Editorial Roundup: South Carolina

Post and Courier. January 18, 2023.

Editorial: McMaster inaugural set right tone for SC prosperity; follow through will be key

You could argue that the positions Gov. Henry McMaster advocates don’t always match his vision for South Carolina. And you could argue that he lets himself get distracted from that vision too often, as he pursues culture-war and other partisan priorities.

But you can’t argue with his vision for our state, which he articulated so beautifully last week when he took the oath of office for the third time, setting up what could become the longest tenure of a South Carolina governor since our state ceased to be a British colony.

Of course, our favorite part of Mr. McMaster’s second inaugural address (his first inauguration lacked any real address, since we would have been governor-less had he not gone ahead and taken the oath of office as soon as Gov. Nikki Haley resigned to become U.N. ambassador) was when he read from the inscription on a framed drawing of Charleston that was a gift to one of those royal governors.

The 1739 inscription, published by order of Parliament, proclaims that Charles Town “may well be looked upon as the most temperate part of the habitable Earth.” It continues: “(I)t is the fairest & most fruitful Province belonging to Great Britain. … Its Silk is preferable to any, & its Rice is the best in the world. … So that it is no wonder of Charles Town … be now a very great and flourishing Town, adorned with handsome & commodious buildings … amongst which the Church of St. Philip, may justly be reckoned the finest structure in America.… (T)his Town and Province may justly be esteemed the most flourishing of any of His Majesty’s Dominions in America.”

While Mr. McMaster’s vision for the future includes preserving those physical assets that continue to make our entire state such an appealing place to live and visit, that’s only one part of the virtuous cycle that he hearkened to once again last week: economic strength, education and our natural environment.

As he did in his 2019 inaugural, Mr. McMaster declared that our magnificent natural and cultural resources help attract visitors, residents and businesses, which in turn create jobs. And those jobs create tax revenues that allow us to provide the type of education that helps cultivate a deep appreciation for our natural and cultural heritage and produce the workforce that attracts more economic development.

And he appropriately identified education as the linchpin, noting that “As once all roads led to Rome, today all quests for prosperity lead to education.”

“We must do whatever it takes to see that every child — to see that every child — in our state has the opportunity to receive an excellent education,” he said. “Albert Einstein said, ‘A problem can never be solved by thinking on the same level that produced it.’ He was right; we must think big and be bold, and we will.”

Of course, talk is cheap, and our state still does far from an adequate job seeing to it that every child in our state has the opportunity to receive a decent — much less an excellent — education. But Mr. McMaster has helped lead an evolution in our government, with a much greater focus on early childhood education and improved teacher pay, and we look forward to him and lawmakers doing an even better job of advancing those priorities in the coming year.

Mr. McMaster has a long record as a champion of clean air and water, and the remarkable success his administration is having recruiting alternative-energy jobs to South Carolina seems to be helping turn him and other elected officials into much stronger proponents of green energy. And all of that rebuts the misconception that policies that protect our environment hurt business and vice versa.

As he explained: “Vigorous economic growth and the preservation of our shared natural heritage and environment are not, are not, opposing objectives which must be balanced as in a competition, one against the other. Instead, they are complementary, intertwined and inseparable, each dependent on the other. Each can be accomplished to the fullest if we plan now and be bold.”

Inaugurals tend to be long on vision and short on policy. Next week, Mr. McMaster will address a joint session of the General Assembly and give his annual State of the State address. That’s where governors outline the specific laws they want the Legislature to pass in the coming year. That will give us an opportunity to assess the degree to which his agenda matches his vision. But for today, we are encouraged that he continues to articulate one of the best visions for our state that we can recall.


Times and Democrat. January 18, 2023.

Editorial: Unity was the message then, should be now

Trinity United Methodist Church will forever be noted for its role as a focal point in the civil rights movement in Orangeburg, a locale that was significant in fostering equal rights for all of God’s children.

Yet Trinity and its leadership were significant long before and long after those years of the 1960s and ’70s. Today, we remember its leader for nine years from 1992 to 2001, the Rev. George F. Manigo Jr., who died Jan. 8 at age 88. His 40 years as a Methodist leader are noteworthy in the church and beyond.

A Claflin graduate, Manigo answered the call to the ministry by completing studies at Gammon Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and accepting his first ministerial assignment in Tennessee in 1960. After five years of serving churches in that state, he returned to his native South Carolina in 1965, serving a number of churches over many years before coming home to Trinity UMC.

He came to Orangeburg with a resume focused on unity, particularly in merging the Black and white Methodist conferences in the 1970s.

“I was on the merger committee of six people who drafted the plan to present to the conference in 1972,” Manigo said in 2001. “The greatest problem we faced was people wanting to maintain standard operating procedure. Some people tried to get away from the reason for the merger, which was simple. We were merging because we were all Methodists.”

Hammering out solutions where, at times, there seemed to be none, Manigo said he was heartened by an experience at a Greenville church where merger plans were being discussed.

“A little, old white lady, about 90 years old, came and introduced herself to me and asked me my name,” Manigo said. “And she told me she couldn’t see why merging had become such an issue because the churches should’ve been together all the time. I thought to myself, ‘if she can see that, at her age and experience, why couldn’t the rest understand that all we wanted was the opportunity to go to any Methodist church.’”

His efforts at unity went beyond the church., During his early years at Trinity, Orangeburg experienced a spate of violent crime that saw a city policeman be gunned down and a noted businessman killed in a robbery in the span of a month in early 1993.

During memorial serves for businessman Franklin Glover, assistant director at Calhoun-Orangeburg Vocational Education Center and owner of Glover’s Store on U.S. Highway 601, Manigo said, “Let’s not point fingers. Let’s come together as a community. Today, the city’s crime has affected the Glover family, but tomorrow it may affect your family. It’s in the Black community now, but it may be in the white community tomorrow. Let not these people who died senselessly die in vain. So, march to the beat of a distant drummer. Let us dance to the tune of unity so we can overcome this together.”

In a later meeting about crime in Orangeburg, Manigo elaborated: “Unless Black and white churches all come together and put aside all things incompatible with believing in God, nothing will happen in Orangeburg County.

“Parents need to do a better job somehow. We need to come together in faith and love on common ground and common faith or we’ll never be able to solve this problem. All citizens should be able to go to the grocery store and school without having fear. Anything that tears down the human mind is not good for us or the community. Think on these things.”

His words echo across time to 2023, when the need for a united community to face a continuing crime problem and other issues has never been greater. In celebrating the life of the Rev. George Manigo, let’s restate his words: “Let us dance to the tune of unity so we can overcome this together.”