To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, September 27, 2023


New Year, Old Year



VernTurnerDavid Van Os, a native Texan, recently posted some wishes for the New Year. I have cribbed some of them here and added a few of my own, stimulated from his imaginative work.

Many, if not all of these things will apply to readers in Oklahoma or any other state controlled by Republicans, aka, places where governing is absent [Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona] and despotism is evident [Michigan].

Definition of a patriot: A patriot wants his country, state and community to fulfill their best and noblest goals and ideals.

I wish that GREED be universally denounced and treated as a vice not a virtue, and taught as such in our schools, including our schools of business, economics, and law. It is probably too much or too late to ask our politicians to join in this chorus.

I wish that WORKER RIGHTS for organization, collective aid and bargaining become recognized as human and civil rights. Advocating unionization and collective bargaining is entering the slippery slope of what is the most misunderstood word in the United States today: socialism.

Without some of it we fall apart as a nation. Without any of it we become a fascist dictatorship. Somewhere in the middle is where we are and where we need to accept socialistic agencies. We’ve already seen how poorly “free market enterprise” performs in the public sector of health care and education.

I wish that the BILL OF RIGHTS be re-read by the majority of the population and ALL of those in government so that the wars against the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments masquerading under the so-called “war on drugs” and “war on terror” come to a swift end.

This means that all anti-Bill of Rights laws such as the Patriot Act and the detention sections of the National Defense Authorization Act are repealed. It wouldn’t hurt to get private enterprise out of the prison systems, either. For-profit elements placed within the legal system means corruption is just around the corner of THAT institution, too.

I wish that no more Texans be elected president of the United States. The last three of them have started wars based on lies and/or the overt influence of the military-industrial complex at great expense to the people. Today’s current crop of legislators in Austin and Washington tell the world all it needs to know about this wish. The destruction of public education and blatant pandering to the rich shows us how short the bench is for Texas politicians; Republicans dominate all facets of government in Texas.

I wish that private enterprise would be removed from anything having to do with the public’s interests. In Texas, private contractors working on highway and road maintenance take longer on the job, charge more than it cost the state department of highways [TexDOT] and repairs don’t last as long.

I wish that the RIGHT TO MARRIAGE be recognized as a universal human and civil right. If we’re going to predicate marriage on love, then we should do so for everyone. The churches and the state are still separate according to our laws. If marriage is predicated on spousal benefits, then a different conversation is necessary.

I wish that FAIR TAXATION include the premise that people with lower incomes never be taxed at higher rates than people with higher incomes. This tenet should be included in tax laws that eliminate the capital gains tax rate and the closing of offshore banking loopholes that drain capital from the entire nation and operating revenue from the government.

I wish that the people rise up and force the repeal of Citizens United vs. FEC that falsely and cravenly gives personhood to corporations. This perversion of the 14th Amendment is an insult to all working people, the people who died creating it and all Americans who enjoy that status.

I wish that we all would realize our stewardship of the Earth and the limits of its ability to support our species.

I wish that we would make all elections publicly funded and make lobbying elected officials illegal. Free speech abuse is evident when the few can so easily corrupt our government to the exclusion of and detriment of the citizens who, in good faith, elected them to represent their best interests. There is most definitely a clear and present danger to our form of government here.

I know that it is folly in this land of the free and home of the brave to even mention a review of our gun attitudes and the cults of the firearm. Having guns is part of our national DNA. But now we are more than just a people exercising our Constitutional rights. We are an armed camp huddling in fear of one another, imbued with and convinced by cult propaganda that a tyrannical government is on our doorsteps.

This is the kind of mind-numbing fear that FDR talked about during the Great Depression. Then it was about starving for lack of work. Today it’s about fearing your neighbor and the government that the people elected. Perhaps we should be afraid of the legislators who are owned and operated by corporate/banking America. After all, they wrote and passed the laws weakening the regulations on investment banking [repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act] and environmental protection so those very proprietors of our government could make more wealth that they don’t share with the majority of our society while stashing it in a Cayman Islands bank.

Perhaps it is appropriate that the new film, Les Miserables, is getting so much viewing. If the general public keeps being stripped of its opportunity to better itself, we may all have to go to battle with the tyranny of the corporations’ lust for profit and its associated exploitation of people and resources.

See you at the barricades.

Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through


Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.