Terry Manning

Younger voices, choices are essential


Early voting has been vigorous.

Georgia has seen voting turnout observers compare to numbers typically seen during a presidential election. Early last week, much of that turnout comprised older voters and Black voters, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.

South Carolina is seeing similar activity, with the state election commission’s website crashing due to unusually high demand on the first day of early voting.

Regardless of the final results, I’m happy to see many exercising a right a villainous few are trying to deny them. We still have too many who are sitting this one out, especially younger voters.

Politico says low turnout by younger voters is a peril to Democrats’ hopes to build on their majorities in the House and Senate — the House is considered by many to be all but a lost cause at this point — but that seems to be ignoring a larger point. What hope is there for the future when the people who actually are going to live in it stop caring?

Some level of apathy or resentment is inevitable based on how political campaigns are executed now.

Republican television ads are a relentless barrage of half-truths and flat-out lies mixed in with fear-mongering over how their Democratic opponents plan to destroy the country they love to hate. Democrats try to campaign on policy successes their base voters know are modest in most instances, hampered by recalcitrant showboats Sens. Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema in their own party and Republicans who have no platform but shutting down the legislative branch to keep Donald Trump out of federal prison.

I don’t think I’m speaking only for myself in saying that if I never again see another campaign ad for Raphael Warnock or Herschel Walker that would be fine by me. You can add Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams to that list.

After spending the past couple weeks in the Upstate of South Carolina, I’ll be glad when Henry McMaster and his wife find something to do besides sit and worry themselves over what they misunderstand and mischaracterize in their morning paper. Criticizing D.C. wokeness” and a litany of other liberal offenses, they call the whole mess crazy” in one ad, with McMaster pledging, “As long as I’m governor, crazy won’t happen here.”


Maybe McMaster should have something to the knuckleheads who replaced a perfectly good American flag with a gigantic Confederate battle flag near the intersection of Interstate 85 and Highway 221 in Spartanburg County a few weeks ago. The Sons of Confederate veterans released a statement saying they raised the flag as a tribute to troops lost at the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864.

What’s “crazier” than continuing to celebrate a failed insurrection, especially a battle where your side was nearly eradicated? On a date three months after the actual anniversary of the battle? And along a corridor where people from all over the world can bear witness to the state’s clinging to a symbol that paints it as backwards, ignorant and racist?

But I digress.

I had a front-row seat in 2016 as young voters went back and forth comparing the relative merits of Trump, Hillary Clinton and third-party candidates like Jill Stein of the Green Party and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson. They didn’t like Trump, and they didn’t trust Clinton.

Then Trump won. “This is crazy!” “Something aint right.” “How?”
I answered the last question by asking one young voter who he voted for. When he said he voted Stein as a protest vote, I replied, “That’s how.”

The experience left a bad taste in their mouths, as did living through the Trump presidency and watching how he encouraged many of the volatile public behaviors we have all witnessed the past few years.

Toss in a poorly managed pandemic, an uncertain economy, inflation, rises in racism and misogyny, corruption among public officials, unheeded warnings on climate change, and the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and you have a perfect recipe for producing a generation that asks, “What’s the #&*@%$ point?”

The point, I will challenge young votes to consider, is that most of this is to blame on us older folks. You can fix these things.

You can make democracy work. You can vote quality people into office. You can make the economy more equitable. You can lower the costs of public education. You can take on climate change. You can restore civil liberties.

But you have to vote!

You’re going to have to live in the future anyway. You might as well make it a good one.

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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