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Terry Manning

Sometimes it’s good to take a look back 

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After two years of having an opportunity to share my thoughts and viewpoints with the readers of this fine newspaper, I thought I’d look back at things I got right, wrong, or where I was so off the mark it’s hard to even judge. 

From October 2020: “To [writer Umair Haque’s] mind, too many Americans have … created a toxic ‘free-dumb,’ what he calls “the absence of any kind of obligation or responsibility to anything greater than narrow, immediate, infantile self-satisfaction.” 

Update: As Tupac Shakur rapped: “I see no changes.” Things might be worse now. 

From November 2020, praising young people’s resilience: “Generally speaking, it’s the adults who aren’t being the best role models. We are the disgruntled. We are the whiners. We are the ones who refuse to accept that we can’t get everything we want. That sometimes we can be our best and give our best and still come out on the losing end. We don’t know how to be good losers anymore.” 

Update: Young voters helped save this country from a catastrophe in the midterms. 

From February 2021: “We have tribalized truth. We overlook lies as long as it’s our champion telling them. We overlook them if they upset those other folks. We tell ourselves and others that God doesn’t require perfect people to do His will, as if that makes every exaggeration, every misrepresentation, every reversal, every flat-out lie some part of a divine plan.” 

Update: Well, Herschel Walker lost his bid for Georgia’s Senate seat, so … yay? 

From March 2021: “South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott told Fox News that ‘Woke supremacy is as bad as white supremacy.’ I ask you, dear reader, just what in the who-said-huh is ‘woke supremacy’?” 

Update: Scott and other Republicans have claimed there’s no such thing as White supremacy, so… there’s no threat from “woke supremacy,” right? 

From May 2021: “A quick review of this short list (of writers whose works I frequent) tells me 1) I respect writers who can make a strong argument, and 2) I need to get more women writers into my daily mix.” 

Update: I owe a tremendous debt to those of you who suggested historian Heather Cox Richardson. Her daily recaps of the day’s political events are invaluable. 

Also from May 2021: “‘Cancel culture’ seems to apply only when conservatives want to defend things. Not because those things deserve to be defended, but because a liberal might have raised the initial question. When conservatives target people or institutions, they call it ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘the market at work.’” 

Update: Cue Elon Musk ranting about being “free speech” because advertisers are withholding their dollars from Twitter, a platform he paid $44 billion for just to turn it into an uncensored haven for racists. 

From June 2021: “Conservative lawmakers aren’t attacking critical race theory because it rewrites the truth; they attack it because it is a verifiable truth that undermines the lies they were taught, have believed all their lives and want to pass on to future generations.” 

Update: Still true, but when is the last time you heard anything about CRT? The right has gone back to more familiar letters like L, G, B, T, and Q. 

From October 2021: “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year, we should all make an effort to become more aware of the toll this violence is taking on literally half of the people on the planet and try to help prevent it.” 

Update: South Carolina regularly ranks in the top 10 states for violence against women perpetrated by men considered “intimate partners.” A study released in February of this year put the annual cost in 2021 at more than $350 million in direct and indirect expenses. 

From Nov. 2021: “I’m thankful for the continuing gift of music. The Verzuz matchups evolved from their rap battle roots to become celebrations of artists who have given so much richness to our lives with their voices and musicianship.” 

Update: And then they sold out and became just another money-grab for people who ask the public to support any mediocrities they are presented with. I’m sure singer Ray J has at least one wish he would make about his awful performance earlier this year. 

Also from Nov 2021: “What we too often find now are media outlets playing a long game that doers of misdeeds exploit to run out the clock on accountability.” 

Update: Reporter Bob Woodward recently released audio recordings of his interviews with the most recent former president. He said he wants the public to see the dangers posed by potentially resorting the former president to a position of power. He’s late to the game, but the sentiment seems to be catching on. 

Looking back, I haven’t been too far off the mark. So far. I haven’t even gotten to 2022 yet. 

Terry E. Manning is a Clemson graduate and worked for 20 years as a journalist. He can be reached at teemanning@gmail.com. 

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