Feeling drained these days is easy. Despite a robust economy, we subliminally know there are bigger challenges that need solving and that we need to find the true American spirit again to focus our energy on positive outcomes. To this end, we asked our Last Call contributors to give us their personal takes on optimism.
A look at the dedication that went into Monthly in 2019, by the numbers:
18,480 HOURS OF WORK BY STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS
There was a time when the California coast was full of sea life.
In the 1950s, free-divers (divers not using oxygen tanks) collected generous amounts of huge lobsters off the state’s shores and routinely spear-fished big white sea bass in kelp forests. They also often caught less common blue water pelagic species such as deep Pacific wahoo, blue fin tunas larger than humans; broom-tail grouper weighing up to 207 pounds; hammerhead sharks; and black sea bass tipping the scales at more than 450 pounds.
In between courses of turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving presents an annual opportunity for reflection. At Monthly, we’re profoundly grateful for many things: for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful destination, for our friends and family, and for having the chance to participate in our readers’ lives.
Despite the many culinary preparations that go along with Thanksgiving, the meal is the centerpiece — but it’s not the celebration. Whether the feast is transcendent or simple, Thanksgiving is defined by the act of coming together. It’s also an opportunity to extend the ritual of gratitude outside of ourselves. Bring everyone you can to the table or let yourself be brought to it. Give thanks for what you have and whom you love.
Not that long ago the answer was obvious. But today, with the advent of face recognition technology coupled with artificial intelligence, it’s not that clear anymore.
Cameras can recognize our face, match it to an existing database, and then match all the personal data that has been collected about us (a lot more than we dare to admit). In the past we typically would only have given the Department of Motor Vehicles the permission to take a picture of our face in order to issue a driver’s license. But now any number of corporations will do the same without our permission in order to benefit from the data.
Here at Monthly, we’re feeling grateful that the Lowcountry escaped the wrath of Hurricane Dorian — and sad for residents of the Bahamas who were not as lucky. We encourage you to donate to the recovery efforts for them and for Texas, which was hit hard with flooding after Tropical Storm Imelda, through reputable charities such as the American Red Cross and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We hope we will never again need their disaster relief services here, but it could have been us.
We talk a lot about the value of education in the U.S. Every South Carolina governor’s commencement speech ever given contained a promise for better education, according to NPR.
But little is actually accomplished. And as a result, South Carolina still ranks 45th in the nation when it comes to education, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
September is when locals get to enjoy the best the Lowcountry has to offer. The number of vacationers drops precipitously, there’s almost always a breeze at the beach, and Monthly brings you our annual City Guide. A September tradition here at Frey Media, the City Guide offers a chance to take stock of who we are as a community — including the places we love and the neighbors who help the Lowcountry thrive.
In these pages, you’ll hear from the mayors of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Hardeeville. We also check in with town officials and show you a snapshot of growth and development on the mainland by the numbers. We’ve also included an update about what’s happening on Pope Avenue and at Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park.
IS IT JUST ME, OR ARE WE HOLDING OUR COLLECTIVE BREATH?
The economy is doing well, unemployment is low, and yet I get the uncanny feeling that there is more tension in the air than I can remember since coming to America 40 years ago. A general feeling of unhappiness has creeped in, and it is starting to deteriorate one of our most important aptitudes: the ability to think positive.
“One of life's most persistent and urgent questions is, 'What are you doing for others?’” Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed this question in a 1963 speech about the importance of altruism versus selfishness. We believe that caring for others is worth celebrating, and every year, our August issue looks at pure and boundless love — the best part of the decidedly mixed bag called human nature.
Many Lowcountry residents spend a lot of time making sure the pets, seniors and children in their lives are well cared for and happy. This month, we celebrate our love for animals, compassionate care of the elderly and the late summer rite of students returning to school.
SC SOLAR SUPPORTERS WELCOME NEW ENERGY BILL
Like the rest of the country, South Carolinians often disagree: on politics, on the environment, on education. But it seems we’re all on the same side when it comes to solar energy — and competition — being good for our state.
In May, in front of media, renewable-energy activists and solar-industry entrepreneurs, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law the Energy Freedom Act, a rare example of bipartisan cooperation.
In July, the Lowcountry welcomes thousands of visitors who flock here for precious vacations with family and friends. Despite some traffic headaches, tourism is one of the largest job creators in the Lowcountry and we are grateful that so many families want to spend their time and money here. Many Beaufort County residents work hard to make sure these guests have a wonderful time while they’re here, and in this issue, we introduce you to some of the folks who are on the front lines of summer every day: guarding our beaches, serving meals, guiding boats safely to shore and more.
At risk of ruffling some feathers, we need to look at income inequality in America.
Income distribution in America changed significantly after 2008’s Great Recession, leading to a decrease in the number of families who describe themselves as “middle class.” Consider these 2018 statistics about wealth distribution in the U.S.: the top 1 percent of all households earned 20 percent of the nation’s pre-tax income. The bottom 50 percent of households earned just 13 percent of the nation’s pre-tax income — down from 20 percent in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The 40 percent of households in the middle of the income distribution today earns less than 40 percent of the nation’s pre-tax income, down from 45 percent in 1979.
It’s finally summer — the season that children and teachers have been longing for.
All over the Lowcountry, we’re rolling out the red carpet for the visitors who sustain our economy and show us just how good we’ve got it living here year-round. From all over the country and the far corners of the world, they’re arriving to revel in what we sometimes take for granted: wide, clean beaches; rolling waves; and days filled with golden sunshine.