By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer
Some quality one-on-one time with congressional candidate Joe Cunningham (SC-1) was all the Sea Islands Action Network (SIAN) needed to say on its announcement. The Oyster Catcher Community Center on Seabrook Island seemed thronged like never before on Oct. 9. SIAN scheduled the 4 p.m. event without longwinded presentations on the agenda. Although some chairs made it out of storage, the casual “meet & greet” format encouraged standing with the candidate.
“Joe Cunningham here, I want to be your next congressman,” exclaimed the candidate as he entered the room to welcoming applause. “We had to be here by 4:00 so we left about a week ago,” he added to appreciative chuckles. “I’m doing this because of my 8 month old baby boy. He’s the gas in my tank, the what, why, and who I’m doing this for. [Someday] I’ll tell my son ‘I stood with you and defended Medicare and Social Security… for a maximum of three terms in office.’”
“What defines us goes beyond party labels. This [election] is a monumental, watershed moment for our future. I’ve raised a million dollars without taking any corporate donations while my opponent has, including from oil companies. [My opponent] said she supported the president’s energy plan on video, which includes offshore drilling,” said Cunningham. He went on to say his opposition to drilling along the east coast is one of the reasons he has won the endorsements of many coastal mayors, including republicans James Carroll (Isle of Palms), and Tim Goodwin (Folly Beach).
Cunningham said his opponent hasn’t been up front about her support for the Trump energy plan, or the president in general. “If somebody lies to you during the campaign, they’ll lie to you when they’re in office [regarding the energy plan]. Trump isn’t on the ballot, but our values are,” he said of his opponent’s ties to the president.
Cunningham closed his brief remarks with the old presumably Cherokee proverb of the “Two Wolves.”
You know the one; “An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. ‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy. ‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.’ He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”
Having set the stage, Cunningham began fielding individual questions. Those waiting their turn either listened in, or strolled past a table of brochures. Campaign staff were only too ready to explain Cunningham’s focus of knocking on doors. “It’s the best way to connect with people,” one staffer was heard to say, followed closely by phone calls, texting, bulk emails and the Lowcountry Brewery tour.
One of Cunningham’s unique efforts is his working tour of Lowcountry breweries. A different brewery is selected for each adventure using a format is similar to the one employed by SIAN on Seabrook, but the local pub may take less than a week to find.
For more information and a schedule of opportunities to meet Joe, visit JoeCunninghamForCongress.com/.