About Hate

Good Sunday morning, Mr. McCoy/WaPo!

The six (6) men interviewed for your column on hate represent the underbelly of American society and culture.  They are the worst among us; certainly not even so much as the slightly good among us.

They live in a monolithic bubble where only whites (white trash, as I see it) should thrive.  Add to that the concept of “Faux” Christian, and they have their anti-Jew, anti-Black and Brown, anti-gay/lesbian and anti-Women’s rights all wrapped up.  Let’s mosey on down to the local liquor store, get some Skoal and a case of Bud and share our remorseful outlook for a world that is not white enough.  What a pathetic bunch of sub-humans!

I met my first black friend while stationed in Germany as a young Airman.  That was 1964.  I recall his first name, Eddie.  I do not recall his last name.  One day coming back from the chow hall at lunchtime, Eddie spun me around and asked, “Hey, Turner!  Do you like me because you like me; or because it’s cool for white guys to have black friends these days?”  Obviously, that question still resonates within me these 50-odd years later.  I responded, “Eddie, I do not need notches in my belt or trophies on my wall.”  We walked on.  My first supervisor in Germany was a black Sergeant, one of the nicest men ever to hold conversation with.

Hate is an easy emotion, actually.  It really takes little thought.  Hate exhibits the emotion of “push away”.  Fueled by intolerance, ignorance and fear hate becomes a toxin, a cancer that festers throughout society.  Hate allows one to shut down and out from the world around them, isolating their ideologies in a cocoon-like mental mud hut.

I was ordained in a parish pastored by a black man who is a close colleague from seminary.  Over the years, we have engaged in many a discussion about race and hate.  In the eyes of some (hopefully, not many) blacks I represent the consummate white male:  Blue eyes, white and silver beard, graying hair that once was auburn.

White haters like your William Fears feed into the toxic narrative that has been fueled by the likes of Donald J. Trump and Steve Bannon.  Trump most assuredly loves the racist and Neo-Nazi ideology that is feeding this current moment in history.  Trump’s father was a member of the KKK.  His grandfather was driven out of the German village where grandfather Drumpf lived because grand-pappy held Nazi views.  As the saying goes, “The apple falls not far from the tree.”

The William Fears, the Parrotts, the Perrins and the others you interviewed for your piece are the enemies of the Republic.  I regard them as under-evolved sub-humans whose only recourse to something different is violence.  “Kill it!”  Quoting Fears from your column, “I’d like there not to be violence . . . but it might be inevitable:.”  In other words, this “dude from Texas” wants a fight.  He is looking for a fight.  My solution, “Lock him up!”  He is a loose cannon looking to kill someone.  Fears’ psychopathology is “in your face”.  Again, he and his hate-filled buddies represent the very worst in America.  The William Fears of our world cannot embrace the idea of “shared Earth”.  They want it solely for themselves and only as they see it; no variations. These marauders are the godless among us, exercising certain tyranny against a freer state all the while encouraged by that Satanic Shill who has taken up residence in the White House.

Best regards,

The Charlottesville Massacre

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Governor Terry McAuliffe

Dear Governor McAuliffe:

It has been many years since I last wrote to you.  I was living in Boston at that time, and you were Chair of the Democratic National Party.  That letter was highly critical of the Democratic Party.  In fact, you provided the courtesy of phoning me to discuss my letter.  You urged a more affirming perspective.

That has not happened.  If anything, the Democratic leadership, such as it is, has worsened.  Schumer and Pelosi should be tossed into the annals of history like yesterday’s toast.  The Democrats lack spine, courage, direction and unity.  Schumer actually remarked some months back that he can “negotiate” with Trump.  Wow!  Yet, Schumer also was seen recently cavorting with the Kushners at a Jewish bash on Long Island.  I find it curious that both Schumer and Wasserman-Schultz express so much fealty for Israel, compelling one to question their loyalties to the United States.  One cannot serve two masters.

First, a snapshot of me:  I am a United States Air Force veteran who served in highly classified Intel during the initial stages of Vietnam.  I was assigned to two different sites, one remote, in Europe and in South Asia.  I was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant before age twenty-one.  Then, I was made Controller, Ops Intel for my Section.  I exited USAF with three written commendations, honorable discharge and outstanding unit award.  For the record, my family has served this nation since The American Revolutionary War where my distant paternal grandfather fought with the Virginia 9th Line at Brandywine and Germantown.  (As did Senator Jim Webb’s grandfather.)

After my Military service, I put myself through the University of Maryland working full time and applying the benefits of the GI Bill.  I have built a successful career in property management real estate, development and construction.  During a later in life journey into theology, I was conferred my Master’s and later ordained.  So.  There you have me in a nutshell.

The preceding has been provided to set the stage for today’s letter.  The purpose of my letter today is to express my distress and dismay over the tyranny and treason against our nation that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday.  The behavior of supremacists, Neo-Nazis and white xenophobes was horrific to watch as the networks telegraphed images of the event across their networks.  But, sadly, Governor, I for one am not surprised by this barbarism.  Donald Trump is the master orchestrator of such heinous and hideous misbehavior.


“Every Man of Courage is a Man of His Word.”


Page Two, Turner to McAuliffe, 06 August 2017

Governor, I will not mince words (I seldom do!).  I have begun to refer to Donald Joseph Trump is our in-residence softcore terrorist in an ill-fitting suit with a terribly garish tie.  Trump is the consummate carnival barker, the snake oil salesman of the century.

His recent John Wayne style of threatening North Korea underscores how ill-equipped Trump is to lead anything.  Yet, Trump is emblematic of a far greater national problem to which the Democrats have contributed substantially.  (Footnote:  I am an Independent, for the record.)

My successes in life have not removed me from my childhood reality of a farm lad growing up in rural Howard County, Maryland.  My dad was an engineer; my mother a secretary.  Even “way back then” two parents often worked.  Although we were not poor, things were “tight”.  Being of Scottish and Scots-Irish ancestry, work was the operative word.  (My dad was a Calvinist without even knowing it!)  We expected fair reward for deeds well done.

That takes me to the greatest failure of Democrats and Hillary Clinton during this last national election cycle.  The dismayed, disenfranchised and disengaged were totally ignored by Clinton.  The very people suffering the worst were blown off by, as they see it, East Coast and West Coast elites and intellectuals.  The “rust belt” and “dust belt” were fully ignored. Disgraceful!

So, in walks Donald Joseph Trump, the puppet of Putin.  Trump knows precisely how to get to the very nub of one’s distressed psyche.  Like some grand patriarch, he trumpets out, “I feel your pain and I will cure it.  We will make America great again!”  Wow!  Charlatans abound.

Our nation has been kidnapped, becoming hostage of the Monster Trump and his legions.  Percentage wise they may not be in the majority.  But, this last weekend tells us they are demons filled with zeal, propelled by the tyranny of Donald J. Trump, the great igniter.

Trump loves chaos.  His psychopathology thrives on it.  Chaos, by the way, is the work of The Demon.  Trump lacks humanity, dignity, decency, diplomacy and mental normalcy.  One must worry that, unless properly restrained and contained, Trump will ignite WWIII.  His psyche feeds off the prospect of the “next great war”.  There is every reason to believe that inwardly Trump aspires to be another Hitler; a Stalin; or, a Mussolini.  His role models are unfit for our Republic; Trump is unfit for our Republic.

Governor, my heart goes out to you and all Virginians.  (A century or two ago, my ancestors traveled through and settled in Virginia on their way to Kentucky and Lower Indiana.)  Charlottesville is seen as quiet; a pristine all but idyllic environment for the peaceful minded and those seeking higher education.  The hooligans of yesterday have blunted Charlottesville’s image and our nation’s image severely; a tragedy broadcast across the globe.  Yesterday’s homegrown terrorists have darkened the spirit of America, albeit only briefly.

In the meantime the not-so-presidential Trump says there was blame all around.  Sure, Donnie!  To soothe his crocodile wounds, he telephones you.  That, too, Governor, was all Trumpian stagecraft.  He likes what took place yesterday in Charlottesville.  It plays right into his white supremacy, anti-Islamic, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay narrative.  If his son-in-law were not a Jew, one can readily surmise Trump would be an anti-Semite.  (Internally, he likely is.)  Beware the crocodile tears, Governor!  They are clever diversions and distractions marching forward to fascism.

With best regards,

The Reverend M. Vincent Turner


Communicating effectively

May 2017

Words matter.  We humans communicate orally and in writing.  The hearing impaired use sign language to communicate, even when they learned how to speak before becoming deaf.  The blind communicate orally; read and write in braille.

The mantra, “Say what you mean.  Mean what you say” has its own sense of importance.  I still hear my beloved mother’s caution, “Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.”  Being the spontaneous-response type, those cautionary words have been a throttle throughout much of my life.

Communicating is not one-directional.  While the communicator is speaking or writing, his or her audience is listening or reading.  The effective oral communicator must have an audience.  Otherwise, he or she is speaking solely to themselves.  Written communication, logically, takes on a different dynamic.  The writer can share his or her works immediately; or, at some point in the future.  The oral communicator is heard immediately, even if listened to by way of a tape recording or videotape; radio or television.

The critical aspect of communicating effectively is this:  What exactly do you want to say or are you trying to say?  A level clarity is more available in written format than in oral dialog unless the words spoken are carefully crafted.  “Once out of the barn,” as the saying goes.  We humans listen through “filters”, often hearing what we want to hear rather than listening to what is in fact being said.

Several years ago I attended a retreat where various workshops were offered.  One workshop in particular stands out.  Couples were invited up onto the stage in front of us.  The moderator would ask one partner to say something to the other partner.  It was unscripted, so that neither partner could come prepared.  The fascinating aspect of this entire exchange was when the listener was asked to repeat what they had just heard.  They were not to repeat the words of the speaker.  Rather, to say what they as the listener had heard.  Amazing!  At times the hearer responded with feedback that seemed nearly foreign to what had been said by the speaker.

The purpose of the exercise was to seek clarity in and of communication.  Whether this takes place in a personal relationship or within a group setting such as a seminar, school or college class, or a meeting at work, it is beneficial to seek feedback from the listener(s).  What did I just say?  What did you just hear?

I recall while living in Boston how a woman stopped to ask directions to an address downtown.  I gave her carefully scripted directions, attempting not to interject extraneous information that could create confusion.  When I had finished, I looked smiling and said, “Now, repeat to me what I just said to you.”  “Oh!  You are good,” the lady exclaimed.

We humans are both blessed and cursed with words.  Once spoken, words cannot be taken back.  Once written and communicated, written words cannot be taken back.  Try as we may, back pedaling after those words are “out there”, they are out there; period.  I am often amused, not in a funny way, how politicians and celebrities try to clarify “what they really meant”.  Often, the stew gets frothier the more they attempt to “explain” and retract.

Words matter.  We communicate our feelings and emotions.  We communicate to inform and educate.  We communicate to lift up; and, to beat down.  While most of us do not calculate our words in casual settings, it is often wise to use verbal calculus when teaching, preaching, lecturing and, yes, leading.  “Choose your words wisely and carefully” carries more weight and gravitas than many might realize.  In this age of twitter, tweet storms and rapid-fire communication, it becomes all the more critical to measure one’s words before they are spoken.

But, in closing let me add one very critical aspect of communicating:  For some men, our word is our bond.  We do not “sell out”, undermine or even dare to think about being disloyal or unjust.  Honesty, integrity and truth uncompromised are our three-point guidepost.  We are the ones, who when asked, will tell you what we actually think; not want you want to hear.

Trump Biblical? Not likely.

Dear Senator Flake:
I laughed aloud when I read your remark about Trump and the Biblical Ark.

As both a seasoned business executive of many years and an ordained Christian theologian (I actually STUDIED the topic at seminary) I can assure you that Trump is anything but Biblical, even in the most evil of Biblical contexts.

I am a Veteran whose family has served our country since my distant paternal grandfather fought at Brandywine and Germantown as a Private with the Virginia 9th Line, American Revolutionary War. We have served ever since.

I have voted consistently from conscience, not party.

My ancestors were farming folk in Lower Indiana and Kentucky.. We moved East in ’48, the year I turned 4. I grew up on a small farmer in Maryland countryside, working the large farms during my sophomore and senior summers.

In ’62 I joined the United States Air Force, right out of high school. I was assigned to highly classified Intel overseas. I was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant before I as 21; made controller of my Intel Ops section at age 21. I left USAF with an Honorable Discharge, Outstanding Unit Aware ribbon and three letters of commendation.

I put myself through college working full time and using the benefit of the GI Bill. I became a successful senior manager in the private business sector.

Why am I sharing this? First, I am a Patriot; not a nationalist the likes of Trump. I believe Donald J. Trump is the antithesis of everything I was taught, learned and told. I LOVE my country. But, I have become increasingly ashamed of her. Anyone who watches Trump’s antics even from a distance will easily conclude the man is mentally unstable. The very last thing our great nation needs is a president who is fully unhinged. The psychopathology of Trump’s behavior should have all of us “on notice”.

Thank you for speaking out. This matter is about a nation; not a president. We deserve better, no matter what party someone feels affiliated with. (For the record, I am in Independent.)

Sincere regards,
Vincent Turner

On Leadership

The terms “leader” and “leadership” get bandied about often without a clear understanding of what a leader is; or, what the resultant leadership means.   It has been written and stated widely that “leaders are born, not made”.  While that axiom may get some pushback, leaders have an innate character that ultimately will take them into a leadership role of one type of another.  Even those with less evident qualities for leadership can – can – be groomed for leadership.

When I was age fifteen, I was sent by my church to a youth leadership training camp at Muhlenberg College.  As I recall, that camp lasted a week.  I recall little else.  I attribute that loss of memory to the nearly sixty years since!  But, for me the core issue is how the church saw in me leadership potential.  I was one of the church youth leaders; secretary of that group.

Three years later I joined the United States Air Force.  At Tech School, I was one of the first Airmen on the Airmen’s Advisory Council created by our Squadron Commander.  For my service on that Council, I received my first letter of commendation for outstanding performance and leadership.  Three years later, before being discharged honorably I would receive two more such letters while stationed at a remote Intel site.

I share the foregoing not to impress, but rather to share how “my story” as it has unfolded.  I recall a high school English teacher saying, “If you write about yourself, write from what is familiar; from experience.”  That instruction has followed and guided me for decades.

The United States Air Force unleashed my “inner” leader, simultaneously building within me a level of self-confidence that I had lacked fully when first into boot camp.  Along the way, thereafter, certain commissioned officers and upper rank non-commissioned officers saw my potential and mentored me.  Most often, that mentoring was subtle – a methodology followed by good mentors.

One thing I intuited early on as a very young Air Force Staff Sergeant:  Leadership is not about me.  It is about “you” and “us”.  A boss is about “me”.  A leader sees the greater good and the wider whole of teamwork and team spirit.  A good, strong leader intuits the potential of his followers, his team, and incentivizes that group energy.  Two of my iconic leaders from history are General George S. Patton who was an extraordinary leader during World War II; and, William Wallace, the Scotsman who paved the way for Scotland’s independence from the Crown.

What follows are various definitions of and perspectives on leadership.  They have been borrowed from the Web, Merriam-Webster and others who are noted below along with their quotes.

Leadership involves establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly; providing the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision, and
coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.

A leader steps up in times of crisis, and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations.
(Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/leadership.html)

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.  And, I would add “more successful”.

Some other popular definitions of Leadership are:

The U.S. military has as one of its definitions, Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission (U.S. Army, 1983).

Leadership is inspiring others to pursue your vision within the parameters you set, to the extent that it becomes a shared effort, a shared vision, and a shared success [Emphasis mine.] (Zeitchik, 2012).

 “The single most powerful way to grow as a leader: Become truly self-aware.”  Erika Andersen, Forbes, November 2012

11 Ways to Define Leadership

By Jennifer Post, “Business News Daily” Contributor

  1. The pursuit of bettering your environment
  2. Knowing your team and yourself well
  3. Giving people the tools to succeed
  4. Open, authentic and positive influence
  5. Clarity, confidence and courage
  6. Building consensus and common goals
  7. Being the solution to problems
  8. Helping others achieve the impossible
  9. Building the next generation of leaders
  10. Building followership
  11. Actively listening

From the above, one sees how leadership – good leadership – is a powerful force in the lives of one and many.  Of course, there are bad leaders.  But, a cautionary note is in order:  If someone is a “bad” leader, they really are not a leader in the authentic sense.

In our world today we see many who want to claim the title “leader”.  Politicians are among the worst offenders.  Most legislators, whether in the United States Congress or in state and local legislative bodies are far from being leaders.  Far too many of them, if elected, arrive with their own personal agendas; often struck with high rolling supporters who expect favors if their candidate is elected.

Being a strong leader, becoming a good, strong leader, requires time, experience and maturity.   In his book, “Leading”, Sir Alex Ferguson the legendary manager of the Manchester United (UK) football league lays out an excellent repertoire on leadership.  As Sir Alex reveals, leaders learn more from our pitfalls, shortcomings and failures; the teaching experiences.  Success and victory are the fruits borne from those teaching experiences.

The two areas, or professions, where leadership is most demonstrative is in our military services and in our sports; athletics.  Whether it is a platoon leader or the captain of an athletic team (think soccer, rugby, football, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and so on), those are the lads who are looked to and looked up to for the next victory or conquest.

It is unfortunate that in many environments today there are people who see themselves as leaders when in fact they are bosses.  Their sense of authority, real or imagined, elevates their ego to the point of becoming ineffective.  We often use the term “alpha” for a leader.  But that “alpha” is translated in the most positive and respectable sense.  Alpha also can mean “dominant”, which alone in its context can take on highly negative perceptions.

Leaders also embrace a solid sense of mission:  Where are we going and how do we get there?  Leaders must be mission focused; clarity of mission is critical and essential.  Entering any situation “blind” is a sure recipe for disaster.

Leadership is like a ladder.  In the military, we have the command officers; then the squadron officers and senior non-coms (Non-commissioned Officers); then the platoon leader, most often a person in the rank of Sergeant.  In sports we have the manager, the coach or coaches; the team captain.  As you can see, leadership does not rely upon or center on one person.

We must not confuse a boss or a “head” of an organization, group or company as a “leader”.  The title does not necessarily fit the reality.  Slave masters are not leaders.  They are thugs and bullies.  Walking across dead bodies, speaking euphemistically, to put yourself ahead of the rests is not leading.

The common denominator among true leaders is how they realize and demonstrate shared duty and shared success.  The concept of “team”, a term often over used is in full play when leaders lead.  Sir Alex Ferguson lays out various aspects that must be included in good leadership:  listen, watch, read, and perhaps most important of all, the exercise of discipline.  Disciplining self and your team are critical.   Discipline embodies structure.  Structure is essential to unity:  unity among the team members; unity of purpose; a unified effort to reach predetermined goals.

Trust also is key in all such organisms.  Loyalty to the team and the team’s efforts.  And for the team leader, I return to Erika Andersen’s “being self-aware”.  The leader must be in a constant state of self-awareness.  Simultaneously, the leader must be aware of those he or she is leading.  Leaders do not self-isolate; they cannot self-isolate.  They are the center, and like the spokes in a wheel they spiral outward among their team.


Thoughts on Dr. Travis Bradberry

April 2017
As a fan and follower of Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, I admire and respect his plaudits for self-reflection/introspection and road maps to greater success. There is a “however”. Isn’t there always?
Dr Bradberry lives and breathes in a world that is far removed from the world many others of us live in; and, must live in. His list of the ten most toxic people one should “avoid like the plague” is spot on. It has been very helpful as I process my current professional predicament.

The president of a client board has put a target on my back to get me fired. She admitted as much to my assistant manager, in “secret”; not realizing, perhaps, that my assistant’s loyalty is to me; not to her. Ergo, he told me her plans. This particular woman is toxic, possessing at least three of Bradberry’s ten toxins. Many of us who have interacted with her conclude she is consumed with hate and anger. She especially hates men; all the more men who are strong; ones over which she cannot trample or ride rough shod. At her core she is a bully, often highly irrational; living in a world of rage and anger just below the surface that is easily triggered. She is not, by any measure, a leader. She is self-flagellating, often becoming demonstrably angry when anyone dares to disagree with her opinion or her point of view. If you are “in her sights”, she will cleverly set you up for an attack. When someone holds that much authority, they can and will commit serious damage even to the suspecting.
Dr. Bradberry has posited, “One cannot be rational with an irrational person.” This particular board president’s behavior and demeanor underscore the reality perfectly!
I want to hear Dr. Bradberry’s views on survival in such toxic situations. Such environments are, after all, war zones and minefields. Most often, it is difficult to extract oneself quickly from battle fields such as these. Those who find ourselves in highly toxic work settings must follow rules and guidelines to survive the nefariously driven chaos. Finding another job is the logical goal. But in the meantime, the abused must summon up the psychic energy to survive; not play into the hand of the villain. Anyone who finds themselves in such cancerous surroundings must deftly strive to extract themselves — permanently.
Toxic people motivated by hate, the origins of their hate often not known to them, are destructive. They are a poison in both the professional and the social environments. When they hold a “seat of power” where they can lord over those they want to “get rid of” or do harm to, they are relentless. Dr. Bradberry’s words and theories are powerful. Dr. Bradberry works through the light; from the bright side. Regrettably, certain real world settings are so negative and disruptive that applying Dr. Bradberry’s axioms may not work.
Those under attack must be ever-vigilant. We must summon up our strengths and keep our defenses and wits about us. We must not play into the pernicious hand of the villain, for they are set upon seeing us fail; destroyed. Once an escape has availed itself, take it post haste! Never give up. Never give in. Good souls ultimately victor over the bad ones, but the road can be treacherous along the way.

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?


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,


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.

A nation, breaking

“Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable.” That quote states the obvious. Our political “system” such as it is has been fracturing for decades. The pilots steering this ship of state have taken us until troubled seas, knowing precisely what they were doing all the time. We have become a nation of serfs, bowing to the wishes of a Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and, now sadly, a Judicial Branch all ruled, run and controlled by big money. I have been convinced for years that BOTH parties would love to find a way to remove the entire electorate from the election process. In lieu of that, they have rigged the system so that we really don’t matter all that much anyway.

The MEDIA has not been helpful, having collapsed into the sewer of false and bombastic bravado — no matter their political tilt. “News” is not news. It is filtered propaganda fed to each us through the corporate funnels that determine what to report. Whether it’s Megyn Kelly on the one side or Chuck Todd on the other, neither one is truly interested in truth of fact. Ratings, the ultimate broadcast selfie assessment, dictate what they can or will say. Most of us “out here” do not tilt totally right or totally left (although Trump has found a LOT of right-leaning tilters!). Yet, to listen to the media there are two distinct camps each out to claw its way to victory filtering their lies as truth. Our empire is dying on the vine. That fact has troubled me for years. I love this country. As a young Airman many years ago, I would have died for Old Glory without a question. Today that proud Airman is filled with shame, disgust and dismay. We are rotting at our core and there is no slave to cease that rot.