Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 5, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     10/10/17

In this edition:

*Rights Versus Privileges
*Free Speech
*Yes, Race Matters!
*JC Dems Fall BBQ
*Did You Know?

         We have apples, and you are welcome to take all you want! The tree is in the backyard of our house at 2326 E. Court Street in Iowa City. Just bring a bucket and stop by!

*Rights Versus Privileges
         Just another day in the good old USA, where yet another white Christian man exercises his apparently God-given right to murder a bunch of people.

         Too bad the people he shot have no right to medical care. OK – back to your next online distraction. We will talk (briefly) in two days when the next white, Christian male murders a bunch of people.

         As usual, the Onion nailed it with this headline: “No Way to Prevent This, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” Meanwhile, a hearty helping of thoughts and prayers for everyone!

*Free Speech
         White protesters in Charlottesville can wave Confederate and Nazi flags – the flags of nations that went to war with the US. But black NFL players cannot quietly kneel during the National Anthem? Welcome to America!

         Here is the thing: anything white people do will ALWAYS be viewed as free speech. Black people simply do not receive that same deference.

         If black people riot, they are thugs. If they march, they are disruptive. If they kneel, they are disrespectful. White people brandish guns at police and walk away; black people ask if they can reach for cell phones and get shot. Let’s be honest – there is NOTHING a black person can do in protest that is acceptable to white America.

         People focus on the fact that Colin Kaepernick has earned a lot of money as an NFL player. Yes, he has. And to some extent, that does make his current life experiences different than most of us.

But it is important to understand that even wealthy African Americans get followed in stores, and stopped frequently by police. Plus, Kaepernick never said he was protesting his OWN treatment; he was protesting the treatment of African Americans in general.

Troops? This has nothing to do with troops. Flags? I wish Americans would resolve to treat each other with the same “respect” they reserve for an inanimate object. Heck, NFL teams were never required to stand at attention for the National Anthem until 2009, when the Department of Defense began a contract with the NFL. Before that, it was very hit-and-miss.

         For the record – I ALWAYS stand at attention, hand over heart, during the anthem. And I hate it when kids jerk around during it. But this is different. These protesters are not children! And as a free speech advocate, I support their right to demonstrate however they see fit. I also recognize that as a white man, I have no such grievances.

         I err on the side of free speech 99% of the time. I just wish that same right to free speech I enjoy accrued to my black sisters and brothers.

*Yes, Race Matters!
         I will admit – compared to most elected officials, I talk and write frequently about race. I also recognize that this is uncomfortable for some people. Many Americans would prefer to ignore this difficult subject. It came up again recently when I mentioned Richard Mentor Johnson, the man for whom Johnson County is named.

         Because of my tendency to talk about the subject, I have received a fair amount of hate mail. Here is a recent example. (I edited out the most offensive words. My guess is you can still figure out what she said.)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nicole Miller <>
Date: Oct 4, 2017 11:47 AM
Subject: You're Fired
To: Rod Sullivan <>

Your term will not be over fast enough!  You're a complete asshole and douche bag for even thinking about making race more of an issue than it already is.  I have ZERO respect for you and any ability to do your job.

"Stupid Moron" doesn't even begin to describe what I think of your use of tax payer time and money. Why don't we dig through your stupid past and make sure everyone knows what kind of idiot you truly are.

Go f___ yourself!  And when you're done - try getting a real life that doesn't involve inciting more hatred.  In case you haven't noticed, there's plenty of that already going around!  And yes, I'm spilling my hatred on you because I'm sick and f___ing tired of all the stupidity be displayed by you and others like you.  I'm grossly OFFENDED and I wish you could be fired!

         Obviously, Ms. Miller is not happy with me! For what it is worth, I don’t believe I know her. But I’ll bet she is white! (By the way – please do not respond to Ms. Miller.) But this is the type of reaction you get when you talk about race.

         I really wish the many people who have been criticizing me could have been at our October 5 Board Meeting. We had about a half dozen local Native Americans in attendance, two of whom spent some time talking about their experiences. I am extremely grateful that these folks shared some time with us, and I wish every American had a similar opportunity for dialogue.

         I am not going to stop talking about race. It is too important. I hope our future conversations are more productive than the one above!

*JC Dems Fall BBQ
When: Sunday, October 15, 4pm – 7pm
Where: Johnson County Fairgrounds, 3109 Old Hwy 218 S, Iowa City
Description: Join the JC Dems for good food, great conversation, and an opportunity to hear from leaders in the Democratic party. This is the JC Dems' biggest fundraiser of the year. You can buy tickets or sponsor the event at

*DID YOU KNOW?  70% of the players in the NFL are black.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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