Email to Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post, 22 May 2016

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

Your commentary in today’s Sunday Washington Post heralds a cause for concern among those of us who believe in the rule of law and staying within the parameters of those rules; and, for those of us who truly love our country, warts and all.

Soper and his followers/colleagues are, simply stated, anarchists. Soper claims he only wants “our” government to follow the Constitution. Like Soper is an expert on the U.S. Constitution? How strange it is that the Constitution, not unlike Holy Scripture, is open to wide interpretation. The gun lobby and the 2nd Amendment represent a perfect example on how opposing sides interpret the 2nd Amendment differently. For what it is worth, I interpret it as many if not most scholars do: The right of the Colonies to establish a Militia because we had no standing army at that time. (Wouldn’t that reality be painful to the MIC of day’s culture!)

I see Soper and his ilk as enemies of the state; terrorists laying in waiting. They can spew out all the bravado and gusto as they wish. They claim patriotism while in fact they are nationalists; not patriots. Their collective frames an underground of tyranny against the United States of America; and, I sense they are “itching for that gunfight”.

You quote an Alex McNeely saying he wanted to join the U.S. Military until Obama was elected. “I wasn’t going to accept him as my Commander-in-Chief,” says McNeely. Really! Well, it is a damned good thing he did not enlist. As a U.S. Military Veteran whose family has served our country since the American Revolutionary War, I will be among the first to remind McNeely we do not get to choose our bosses; for better or for worse. The Military oath states, in part, “to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” McNeely should look beyond the White House into the Capitol to discern just how many enemies of the state are freewheeling on the backs of America and corrupting the Constitution. McNeely also needs to learn more about the duty of our Military when it comes to matters of government. No president is king.

The Sopers of our world are belligerent marauders who thumb their noses at the rule of law. “Their” law appears to be at the end of the barrel of a gun. These Trumpites better hope and pray Trump does not get elected as president. There is an old cliché, “a fool is born every minute.” There are a lot of fools riding this Trumpified train wreck. They may feel disenfranchised. Under a Trump as president, their fate would be even worse.

But, sadly, they also are among the many less educated white folk in America who see life as dark and hopeless. I see light and hope. I refuse to “blame” this government, flawed as it is, for my good times or my bad times. Soper states, “the government has lost ‘common sense’.” Now, I wonder: Who, really, lacks that common sense?

Respectfully,
The REVEREND M. VINCENT TURNER

The Bathroom “Wars”

Dear Professor Haslam,

The now “international” (seeing that you are in Melbourne, Australia) kerfuffle over bathrooms and transgender people, and users of restrooms in general, has kept me fully amused.

I grew up in rural Maryland farm country on a small farm. In middle school (then known as ‘junior high’), we showered after gym class. We were naked. (Screams of disbelief.) In high school, athletes showered after the game. (Clothes were not permitted in the shower.)

In my Military service, during boot camp somewhere between 40 to 60 of us shit, showered, shaved and peed in open. The “urinal” was a long trough. The toilets were open for all to see. In order to shave quickly enough to avoid your DI fragging your ass, each boot shaved close in with privates nearly touching privates (and I am not talking about the generic term “Private, as a rank). Having served two Overseas tours, we had open showers and urinals. The toilets, thank God!, were privies.

No one in my generation who has shared such public display of “private parts” has been harmed, either psychologically or physically.

Several years ago I learned that showering in public schools after an athletic event became taboo nearly three decades ago. The kids simply went home all smelly. Really? What in God’s name has caused now two full generations to fear being naked among their own? We have devolved into a society and culture of unwarranted fears and obsessive squeamishness. If a gym buddy is gay, it is not likely he will come onto another “dude” in the shower or while drying off. Gay men likely have more respect for discretion and barriers than many straight men. When then president Bill Clinton in 1992 agreed to Don’t ask, don’t tell [DADT], I realized our country had devolved into a state of inexplicable fear of sex and gender; and into the age of the stupid. That action alone spoke volumes about America’s immaturity when it comes to sex. (Never mind the fact the U.S. uses “sex” both in the blatant and the sublime to promote nearly every product in the universe. Sexual innuendo in advertising is a specialty here in the States.)

As to the transgender folk, I “kinda” get it and I “kinda” don’t get it. At some level it must be hell on earth for a child or adult to realize their body parts do not match their intuitive sexuality (gender). I will embrace and understand their dilemma and urge them on to do what is best for them both physically and psychologically. The population of morons here in the States is by all measure a grotesque group of infantile vigilantes who are so unintelligent their only “tolerant” act is to picket Target Stores or assert their right to check one’s crotch before allowing the use of a restroom. Your “where taboo subjects cannot be escaped” renders how foolish our under-educated pockets of American society are. The other 99.99% of us simply want to go in, do our business, wash our hands and leave. I truly wish the moronic populace would wash THEIR hands of this entire matter and move in. And, please! Memo to those toilet thugs: Do not hang around in the restrooms thinking you might protect “us” from a transgender person. You are the pervert. They are not.

Best regards,

The REVEREND M. VINCENT TURNER

Footnote: Professor Haslam is an Instructor at the University of Melbourne, Australia

Recent posts to Salon.com

Below are two separate quotes I posted today on Salon.com. One refers to a two-part series by Noam Chomsky, a superior intellectual whom I have admired for years. Chomsky speaks to the decline and fall of the American Empire; a reality I saw coming a few decades ago. (Sadly.)

The second is in response to a commentary about Donald Trump. Trump has ignited the ire of many. The media, I believe, has over played Trump’s hand.

(1) As a fan and follower of Chomsky for some years, I am not one to “take the wind out of his sails” but I have been saying this very thing to friends and colleagues for this last decade. I pinpoint the genesis of our decline with Ronald Reagan, who sold out all but the straight while male “Christian” upper class. A good decade or so ago Robert Kuttner wrote his book, “Everything for sale.” Our nation was being sold out and has been. The moral and ethical boundaries which we the people are expected to embrace are off-limits to the mighty, wealthy and powerful. They like those constructs that keep the “good citizen” “in line”. So long as the majority of us toe the line, they the 1% and 1/10th of a percent get to fill their coffers with more money; more power. Our grandchildren will awaken to a rotting country that has fallen ever further into dumbing down, school systems intentionally driven into the ground (now in progress) and a national ineptitude that will turn us into a 2nd or 3rd world nation. “We the people” have been played. Our apathy and our lethargy have been a boon to our eventual slaughter (metaphorically speaking). In the current hit series on the CW Channel, “Green Arrow”, Stephen Amell who stars as “Green Arrow” would take out his city’s vermin after first raging out, “You have failed this city.” We can say to the three branches of our federal government and to American corporatocracy, “You have failed our nation.”

(2) Trump is the most dangerous (yes, dangerous), vile and pathos driven man in America’s recent history. That an estimated 30% of the electorate have embraced Trump tells us just how far down the proverbial sewer we have swirled. If Trump is elected (God forbid!), our nation will collapse into so many levels of chaos we will not be able to reconstruct or redeem ourselves. Folks may not like the alternative (Hillary or Bernie, who knows?), but that alternative is our best and safest option at this moment in our nation’s history.