VERN’S VIEW: Leaders should promote opportunity, not deny it

In 1955 Robert Ruark wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Something of Value." A movie by the same name starring Rock Hudson disturbed many, as did the book, because it addressed the Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya in the early 1950s. But on the first page Ruark included a Basuto proverb: “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”

Last week I wrote a column about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s corporate vulturism and how the Bain Capitals of our country stripped away traditional ways of living and threw away good customs without replacing them with anything of value.

After the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., it is clearer than ever within whom the values of this country lie, at least among those who would presume to govern our great nation. It wasn’t so much the passionate speeches by politicians, but more those by the regular citizens from whom values and customs have been stripped and who want something of value to replace them. This became clearer when I read and heard so-called conservative pundits and the Republican candidates continue to attack President Barack Obama about anything and everything THEY were responsible for.

They handed a nation to him on the brink of collapse, and they still complain about him not fixing their mistakes fast enough and now want to replace him with someone who advocates repeating the behaviors that originally caused our problems. That illogic boggles the mind until you realize who is promoting these views. A leading conservative pundit, Charles Krauthammer, thinks Obama is insincere when he says he loves his country and the people in it.

How does he know?

The Tea Party pokes fun at how the delegates looked at the Democratic convention. Did they ever see how silly they look in their three-corner hats with dangling tea bags?

The Republicans have no strategy except to attack Obama. They have thwarted everything suggested including their own ideas. They have no justification for their obstructionism except they are not in power to continue the dismantling of not only the middle class, but anything else they can pick. These people have to attack women’s rights by forcing government intervention upon them while saying they are against government interference in peoples’ lives. One is forced to ask if the only Republican value is self-interest, or just hypocrisy by itself.

If the way to govern a nation is to ignore the needs of the majority of its residents and fill the pockets of the wealthiest to overflowing while giving nothing of value back to that nation, then the oppressed of that nation will revolt just as the people of East Africa revolted to end the mindless and heedless exploitation by the colonists.

The people of the United States deserve something of value from those who would govern them, not the denial of opportunity.


Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. His books are available on "Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status" and "A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools." He can be reached by email at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *