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De Swimp Mon Chronicles

Lee Walton

For those who may be new readers of Shrimp n’ Grits and recently, De Swimp Mon Chronicles, the following poem, published over two years ago just before the last Charleston mayoral and City council elections, ushered in the Swimp Mon and all his regal, albeit often covert and sinister, motives and talents – the best of which is hand picking and buying by-the-pound each new council member added to his chicken-neck trap. The latest choices offer nothing new to change the make-up of City Council; voters could just as soon put them all in a croaker sack and blindly pull out the first six that comes to hand. As long as the Swimp Mon and his closet crony, Fruit Mon, continue to run the City like a third-world Banana Republic, nothing will change – all municipal power will remain concentrated in the mayor’s office.

Swimp Mon’s emasculation of Charleston City Council began over three decades ago as the threat of suburban sprawl and annexations to grow the City’s tax base decentralized and shifted voter strength and political power from Broad Street to shopping malls and soccer fields. Suburban voters became more conservative and vocal, as they demanded their fair share of public services and increased public safety that their taxes were funding. With each census and the following council redistricting precipitated by population growth in the suburbs, Swimp Mon knew that a day would come when he might lose the majority support on council so vital to his absolute control of city governance regardless of extensive gerrymandering of district boundaries.

The largest threat to Swimp Mon was losing control of who got on the council ballot, and his biggest obstacle was partisan party nominations of potential council candidates. If he could eliminate party vetting of council candidates, he could stack the ballot with his own handpicked, loyal cronies. Ever the perseverant, pragmatic liberal, Swimp Mon finally convinced enough of city voters to support a non-partisan election referendum that gave him absolute covert control over who could get on the council ballot. Even if an unanointed candidate were to slip on the ballot, Fruit Mon would make sure that a handpicked stalking horse would also run to force a run-off that Swimp Mon could win for his candidate with near-unlimited campaign contributions pouring in from his deal-estate and tourist business cronies.

Such is the political heritage of the Banana Republic of Charleston.. You can bet your last dollar that Swimp Mon is already selecting key Boeing executives for heavy-hitter slots on the Aquarium, Historic Charleston Foundation, and Symphony Boards and any other buy-in board or commission position he can sell.


De Charleston Swimp

Oh, de Charleston Swimp, ‘e be quite scrawny,
‘N ‘e hire de tief be Danny Malomy.
‘E talks so fine to all ‘e cronie,
But mos’ folks know ‘e jus’ be phony.
De streets dey flood wid’ every splash,
While de Swimp ben say’n duh ain’t no cash.
Samewhile ‘e give de money tuh’ DASH,
But Howard, ‘e spend ‘um in a flash.

De Swimp, ‘e pull de darnest trick,
‘E build “De Joe” in de marshy crick.
Now de bases, da jus’ keep on sinkin’,
But de Swimp jus’ smile ‘n keep on winkin’.

Oh, de Fish Tank, ‘e be de biggest looser,
But de Swimp, ‘e fund ‘un like duh smoozer.
‘E beg fa de grant an’ den add mo’ taxes
And fuge de numbers all to duh maxes.

‘E say de folks cum by de zillions,
While ‘e keep on tossin’ in de millions.
But de Tank jus’ sit wid few folks cummin’,
An’ de Swimp fo de money, ‘e keep on drummin’.

Now be duh time fo’ de folks be choosin’,
But de Swimp be think ‘e keep on crusin’.
Fo’ thirty-six years de Swimp be sing,
De “World-Class” song what make um King.

While de Palter & Chatter keep tooten ‘e horn,
On duh utter candidates, dey heep de scorn.
It be like dis fuh all many de years,
While de po’ folks pay wid’ da sweat ‘n tears.

De few who know de plans ‘e has,
Dey share de wealth ‘n Sp’lato Jazz.
But one day, de skel’tons dey all gwan fall,
Den’ Oh what a’ mess be City Hall!

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