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  • Reverend James Squire


I haven’t heard the word “punk” used recently even in kid culture. When I was growing up, it was an accusation that was used frequently to describe a classmate in school. “You’re a punk!” was one of the most demeaning terms that you could accuse someone of being. It was a strong enough as a negative descriptor in my world that could result in an altercation. It was a term that meant that you were forced to make a response. It embodied many of the foibles of being a human being such as cowardice, hubris, being a phony, and not being truthful to name a few. No one in my own kid culture could let that stand to one’s own peril if accused as such. In fact, the opposite characteristics formed your ethical base. We conducted our lives so that we could never be called being a “punk.”

I relate to people and situations with the following question, “How would that person or situation go down in my kid culture?” It is one of the things that I have included in what I feel is a major theme for people to “not forget where you came from.” Recently, I have thought of four people who conjured up that question of how would things go for them if they lived with me back when I was a kid remembering the basic unethical guidelines that describe a “punk.”

I think that four people come to my mind i in the last few days as someone who would be labeled a “punk” in days gone by. They are Trump, Musk, Justice Alito, and Justice Thomas.

Trump is always a candidate for that title. He is a tough guy who isn’t very tough. The irony is that he represents the disenfranchised or underserved after living a life where he abused that group of blue-collar workers. He has them in his fold for they are desperate to hear their voices heard by people who they believe can help them. If Trump presented himself to my friends back in the day, he would be laughed at and receive that title, “punk.” I noticed that there wasn’t one blue collar worker or members of his base that were at his recent announcement for running for president again from his private club/residence.

Yesterday, Elon Musk indicated that Twitter has more members than ever under his leadership and that he was reinstating Trump. Trump in typical fashion didn’t thank Musk, but said that he didn’t think he would be interested because “there are so many problems at Twitter.” I loved the response from one Twitter user in response to Musk’s comment that Twitter had the most followers ever that “he had the same thing with a group of people gathering around his house when it was burning down.” Musk’s statement about Trump focused on “the people have spoken” after his survey as the reason for the reinstatement. What he didn’t mention was how many in that survey wanted Trump prosecuted. I have seen different percentages but one said 86 %.

But those who get the most recent punk description have to be Alito and Thomas. I had been wondering why John Roberts with all of his power couldn’t find out who leaked the anti-abortion memo that Alito wrote. Come on folks, that shouldn’t be that hard to do. Yesterday The New York Times contained an article on who exactly leaked the information. You can decide for yourself, but you can read the article at the end of this post. It is a version of the fox in the hen house. It was Alito. If it is true, Alito gets a major “punk” award. I wouldn’t want to be him if kids from my culture read the article. They would be waiting for him after school. There has been no word from Roberts even to say that he has not found the leak.

Last but certainly not least is Justice Thomas and his and his wife’s declaration that they never talk about anything that is the business of the Supreme Court including any other political issues. This is a new high for suspending belief. I am trying to imagine if one of my friends back in the day was asked if he told his girlfriend, who he has been in relationship for several years, that he didn’t share a particular secret and he said, “No!” It would ruin his relationships with his guy friends. Kids in my youth culture didn’t suspend belief about things that are obvious. They would say bull…t. and, of course, you are a “punk.”

Even then the only people you would believe to be confidential about matters would be a clergy person, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a lawyer in a court case.

Maybe we should resurrect that word, “punk,” for it seems to capture current unethical behavior with just one word. It packs a punch literally and figuratively. Maybe we need to return to the good old days, perhaps even the good old, old days! We all can learn something when we remember to never forget where we came from. It is the prism with which we view the world later in life.

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