Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 17, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 17



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 17, 2012 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams


 Here we are in Boston on a week long vacation connected 
to my wife’s best friend son’s wedding. I just woke up and heard 
my wife’s voice and I yelled out “Who are you talking to?” “No 
one,” she said. “I’m just singing.” Right. This happens all the time. 
She’s always singing or whistling but this morning was different. 
We’re on vacation which means I don”t have to race off to work 
and since it wasn’t a weekend and is quasi-freezing, I can’t go play 
golf. So I actually had time to think. 

 Why does she get to sing and whistle all the time and why don’t I get to do 
that? I have never sang or whistled to myself in my whole life. Whistling is easy to 
understand. Whistling a tune is among the many things I have never attempted or 
even thought about doing. But singing is another thing. Like everyone else I think I 
always have songs running around in my head.Not just songs but particular versions 
of songs sung by artists I frequently can’t even name. The songs come without 
being summoned or chosen by me. For example, this morning my wife told me we 
didn’t have to start packing and find another hotel, as the one we are staying in had 
previously been booked for the last night of our stay now had an opening.

 Relived I snuggled back under the covers and noticed that in my head some 
man was singing “One More Day.” I don’t even know the name of the singer but I 
believe it’s Colin Something who sings the song in the productions of Les Miserables 
which I have seen live and on TV. I think what goes on here? Who is the disc jockey 
here and how do these songs get selected or collected? This really seems to be an 
interesting question as my unconscious self seems to be a much more creative 
and adventurous and other cool things than my conscious self. My conscious self 
chronically is focused on stuff I’m supposed to be doing or even more frequently on 
things I’m supposed to do but wish to avoid. You know: bill paying, traffic fighting, 
even clothes selection. Add to that my usual where are my keys, where am I going 
anyway, plus the additional why does my arm hurt, why am I so tired and isn’t this 
the day I’m supposed to do something important.

 I could continue describing the stuff that keeps going through my mind but 
I’ve already scared myself. The question I want to stay with (and it’s a struggle) is 
whether or not some song is playing under this mish mash of chronic worry. I guess 
my question is would my life change if I gave myself permission to sing aloud to 
myself. How do I do that or does one do that? Okay, I’m going to ask my wife right 
now and see what she says but as I write this I’m already fearful that she will ay 
something like, “What a stupid question, who’s stopping you?”

 Okay, I asked her how long she had been doing that. Answer, “My whole life.” 
Next question; “Did you ever think that was a crazy thing to do? Answer. “No” Okay 
end of conversation. Not much help there but I’m kind of ensaddened whether or not 
that’s a word. I would like to go around happily singing. I bet you non-singers out 
there would like to do the same. I just got a call from a client who thinks we are in 
Court today in Van Nuys. I don’t think we are but now I’m worried and have to check 
and farewell, for the time being at least, to my potential singing. I think I’ve answered 
my own question because now I’m worried that this article makes little sense. It may 
not but it’s real and that’s the best I can hope to do,

 What I have realized from this little exercise is that I am a prisoner of my own 
habits that keep me locked in a cell of my own making. I have in my unrecognized 
awareness a key that may potentially open the door of this limiting prison but I have 
never even taken the time to search for the key and until then the prison door remains 
locked. Strangely, for a lifetime, I have contented myself with worrying about the day 
to day concerns of profession and life tasks and have never thought to try and even 
momentarily rise above these continual (there’s always something) worries by just 
singing aloud. So, if in the near future you happen to see me singing my head off on 
the street somewhere, it’s no that I have gone crazy, it’s just me experimenting with 


has become 
with family, food 
and football over 
the years. But 
this unassuming 
American holiday is not without 
controversy. Schools teach children that 
Thanksgiving marks the day that Pilgrims 
met helpful Indians who gave them food, 
farming techniques and other strategies 
to overcome the bitter New England 
cold. Children color cutouts of grateful 
Pilgrims and happy Indians that ignore 
the reality that contact between the two 
marked the beginning of the decimation 
of millions of Native peoples.

 What’s wrong with this picture? Just 
about everything. The Pilgrims were 
not the innocent, simple folk seeking a 
peaceful place to build new lives away 
from religious persecution. They were 
political revolutionaries and religious 
zealots who had been thrown out of 
England for fomenting the overthrow 
the British monarchy. Fully intending 
to take away the land from its native 
inhabitants, the Pilgrims saw themselves 
as God’s Elect and were willing to use 
any means necessary to achieve their 
goals, including treachery, war, torture, 
murder, and genocide. 

 The Thanksgiving myth has the 
Pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, 
coming to America and establishing the 
Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-
21. This first winter is hard, and half 
the colonists die. But the survivors are 
hard working and tenacious, and they 
learn new farming techniques from the 
Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. 
The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give 
thanks to God for his generous blessings. 
They are grateful for the new abundant 
land He has given them, and invite their 
Indian friends to share in the bounty.

 The problem with the myth is that 
the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, 
nor were the colonists hardworking or 
tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and 
many of the colonists were lazy, drunken 
thieves! In his History of the Plymouth 
Plantation, the governor of the colony, 
William Bradford, reported that the 
colonists went hungary for years, because 
they refused to work in the fields. They 
preferred instead to drink beer and steal 
food. He says the colony was riddled 
with “corruption,” and with “confusion 
and discontent.” The crops were small 
because “much was stolen by night and 
day,” before it could be harvested.

 The Pilgrims were no friends to 
the Indians either. On the contrary, 
they were engaged in a ruthless war of 
extermination against their hosts from 
the day they stepped ashore at Plymouth 
Rock, even as they falsely posed as 
friends. Just days before the alleged 
Thanksgiving love-fest, a company of 
Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively 
sought to capture and chop off the head 
of a local Wampanoag chief. 

 Any Indian who came within the 
vicinity of the Pilgrim settlement was 
subject to robbery, enslavement, or even 
murder. The Pilgrims further advertised 
their hostility by building an 11-foot wall 
around settlement, placing five canons 
on a nearby hill, and then organizing 
the men into four companies of militia-
-all in preparation for the military 
destruction of their friends the Indians.

 Standish eventually got his bloody prize. 
He went to the Indians, pretending to be 
a trader, then beheaded a Wampanoag 
man named Wituwamat. He brought his 
head to Plymouth, where it was displayed 
on a wooden spike for many years as a 
warning and a symbol of the Pilgrims’ 
righteous God-given wrath. Standish 
also had the man’s younger bother 
drawn and quartered for good measure. 
From that time on, Pilgrims were known 
to the Indians of Massachusetts by the 
name “Wotowquenange,” which in their 
tongue meant cutthroats and butchers.

 The Indians were not invited to the 
1621 “feast” out of the goodness of the 
Pilgrims’ hearts in a demonstration of 
Christian love and interracial unity. The 
Wampanoag were members of a large 
and powerful confederacy known as the 
League of the Delaware. The Indians 
were invited to the feast in order to 
negotiate a treaty that would secure land 
for the Pilgrims. Unfortunately, they did 
not understand the European notion 
of ownership. They thought they were 
granting the Pilgrims possession and the 
right to use the land, not title to it.

 So this Thanksgiving ask yourself just 
what you’re celebrating? Is it really only 
about family, food and football? Is it 
really about the myth we’ve been taught 
to believe, or is it about something more? 
Before you begin your meal this year take 
a moment to consider the holidays’ real 
origin, and what the day meant for the 
Wampanoag then and what it continues 
to signify for American Indians today.

Originally printed Mountain Views 
News, Nov. 19, 2011

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RICH Johnson


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



(I promise I will return to “Court Jester” status next week.)

 Well, the election is over. And tough decisions are in the 
works. Now we will see how the boys and girls on both sides of the aisle are 
getting along in our sandbox called Washington D.C. 

 An increase in taxes is inevitable. And apparently, not just to those who 
make over $250,000 a year. There are a few bouncing “tax” balls we need to 
keep our eye on.

 First: Social Security Payroll Tax Cap. If you are fortunate enough to 
make over $110,000 a year, you currently don’t pay social security tax on 
the amount of your income over $110,000. One of President Obama’s 2008 
campaign promises was his being open to raising the level of income on 
which we pay social security taxes. That would be a tax increase on those 
making more than $110,000. 

 Second: Mortgage Interest and Property Tax Deduction. If you itemize 
on your taxes and currently take the mortgage interest and property tax 
deductions, you could be faced with losing that deduction. That would result 
in paying a lot more in taxes even if you make well below $250,000 a year.

 We would be prudent to keep our eyes on these issues. Maybe even more 
fundamental here is the task of reigning in government spending sprees. For 
many of us, raising our taxes because we are spending too much money is 
like punishing our overspending teenagers by giving them raises. 

 One of my favorite presidents was George H. W. Bush (the first one). You 
all remember his campaign slogan: “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

 Well, once in office President Bush couldn’t get the Democratically 
controlled Congress (yes, both houses) to agree to spending cuts without 
tax increases. (And I thought only the Republicans were the party of “No”). 
Finally, in an attempt to end what we called “gridlock” President Bush agreed 
to raise taxes if the congress cut spending. He did his part but congress did 
not do their part.

 I consider President Bush’s reversal of his campaign pledge of no new 
taxes to be one of the most courageous acts taken by a president. He had to 
know it was political suicide. Yet he did it to try to keep the country going.

 So subsequently in the campaign and election of 1992 President Bush 
was attacked from both sides. During the primary, fellow republican Pat 
Buchanan mounted a challenge to Bush criticizing his tax increase. And 
in the general election it was Bill Clinton who attacked President Bush for 
not being trustworthy and going back on his word. Which I believe was 
hypocritical as Bush raised taxes trying to work with a democratically-
controlled congress. And then they hung him out to dry.

 The day after the Proposition 30 win, the LA Times ran an editorial warning 
the California State Legislature that this win was not an invitation for them 
to go out and spend, spend, spend. Let’s hope they listen. So, in conclusion, 
if we are going to be forced to pay more in taxes, let’s make sure congress and 
the president realize it’s not an invitation to spend, spend, spend.

 Finally, my singer songwriter friend (and fellow Sierra Madrean) Jane 
Fuller, is taking the stage with a one-woman Christmas musical called “The 
Jane Fuller Arctic Express”. It will be held Sunday evening, December 9 
from 7:00- 8:00pm at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Tickets are $20.00 which 
includes a full length Christmas CD by Jane entitled, “The Spirit of Giving.” 
For tickets and info contact the Playhouse at (626) 355-4318 or check it out 
on Jane’s website,


 Now that we have gotten past the recent elections, we can get 
back to life as normal. Of course, I am not sure what “normal” 
really means. One man’s “normal” is another man’s “over the 

 I am not quite sure I am normal and I fear bringing this query 
to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. My fear is that she will tell me the truth. 
You know what we Americans think about the truth.

 There was a time when truth was a pretty stable thing. There were certain things 
that were absolute truth and no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. Those were the good old 

 Nowadays truth is not as clear as it once was. What was true in “the day,” is now 
altogether a different matter. Being the simpleminded man that I am, it is very hard 
for me to keep up with all of this nonsense. I mean, after all, how do you know what 
is true if it changes all the time? I think if it is true, it is always true. That only beguiles 
my age.

 If truth is as slippery as some people are indicating, how do I know what is true 
today? It does not matter what was true yesterday. That was yesterday. Today is a new 
day and henceforth, what was true yesterday is not true today. To make matters even 
more confusing, what is true today will not be true tomorrow.

 I believe the reason I am getting bald on the top is that I am scratching my head too 
much lately. I cannot seem to make heads or tails out of all the nonsense transpiring 
today as truth. How do people keep up and know what is really true?

 If I plan to live quite a few more years, I am going to have to get a handle on this 
very thing. I am not quite sure where to go. Something has to be done so that I can 
figure out day by day what is really true.

 I shared my dilemma with my better half and as is usually the situation, she came 
up with a brilliant answer. Please, do not let her know I said that. She might get a big 
head and we cannot afford to buy a whole new set of hats.

 She simply said, “Why don’t you do what the politicians do?”

 I did not quite know what she was getting at, so I inquired further.

 “Silly,” her pet name for Yours Truly, “the politicians always take a poll before they 
decide on anything.”

 It dawned on me like a morning in June. Of course. Whenever a politician wants 
to know what truth is flying on any given day, he reverts to taking a poll. Out of that 
poll, he can know what the truth is for that day. Amazing.

 I need to learn some lessons from today’s politician.

 The first thing I need to understand from a politician’s point of view is, “What I am 
saying at the time is not necessarily what I mean.”

 This is convenient and frees me up to say things I normally might put a check 
on. The check’s in the mail and I now am free to say whatever is on my mind at the 
moment. The first thing I need to do is find out what is on the mind of the people I 
am talking to. Whatever is on their mind is exactly what is on my mind.

 This has such a freeing aspect to it.

 Another thing from a politician’s viewpoint is, “What I said yesterday doesn’t count 
today.” This also is from the polling machine. The amazing thing about most people 
is they do not remember what was said yesterday. A very poor politician reminds 
people of what they said yesterday. A politician needs to tell them what he is saying 
today. Because today’s truth is today’s truth. No need to worry about tomorrow. 

 Tomorrow will be reflected by tomorrow’s polling.

 This is very important because it reduces the necessity to use any sort of memory 
whatsoever. Because what I said yesterday does not really matter today. I do not have 
to remember what I said yesterday. If I want to know what I said yesterday, I need 
only take another poll today and that settles the matter.

 Perhaps the most important view from a politician is, “Tomorrow may never 
come.” I do not have to worry that what I am saying today will catch up with me 
tomorrow, for the simple reason tomorrow may never come. If it does come, so what. 
I will take a poll tomorrow to find out what I need to say tomorrow.

 I think there is something to this polling mechanism. I do not have to worry about 
anything; all I need to do is just take another poll. I know it may get a little confusing, 
but I clear up that confusion by taking another poll. It is always the last poll that really 

 Thankfully, when it comes to God, truth does not change from one day to the next. 
What is true today was true yesterday and will be true tomorrow. You can count on 

 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV).

 I can always count on God being true to His Word because God never changes.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, 
FL 34483. Email ( ) . His web site 
is ( ) 

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