MARLBORO MUSINGS: What’s Next?

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What a fall season chock slam full of surprises, eh?

First off, my Gamecocks have salvaged a decent year from what many forecast to be a most bleak season yielding possibly as few as only a couple of wins, at best, as first-year coach Will Muschamp took over a pretty bare barnyard. And dang if my young birds haven’t pecked and clawed their way to a shot at a very respectable year, highlighted by making their road rocky and upsetting nationally ranked Tennessee team at Williams-Brice just a few weeks back. They now have a decent chance at actually becoming bowl eligible and earning this young team, many still in their teens, a chance at an important extra month of practice as a unit, and a chance to possibly notch win number seven, an undreamed of accomplishment just a few short months ago.

I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Now up the road in Clemson, things have been motoring right along all season, just as they have for a few years under Dabo, with the “W”’s stacking up and the Tigers a consistently recognized national gridiron power, knocking off opponents one by one…but something seemed to be missing this season, and they’ve dodged a couple of unexpected bullets. And then Pitt came to town…20+ underdog, unranked Pitt. And they went into Death Valley last Saturday night, and kept hanging around and hanging around until, with six seconds to play, they kicked a ball thru the uprights that beat the #2 ranked Tigers – and broke about 80,000 hearts.

But it didn’t extinguish Tiger fans’ hopes for a spot in the National Championship Playoffs and, if they win out, many feel that Clemson will still get a shot at the national crown. Maybe it was only a wake-up call and the next two months might just be Tiger feeding time.

I’m sure Clemson fans cannot wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

I say all that to say this: Upsets happen, of course, particularly in the sports world, and we deal with them and move forward, good or bad, but on the scale of upsets, USC over Tenn, or Pitt over Clemson is NOTHING like the shocking surprise win we saw on the political scene this year.

Comparing those football “upsets” to Donald J. Trump besting Hillary R. Clinton in the November 8 presidential race is almost impossible. And in keeping with the theme above, speaking for myself, I’m not really all that sure that I want to see how this “”season” turns out.

But here we are. And danged if we haven’t gone straight from politicking to protesting. And I feared this was coming.

Here’s the deal, right up front: I voted for Trump. I’m not a racist, a homophobe, or any of those other tags all those mean and nasty people tried to hang on me; people that know me, know the truth in those words. (Well, I do have a problem with idiots. But I digress.) What I was — and still am — is simply an angry American who thinks my country is on greased rails headed in the wrong direction. Just my opinion. Moreover, given the highly suspect ethical history of Mrs. Clinton and her stated stance on abortion, specifically late-term, in addition to a couple other positions I totally disagreed with, I felt I was left with little choice.

Yet even though I intended to vote for Trump, I confided to a couple friends a couple weeks ago that I wasn’t very confident he would win, and that that would be OK as his election “would probably have people rioting in the streets.”

Now, I’m not claiming to be Nostradamus. I’m not even all that smart. But if you’re a regular reader you’ll recall that I mentioned more than once that as nasty as the election was getting, I was beginning to truly fear its aftermath.

I kinda figured some folks would be a little upset, but my goodness the hissy fit some of these folks are pitching. If I didn’t feel sorry for their little cupcakes and it wasn’t our country we were talking about, it’d be funny.

Just for the record, let me make sure I got this straight. These are the people who, on November 7, were preaching that “Love Trumps Hate” and that the opposition was bigoted and divisive, right? The same people that warned pre-election that it was extremely important that we all accept the electoral results and move on as a united country in a time-honored fashion, correct?

And now that the election result is a surprise – the unexpected “upset” — this same group is back on TV, no longer calm and pacifying, mind you, but this time with eyes bulging, veins throbbing and ranting about the unfairness of this and the inequity of that. It’s beyond belief. Classes have been canceled at universities, college exams postponed, canceled, or made optional, and even high-schoolers have staged walkouts as students and some citizens “mourn” Trump’s election.

Sadly, some protests have degenerated into nothing less than outright riots of violence and vandalism, including personal assaults, property destruction, and the blocking of streets, with the subsequent injuries to civilians and law enforcement personnel, of course.

One man, the father of a young daughter, died when the ambulance transporting him for emergency care was unable to reach the hospital. Think about her the next time you see traffic being blocked by protesters.

On the lighter, but even more incredulous side, at least to me, were the group primal screams and cry-in’s that were, and I imagine probably still are, being organized, or safe circles that were established, or the therapy dogs that were used to help some of the snowflakes deal with the trauma of the election’s outcome. Or, the ongoing “Safety Pin” effort to help identify those with whom you may share compatible feelings should a group hug be deemed necessary.

We even had a boatload of “celebrities” who loudly proclaimed that they’d “leave the country if Trump won” – a statement they laughingly, but quickly, backed away from after November 8, if you could find them at all. “Oh that? I was just kidding about all that leaving mess. You thought that I was serious? Hahaha.” Right.

With all due – and in the case of those Hollywood sleezemeisters, undue — respect, give me a break.

Sure ain’t like the good ol’ days is it, back when I recall reading about a protest the Tea Party once held – and then they showed up the next morning to help the crew with the street cleanup.

Look, here’s the brass tacks: the Constitution of the United States of America says that you and I have the right to freely assemble and express our opinion and I hold very little more sacred.

Neither do those 19-year old U.S. GI’s who spent last night, and the night before, and will spend tomorrow night, too, if they’re lucky, on the other side of the world in places you and I wouldn’t want to spend five minutes in, just to protect that right for you. So you do not disparage it, nor them.

You’re not a Democrat. Nor a Republican. You’re an American. Grow up and act like it.

###

Lastly, a couple notes…

Foremost, congratulations to Representative Pat Henegan on her successful re-election to SC House Seat 54. In full disclosure, I must admit that Mrs. Henegan is a friend of mine – as she is to all of Marlboro County – and I am personally pleased, and we are all well served, that she is going back to Columbia to continue her work on our behalf.

Finally, comments about columns are always welcome, even those bearing corrections (Thanks, Lynne) and we encourage you to write. On that note, I received a couple questions regarding last week’s column as to why I didn’t address the discontent with Trump’s election. Please understand that while FaceBook doesn’t have a deadline, Dan McNiel does, and I wrote that column after the election was called about 3 am facing a 10 am deadline in order to meet the print schedule, so it was written a couple of days before it hit the streets, without the advantage of any hindsight. But thank you for the feedback.

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