Look alive, Palmetto State. Barack Obama is making his first visit since winning election as president in 2008.
As a son of South Carolina, I say it’s about time. He’s been to nearly all the other states. When he arrives at Columbia’s Benedict College on Friday, he’ll have only South Dakota and Utah left on his to-visit list.
In hopes of helping the Leader of the Free World enjoy his visit, here are a few diversions he can indulge in before he leaves.
▪ Stop by Williams-Brice Stadium to pay respects to the Ol’ Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. The man’s taken Gamecock football from cry-in-your-beer bad to Southeastern Conference relevance. If anybody can coach him up on how to get Congress to play team ball, it’s got to be the Football Pope of S.C.
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▪ Speaking of winning, he can also look up Alvin Greene, the unemployed guy who shocked the nation – and all of S.C. – in 2010 by coming from nowhere to win the Democratic Senate primary. Greene himself probably still can’t explain what he was doing back then, but hey, it’s probably still fun to watch him try.
▪ Grab some lunch at the restaurant run by the family of late barbecue magnate and unreconstructed segregationist Maurice Bessinger. Bessinger was notorious for not serving black people. Hard to imagine a black guy with an armed entourage of Secret Service agents having trouble getting service, though.
▪ Take a selfie in front of the Confederate flag at the Confederate soldier monument on the State House grounds. As the nation’s first black president, should you smile in front of it? Frown disapprovingly? Sorry, that’s above our pay grade; we’re still learning this social media stuff ourselves.
▪ And lastly, if the president wants more adventures in the great outdoors, maybe have good old Congressman Mark Sanford drop by with tips on best routes for hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Might want to keep that from Michelle, though).
That’s all we’ve got. Come to think of it, maybe it makes sense that Obama hasn’t visited before now.