Vol.XI No.XII Pg.5
February 1975

How Readest Thou?

Robert F. Turner

STUFF ABOUT THINGS (p.8) in keeping with the nature of this portion of Plain Talk, carries a quote from a Kentucky county paper — an electioneering article, which we thought was humorous. But more than humor is involved. We never carry material for humor alone — although we sometimes fail to make our point. Assuming you have read page 8 (most readers begin there), lets analyze our reaction to that wondrous piece of journalism.

Did you feel like this really was an honest, straight-spoken, good old country boy, who probably would make a good Constable? Some will have that reaction, because (1) they identify with the writer in his weakness (no one is perfect), and the feeling of being persecuted, (someone is always trying to frame us, or stop my big mouth from telling the truth). (2) They find a mutual satisfaction in talking about the hypocrites in the church, for they think this justifies their own ungodliness; and the fact that some dont get caught is supposed to erase the justice of punishment for those who are caught. How can another sinners slyness, or even inequities in execution of the law, make it right for me to break the law?

(3) Americans seem to admire frankness, even (or especially) when it is admission of frequent law breaking. What had been done under cover is now viewed openly; and somehow that is supposed to relieve our guilt feeling. We identify with that. And (4) we just love slogans and noble maxims, even when we have little reason to take them seriously. Example: I will treat all men alike, with the dignity that man owes to man. Doesnt that just get you, and get your vote?

But let us take a second look. The man is a gambler, without remorse. He only promises to stop gambling if elected, and then makes it clear that if he cant make a living with the office (like he made gambling?) he will resign. (Public spirited?) He is an ex-convict who, despite protestations about being framed, or sent to prison for no cause, or wrongful doings, admits his guilt. He regards his conviction as a conspiracy charge like I was caught on, with no apparent recognition of the wrong in conspiring to run a gambling house, or whatever it was.

He sees justice as equality among violators, rather than each ones equal responsibility to law. He has been repeatedly charged in courts of law from hog stealing to murder as he puts it; but he beat all the framed deals. Without judging him guilty on any of these counts, do not these repeated charges and frames say something about the man? Now, would you vote him into office??

Well, he didnt make it! Reliable sources in Kentucky say he continues his gambling, bootlegging (frames and rumors, no doubt), and like activities. Some day he may again heed the call to public service, and run for office. If nothing else, he may have a bright future writing campaign speeches for other politicians.

If we ever see him we will thank him for his contribution to STUFF—and our study in reading with care.