Author: Joseph "Odie" Turner

Pardon Me?

“I miss my child, and I want her to come home, but that will never happen. I’ll never have her again. I have bad days. I don’t have good days… I miss my child, I love my child, and I want her back.” – Linda Smith On the night of Friday, October 7, 2011, eighteen-year-old Charity Smith was killed in an automobile accident in Pontotoc, Mississippi. A recent high school graduate who was working at a local Cracker Barrel to save money for her college education, Charity was a talented young woman who had dreams of receiving a business degree. Tragically, she would never see that dream become reality, as her life was cut short when a man by the name of Harry Bostick, driving under the influence, slammed into her vehicle, killing her on impact. This was not the first time that Harry Bostick had been driving drunk; in fact, Bostick was charged with his third DUI – all three of which occurred within the span of one year.  In May 2010, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of house arrest and four years in an alcohol treatment program.  Hoping to have his slate wiped clean, family and friends of Bostick initiated an effort to have him pardoned by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. A former IRS investigator, Bostick had a wide range of support behind...

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Losing Our Liberty

In the time of the Founding Fathers, the colonists suffered under tyrannical rule and understood the consequences of being subjects to government.  As a result, America was originally structured around the Articles of Confederation – a document one step to the left of anarchy on the political spectrum.  Recognizing the document’s lack of sustainability, the Founders realized while drafting the Constitution that government had to have limited power. And yet, in the past century, the United States has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of federal government power. Whether it’s the creation of the Federal Reserve, the establishment of Social Security and other entitlement programs, or the implementation of No Child Left Behind, the federal government has found ways to infiltrate every aspect of our personal lives, robbing us of our liberty in the process. It is important to note that liberty is not a commodity given by any government or any document; the Founders recognized liberty comes from a higher power. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” The United States of America was founded as an experiment. Those brave men who rebelled against King George did so for a better life for generations to come.  Men like George Washington and James Madison lived under the tyrannical rule of a monarch.  Instead of accepting the notion that their rights...

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Boehner-Killer: How the House Republicans Threaten Electile Dysfunction in GOP

John Boehner and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives might single-handedly ensure Barack Obama another four years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Democrats have been claiming for months that the cause of Washington’s legislative dysfunction is the hijacking of the GOP by the Tea Party. The truth about the breakdown in the streets of our nation’s capital is much more complicated and convoluted than that, but Republican members of Congress have made it easy for such an accusation to seem valid with their absolute mishandling of the recent payroll tax debate. The smear of late against both Republicans and conservatives alike is that those to the right of the political spectrum want to protect millionaires and billionaires at the expense of middle and lower-class citizens, while liberals appear to be the champions of the middle-class.  President Obama was given an early Christmas present by the Republican-controlled House when they strengthened this partisan rhetoric by originally opposing the bipartisan compromise reached by the Senate, merely to eventually fold under the pressure and agree to a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday. If more conservatives are to be elected come November 2012, the conservatives who already hold positions in Washington must stop thinking in the short term and start planning for the long term.  That old adage of “pick your battles” is a lesson that Boehner and his...

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With Thunderous Applause

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic…” Wait a second. What did you just say? And to the “republic?”  I thought the United States was a democracy. Although democracy and republic have been used interchangeably for decades, the two words have distinct meanings. A republic is defined as “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” The definition of democracy reads quite similarly as “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them.” Notice that the difference between the two is who exercises the power of the people. You may be asking yourselves why any of this matters.  It matters because our Founding Fathers built this nation as a republic for a very specific reason. How many of you know the number of Representatives in the House?  How is a bill passed?  How is the Electoral College is chosen?  What is the line of succession if the president cannot perform his duties?  Unless you enjoy learning about government or read the newspaper quite often, you most likely do not know the answers to all of these questions. You don’t have time to learn all of the ins-and-outs of our government. That...

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Free: A Musical Metaphor of America Today

In Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the main character is a slave by the name of Pseudolus, whose master offers him freedom in exchange for helping to win over the heart of the girl he loves.  Upon first hearing the proposal that could lead to his liberation, Pseudolus sings emphatically about the prospects of having the opportunity to experience life without being forced to serve others.  However, his excitement is short-lived and quickly turns to apprehension: “Now, not so fast, I didn’t think!  The way I am, I have a roof, three meals a day and I don’t have to pay a thing.  I’m just a slave and everything’s free.  If I were free then nothing would be free!  And if I’m beaten now and then, what does it matter?” Pseudolus’s transition from enthusiasm to fear is comparable to the psyche that has grown in America for the past several decades.  Everyone values the idea of freedom, but when confronted with the concept of personal responsibility that comes with making one’s own decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions, many people would choose the comfort of enslavement over the uncertainty of freedom. The Occupy Wall Street Protests are a perfect example of this troubling trend.  Men and women of the Occupy Movement are demanding that the government provide for them such...

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