The pundits and the pollsters will be here soon. You'll be able to tell by the sight of expense account vouchers and the smell of burning ears from listening to themselves talk. Anywhere a TV camera is in sight, they will gather to espouse their own brilliance.
These people, who live in a cocoon, try to tell the world what an evangelical voter is or what a black voter is. And who will win the South Carolina presidential primary for the Republicans on Jan. 19, and for the Democrats on Jan. 26.
Don't let 'em get away with it.
Shape your own destiny. Destroy stereotypes. Shout out, "This is me!"
For months, these goofs tried to tell the country that Hillary Clinton was queen. Then, she was beheaded by voters in the Iowa caucus.
Before the New Hampshire primary, the same pundits said Barack Obama was ahead by so much that New Hampshire should just cancel the primary altogether so the bigshots could go back to big cities where there is room service and Starbucks. They said Clinton was buried. Now, here she is, Lazarus among us.
These people tried to say John McCain was finished after the Iowa caucuses, where a Southern Baptist preacher named Huckabee won in a rout. Now, McCain comes back to South Carolina, just like in 2000, like a tiny steam engine with white hair.
Why? Because these people didn't know the regular people in Iowa and New Hampshire, the young people, the women and the single mothers working two jobs.
And they sure don't know you.
There are some rubes out there in our area who are living in 1858 or 1958 instead of 2008. We all know it. Yet, these people coming here have no idea that all white Christians in our part of South Carolina are not evangelicals, whatever an evangelical is. They toss around the term like they are describing paint colors.
"Evangelicals, they are for Huckabee," a chorus will say. "Or Thompson."
They will not have ever been in a predominantly white church like so many in York, Chester and Lancaster counties, where so many people are Republicans but have their own reasons that aren't a stereotype of the South.
They will be stunned that most preachers in those churches don't spend every Sunday yelling against abortion or gay marriage.
They will find thousands of you who fled higher-tax Northern and Midwestern states in the past few years and still talk funny.
They will talk about Obama the black candidate in the first primary state with a substantial black population that votes overwhelmingly Democratic. Then, people will meet Glenn McCall, chairman of the York County Republican Party, and have fainting spells. McCall, one of the nicest guys I have ever met over all these years -- and I have interviewed him countless times -- is black. And he is as conservative as anybody you will meet.
Then, they will be further confused because inside so many scores of black churches are God-fearing people who believe in the same things about faith and family and morality that the politicos try to say is the property of white Republican evangelicals.
They will find out that somehow the heroic blacks of this area survived Jim Crow. How they didn't read about civil rights demonstrations, they marched in them and lived through them; and how nine people right here in Rock Hill, known forever as the Friendship Nine, bravely went to jail for 30 days for the right to vote and eat lunch. How these black people demand equal status, accept nothing less and still go to church every Sunday.
They will be dumbfounded when they find out the chairman of the York County Democratic Party is a white Southern preacher named Jim Watkins. Another great guy who can and will tell anyone about Salvation and how the Democratic Party has countless saved souls in it.
They will be shocked to go to Red's Grill on Rock Hill's Main Street and see blacks and whites working together, eating together and laughing together.
Thumb your nose at those who define you before you vote, or decide in advance who you will vote for.
Do it right here in the pages of this newspaper.
Call me or e-mail me and say who you are, what you believe in, why you will vote and who you will vote for. We will try to tell them for you.
It's a historic time to live in this state. Both party nominations are up for grabs. Grab your part of it.
Voters, be heard
Want to let the experts know who you really are and what you really believe? Call columnist Andrew Dys at 329-4065 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org