Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 18, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 18, 2016 





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Dr. Tina Paul

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Marc Garlett

Pat Birdsall (retired)

TOM Purcell



I woke up, like 
everyone else, to 
tragedy Sunday 

Five minutes into 
my bleary-eyed 
view of the CNN 
reports, I already 
saw how this 
would go. First, there would be a wringing 
of hands about guns. Then there would be 
attempts to identify a motive. If a Muslim 
was somehow involved, a search for motives 
would cease. There would be moving 
disavowals of violence from Muslim-
American leaders, and Facebook or Twitter 
would fill up with comments about 
how “they” never do enough to disavow 

Even while they were doing it.

There would be gun-control advocates 
wondering why a civilian would get 
his hands on a military-style automatic 
weapon, and others who’d respond that 
the carnage could have been avoided if 
there were other civilians with military-
style weapons allowed in that presumably 
gun-free zone.

There would be the obligatory attack 
on President Obama if he didn’t use the 
“right” words to describe the carnage, 
meaning that he didn’t call it an attack of 
Islamic terror.

When it came out that the target was a 
gay club, people who have a thing against 
Christianity would be bummed because, 
darn it, they couldn’t blame evangelical 
or Catholic haters for the violence. They’d 
like to blame Islam, but they wouldn’t 
want to offend the wrong people.

And, this being an election year, the candidates 
would try to figure out a way to 
pick up electoral support, all the while 
pretending not to care about the polls.

My parents should have named me Cassandra, 
not Christine. All of this came to 
pass. Not that it makes me happy to have 
the playbook for these tragedies imprinted 
on my mind.

When something like this happens, there 
is always the hope that something new or 
better will emerge. One prays (in the secular 
sense) that cooler heads and voices will 
prevail. One prays (in the real sense) that 
this will be the last time anything similar 
happens (except for the media, who exist 
for just such moments).

But there is always disappointment because 
we are human beings and we want 
to blame “the other.” 

That “other” could be a responsible gun 
owner, if you think gun access is too easy 
and gun-control laws are too lax. That 
“other” could be a native-born U.S. citizen 
whose parents immigrated from Pakistan, 
and you think all refugees fleeing ISIS are 
actually jihadists in sheep’s clothing. That 
“other” could be someone who opposes 
same-sex marriage if you think any criticism 
of gays amounts to bigotry.

I’ve been to this dance too many times to 
believe we’re capable of change. We are so 
hard-wired to believe that “the other” is a 
threat that we don’t want to listen to other 

Gun-control advocates think those who 
defend gun ownership are natural enemies. 
They hate the NRA and blame all 
carnage on people who arm themselves, 
whether legally or not. Conversely, NRA 
members resent gun-control advocates 
for trying to eliminate their constitutional 

People who think a wall should be built 
blame jihad (or Mexicans) for mass murder, 
even when presented with the fact 
that killers are native-born-and-bred. 
People who think any discussion of the 
intersection between violence and ethnicity 
or nationality is racist feel superior to 
those knuckle-dragging bigots and discount 
their concerns.

And people who, like Hillary Clinton recently 
noted, think we should be able to 
“love who we love” think that anyone who 
defends their religious freedom to dissent 
is at best spouting hate speech and at 
worst, apologists for mass murder.

I’m sick of them all. What happened to 
the days when deaths were mourned, 
and fingers pointed afterwards when the 
heat of anger and despair had cooled to 
the equally painful but more manageable 
state of sad clarity? I think social media, 
including Facebook, Twitter and iPhones 
erased that possibility, forever.

We are pathetic, my friends, because we 
are predictable in the roles we play. It’s 
not a Greek tragedy, but a reality Cassandra 
would recognize.

 Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for 
the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be 
reached at

I don’t know 
what I was thinking: 
In 1973, 
when I was 11, I 
flushed an apple 
core down the 
toilet, an action 
I would come to 

As it went, my 
father had remodeled our basement 
into a family room. He installed the 
inexpensive pine paneling common to 
the times. He also built a small bathroom, 
which would be the bane of his 
existence for more than 30 years.

My father, always looking to save a 
buck — he had six kids to feed, after all 
— bought the cheapest toilet he could 
find. It never did work right. He spent 
much of his spare time unplugging it.

Armed with this knowledge, then, it 
is remarkable I did what I did.

One Sunday morning, after chomping 
on a large Washington apple, I lay 
on the family room couch, too lazy to 
go upstairs to the kitchen to dispose of 
it. (My father warned against throwing 
apple cores in the downstairs garbage 
can, as they would draw ants.)

About then I noticed, some 12 feet 
away, that the toilet lid was up. In a 
moment of insanity, I aimed the core 
at the toilet and flicked my wrist. The 
core floated majestically in the air, a 
perfect trajectory, and landed in the 
center of the bowl with a satisfying 

I flushed it and never gave it another 

Six months later, another clogging 
was reported with that toilet. As fate 
would have it, this happened on a 
Sunday morning. I lay on the couch, 
holding another Washington apple. 
I watched television, while my father 
fought to free the plug.

But nothing would free it. The 
plunger failed, but not before my father 
was soaking wet. Two jars of Drano 
had no effect. Even the plumber’s 
snake, which my father always borrowed 
from the Krieger’s next door 
when all other measures failed, was 
unable to dislodge the blockage.

In a fit of rage, my father unbolted 
the toilet from the floor. In one mighty 
heave, he lifted it off its mount and set 
it in front of the television. My mother 
was there by now, desperately trying 
to calm him. I walked over for a closer 
look, horrified by what I was about to 

My father knelt before a black hole 
in the floor. Despite mother’s protestations, 
he reached his mighty paw 
inside it, then his forearm, then his 
biceps. His head was now pressed 
against the damp floor, the veins in his 
temples ready to explode.

His eyes lit up. He had something. 
He carefully removed his biceps, then 
his forearm, then his paw. He was on 
his knees now staring at his clenched 
fist. He unpeeled his fingers slowly. In 
the center of his palm was a black, rotten 
apple core.

I could go into detail about my father’s 
incredible reaction — how he 
ran through the house shouting, “Who 
the hell flushed an apple core down the 
toilet?” I could describe the shock and 
horror he felt when he discovered that 
I, his 11-year-old son and only hope in 
carrying on the family name, was the 
imbecile who did it.

But I won’t. I will tell you I was paralyzed 
with fear that day, a fear born 
out of respect. My father loved me and 
wanted the best for me, I know now. 
He wanted me to master basic virtues 
— certainly to master common sense 
— and I’d failed him.

At the time, it would have been great 
if he were a father like the hapless idiots 
portrayed on television these days. 
But lucky for me he was, and still is, 
a man. Unlike too many fathers today, 
he was firm and strong and unafraid to 
confront me and discipline me in the 
unpleasant challenge of preparing me 
for life.

The hard feelings the apple core incident 
caused have mostly been forgotten. 
Still, every now and then I receive 
a call late at night. I answer and 
hear a familiar male voice:

“Why the hell did you flush an apple 
core down the toilet?”

Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-
Review humor columnist Send 
comments to Tom at Tom@TomPurcell.

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JOHN L. Micek


So U.S. 
House Speaker 
Paul Ryan 
thinks Donald 
about the 
heritage of a 
federal judge 
hearing a civil 
case against 
him are an example 
of “textbook racism,” but he won’t 
rescind his endorsement of the presumptive 
Republican presidential nominee?

And U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, says 
he’ll vote for Trump “but in terms of getting 
my endorsement, I don’t endorse 
people that bash a judge based on his ethnic 

Sorry, Republicans.

As the old saying goes, you can’t be kind of 
pregnant. By backing Trump, you’re giving 
your explicit endorsement to whatever 
nonsense comes tumbling out of his candyflake 
orange head.

And no amount of rhetorical contortions 
will get you out of that one.

You can’t say you didn’t know what you 
were getting into when he scurrilously 
suggested that all undocumented immigrants 
were rapists and murderers; when 
he suggested that the odious “Operation 
Wetback” might be a good model for deporting 
11 million people; or when he proposed 
an unenforceable and fanciful ban 
on foreign Muslims.

Yes, the nativist twaddle Trump spouted 
worked to your advantage when he was 
deploying it against President Barack 
Obama or presumptive Democratic nominee 
Hillary Clinton, herself a candidate 
who is, in many ways, as flawed as Trump 
himself – as a pair of just awful headlines 
related to her email scandal drove home 
last week.

But whatever angles of attack open to Republicans 
on Clinton - and there are plenty 
- fall to the wayside as the national party 
(filling the space that should be occupied 
by Trump’s campaign, but is not because 
of its well-documented barebones nature) 
does damage control.

So why are senior Republicans infantilizing 
Trump by holding onto the vain hope 
that he’ll somehow mature and grow into 
a proper presidential candidate?

“Using a prepared text last night and not 
attacking any other Americans was a good 
start,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 
R-Ky., said of a recent Trump 
speech. “I think it’s still time for him to act 
like a presidential candidate should be acting. 
So I haven’t given up hope.”

If you’re rejoicing that he got through one 
whole speech without managing to insult 
a religious, racial or ethnic group, then 
you’ve set the bar so low that it’s essentially 

Liberated from his teleprompter, Trump 
took to Twitter to respond to the tragic 
shooting at an Orlando gay club, and ended 
up patting himself on the back.

“Appreciate the congrats for being right 
on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want 
congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. 
We must be smart!” 

As columnist Michael Gerson observed, 
Republicans are between a rock and a hard 

On one hand, they can’t very well turn 
their backs on the man who won the majority 
of the votes from GOP primary 

On the other, they’re spending all their 
available free time (and political capital) 
putting out the Trumpian brush fires that 
erupt among key constituencies -- such as 
Hispanics - every time their presumptive 
nominee gets too close to an open microphone 
or a device equipped with any sort 
of social media application.

Some Republicans, notably U.S. Sens. 
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and 
Ben Sasse of Nebraska, as well as U.S. 
Rep. Charlie Dent, of Pennsylvania, have 
remembered that both principle and the 
long-term future of the party are more 
important than short-term political gains.

But they are in the profound minority 
of their party as more Republicans jump 
aboard the Trump train.

Republicans, with justifiable pride, cling 
to their mantle as “the Party of Lincoln,” 
and, for many years, that legacy stood in 
marked contrast to the Democrats of the 
segregationist south.

As fringe elements have risen to prominence, 
particularly since the emergence 
of the Tea Party movement in 2010, those 
days seem to be increasingly in the rearview 

And Trump is putting ever more distance 
between them.

At the dawning of the American war 
in Iraq, another great Republican, Colin 
Powell, famously observed that if the 
United States broke Iraq, it would own the 

It was famously referred to as “The Pottery 
Barn Rule.”

Republicans own Trump now. And they 
own whatever damage he’ll wreak on both 
their party and the nation if he wins in 

An award-winning political journalist, 
John L.Micek is the Opinion Editor and 
Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-
News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may 
follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek 
and email him at

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