Given the political shenanigans in South Carolina, the last thing North Carolinians need is to be confused with our southern neighbors. Palmetto State pols have spent over a year racking up nationwide bad publicity with their affairs, confessions, lies, backroom deals, shouting during the State of the Union, phantom candidates, ethnic insults, sexual accusations (both hetero and gay) and cutthroat tactics.
Sad to say, the national press -- and even newcomers to N.C. -- often get the two states mixed up. That has to change. So in the interest of clarifying things for national reporters and all the newcomers to the area, this S.C. native and 30-year N.C. resident offers a list of critical ways in which the two Carolinas are very, very different politically, culturally and other ways. Read, learn and enjoy.
A woman conducts a campaign for governor and soon overtakes the frontrunners
In N.C.: We say, "Oh, that's cool," and elect her.
In S.C.: Political operatives try to destroy the woman by claiming they've had sex with her, insinuating that any female running for higher office must be some kind of slut.
A rather addled, unemployed alleged sex offender registers to run for the U.S. Senate, then sits on his butt till the election
In N.C.: Doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
In S.C.: Wins the primary.
A political candidate of Indian descent rises to prominence
In N.C.: Everyone at least pretends that the candidate's heritage is unimportant.
In S.C.: Candidate is publicly vilified by a member of her own party as "a raghead."
Environmental or health emergencies
In N.C.: Pig waste overflows from retaining ponds, stinking up the place.
In S.C.: The friggin' West Nile virus shows up and no one even seems to care.
In N.C.: Governor uses office to get his wife a job and line his friends' pockets.
In S.C.: Governor thinks being married to his wife is a job, so he runs off to his mistress in Argentina, while inventing a whole new catchphrase when he claims to have been "hiking the Appalachian Trail."
More political scandals
In N.C.: State re-elects a virulent racist homophobe to the U.S. Senate over and over until he's finally too old to run anymore.
In S.C.: A lecherous racist who pretends to have changed his ways is re-elected to the U.S. Senate over and over until he dies.
In N.C.: Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Sue Myrick, Rep. Bob "Who are you?" Etheridge, Rep. Patrick McHenry.
In S.C.: State Rep. Jake "Raghead" Knotts, Rep. Joe Wilson, U.S. Sen. Jim "Just For Men" DeMint, U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, Gov. Mark Sanford, Lt. Gov. Andre "I'm not gay, dammit!" Bauer, and at least half of the legislature.
Public school systems
In N.C.: Drastic education budget cuts cause widespread angst, and school board meetings are swamped with concerned parents.
In S.C.: No worries. There are still plenty of Hardee's drive-thru menus to help the young 'uns learn how to read and cipher.
In N.C.: Quality cuisine is available and appreciated in most cities.
In S.C.: There is quality cuisine in Charleston; everyone else eats fried dough and fatback.
Collective memory of the Civil War
In N.C.: Civil what?
In S.C.: Numerous white men wake up every morning, grinding their teeth about Gettysburg.
In N.C.: Venus Fly Traps.
In S.C.: Savannah River Plant's nuclear waste has produced many colorful new life forms, including three-headed frogs and talking gnats.
In N.C.: The notorious Frankie Silver kills her husband, chops him up, and burns him in their fireplace. Two centuries later, Velma Barfield poisons husbands and is executed (leading to one of the New York Post's greatest headlines, "Granny Gets the Death Needle").
In S.C.: Susan Smith drowns her two small children, blames it on an imaginary black guy who stole her car, and gets life in prison, where she has sex with one of her guards.
Nicknames each state has for the other
In N.C.: S.C. is sometimes referred to as "That Other Carolina."
In S.C.: The existence of North Carolina is rarely acknowledged.