkelly
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476).