Tim Scott won’t wear your left-wing label
NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina — All that is left of the lot where Sen. Tim Scott’s house stood on Meeting Street Road is a desolate field filled with dirt, gravel, and mounds of weed-choked grass. The poverty and crime rates in this neighborhood are consistently higher than the national averages. Some people, says Scott, call it a “nobody zone.”
But Scott, the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction, once called it home.
It was here that he lived with his grandfather, mother, and brother on the wrong side of the poverty line after his parents separated. Five family members shared two bedrooms; Scott shared a bed with his brother.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, the rising Republican star, now talked of as a future presidential candidate, said the property where he grew up is an example of “the beauty of America,” where “in the most insignificant places from the outside, there’s always significance on the inside.”
Scott’s story is a characteristic American narrative of redemption. “It’s the story that even though you fall or find yourself in a tough situation, it’s not the end of your story.” Scott’s story has already seen him become the first African American to serve in both the House and the Senate.
Scott is clearly the author of his own story. It’s not derivative, and it doesn’t fit into the hackneyed narrative provided by the Left for racial minorities. Scott’s originality and refusal to be stereotyped rankle his left-wing critics and confound much of the political media, which see America as a land not of opportunity but of oppression, a place where a man’s politics should be determined by his skin color or his class.
Scott struggled with academics in high school, but he did have a notable breakthrough: He won his junior year race for student vice president. Then, he won again when he ran in his senior year for student president.
It was the last nonpartisan election in which he competed.
It was while he was in high school that he met John Moniz, a Citadel graduate and Air Force veteran who owned a Chick-fil-A restaurant across from the Northwoods mall movie theater where the teenage Scott worked. The two struck up a friendship, and Scott flourished under Moniz’s guidance. When Moniz died suddenly in 1985, Scott was devastated. “Over the course of three or four years, John transformed my way of thinking, which changed my life,” Scott wrote in a 2010 op-ed about mentorship for the Post and Courier. “It was interesting because the lessons that John was teaching me were maybe simple lessons, but they were profound lessons.”
“He taught me that if you want to receive, you have to first give. Embedded in that conversation, I came to realize, was the concept that my mother was teaching me about individual responsibility.”
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