Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 3, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 3, 2018 


Left of Left

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton


A lot of things have happened since my last OpEd. On 
October 26th, the attempted mass bomber, who had planted 
14 explodable bombs across the nation allegedly intending 
to kill 14 individuals, including two ex-presidents and their 
wives, was arrested and charged. The next day, October 27th, 
the suspected mass murderer was arrested and charged for the 
alleged shooting at a Pittsburg synagog, leaving 14 dead and six 

Then Tuesday, October 30th, came the news of a “credible plot” to smear Special Counsel 
Robert Mueller in a sex scandal to discredit him and shut down his investigation that, 
according to the Washington Post, was exposed and “fell apart in record time….”

 All these things presumably because Ringmaster Trump’s decided to turn up the heat 
in his divisive, vitriolic, hate-filled rhetoric, “energizing his base” to do whatever it 
takes to marginalize and eliminate his perceived political enemies, “Knock the crap 
out of them, would you?” Remember he said campaigning in 2016. “Seriously, ok? 
Just knock the hell out of any disrupters! I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I 

 Now, if that’s not inciting political terror, I’m an eccentric retired multi-billionaire 
living alone in a shack somewhere on Social Security! And if I that’s not enough, 
President Trump has the audacity to blame his opponents for very chaos he has created 
in the first place campaigning around the country and labeling those same opponents 
“Enemies of the People!” 

 Wake up media! We have become accessories after the fact in Trump’s and Putin’s 
grand plan to destroy the United States from within, and reduce it to a second-rate 
world power incapable of defending its NATO allies against Russia. If you haven’t 
noticed since becoming President, Trump has taken control of by hogging the daly 
news cycle. Most of this can be attributed to his overwhelming paranoiac, sociopathic, 
narcissistic personality, but not all. Some must be viewed as intensional.

 As such, it is our responsibility for letting Trump run his circus on his terms, by his 
rules, framing the news in ways best suited for him; then letting ourselves be used 
[wittingly or not] do the his bidding [for free!] repeating ad nauseam his self-constructed 
narrative without first fact-checking [as best we can] his facts and confirming [as best 
we can] his sources of information, before we allow him to disseminate his suspect 
information as “news.” 

 What we should be doing, instead, is whenever the President is caught lying, his 
lies should be stated as such, in the “lead” of a story, for all to see, whether in print or 
on TV. No more free presidential press passes. Press conferences should be considered 
from now on a two-way street! The President must be held as accountable for what he 
says, as the media must be held accountable for what it communicates. 

 Remember, we are much better people than the vulgar, nincompoops Donald Trump 
persists portraying many of us since he took office—apparently only because so many 
of us are so vehement in our opposition to his administration’s outrageous, immoral, 
racist policies. 

 We care about the quality of character and morality of our leaders, we care about 
basic right and wrong, we care about the quality of our environment, we care, like the 
late John McCain, about truth, justice, and fundamental fairness.” 

 I am reminded of RFK’s words when he was a candidate for President: “Some men 
see things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask 
why not.” 

 When I vote, I will be thinking of the sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus 
[herself an Ellis Island immigrant] cast onto a bronze plaque placed inside the pedestal 
of the Statue of Liberty, welcoming immigrants to America:

 “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The 
restless refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I 
lift my lamp beside the golden door!” If you haven’t already, DO YOUR DUTY—VOTE 

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Saturday morning is normally my favorite morning of the week.

 Usually, I sit in a festive coffee shop near downtown 
Pittsburgh, working on a novel, a love story, I’m eager to complete.

 Last Saturday morning, I heard police cars and ambulances racing past the coffeehouse 
- headed, I now know, to the tragic scene at the Tree of Life Synagogue just 4 miles away, 
where innocents were targeted as they worshiped.

 It’s the latest in a series of tragedies in which powerful weapons were used to slaughter 
defenseless people.

 My first impulse was incredible sadness. I pray for the victims and their families.

 My next impulse was anger. Why aren’t we moving faster to keep weapons out of 
would-be killers’ hands? Why are too many political leaders, on both sides, so carelessly 
ginning up anger, even violence, with their poor choice of words?

 My anger isn’t unique. But some are exploiting this horrible event to attack political 
opponents, call them names, even blame them for directly inspiring this apparently 
unhinged man to come out of the woodwork and strike.

 We will never solve this incredible shooting problem - the causes go deep and the 
solution will require multiple thoughtful actions by many people - if we let it pull us apart 
rather than bring us together. suggests we heed Mister Rogers’ kind and loving words. I 
couldn’t agree more.

 Ironically, the studio where Fred Rogers recorded “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is 
only a few neighborhoods away from Tree of Life - making one scratch his head that a 
place that cultivated so much love and kindness for so many years could be so near a 
place where such an act of hatred would occur.

 Here, from “The World According to Mister Rogers,” is a fine Fred Rogers quote to 

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to 
me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

 God bless the courageous police officers who risked their lives to confront the shooter. 
Four were wounded. Two face long-term recoveries. God bless the many first responders 
who cared for the wounded. And God bless the hundreds of Pittsburghers who waited in 
long donation lines well after blood banks’ normal closing hours.

 “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility,” Fred Rogers also said. “It’s 
easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then 
there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

 We all must never accept the shedding of innocents’ blood as “the new normal.” We all 
must become heroes and use all the tools available to us - political, scientific, technological, 
personal - to inform ourselves, escape the narrowness of our political inclinations, bridge 
our divides and agree on a unified solution that will stop these shootings from being so 
sickeningly commonplace. 

 Our work is cut out for us. The only way we will successfully resolve this problem is to 
ratchet down the angry rhetoric and thoughtfully and intelligently address its complexity.

 The first step to success is to follow Mister Rogers’ sage advice:

 “There are three ways to ultimate success - The first way is to be kind, the second way 
to be kind and the third way is to be kind.”

- Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir 
available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist . or info on 
using this column in your publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-
2829. Send comments to Tom at 



Unlike most of his staged presidential moments, Donald J. 
Trump’s arrival in Pittsburgh earlier this week was a somber 
affair. The tenor was not solely due to the nature of his visit, 
which was ostensibly to pay his respects to the eleven Jewish 
worshippers massacred at the Tree of Life Synagogue over the 
previous weekend. It was the mere fact that he had traveled to 
Pittsburgh at all.

 Rather than being greeted at the airport by civic leaders, as is customary when the 
president of the United States comes to town, Trump’s arrival was decidedly low key. 
He was effectively alone on the tarmac, surrounded by family members and aides. 
And not by choice. 

 Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other government officials specifically asked 
the president not to come. They exhibited true leadership, putting the needs of their 
constituents ahead of participating in a presidential photo opportunity. Trump had 
asked members of the congressional leadership of both parties to join him. They 
declined. Relatives of at least one of the victims chose not to accept an invitation to 
meet with him.

 The senseless murders committed in Pittsburgh and the attempted assassinations 
of more than a dozen other “enemies of the state” (including former presidents, 
government officials, members of the media, and others who don’t share the 
Trumpian vision of America) over the last few weeks, as well as the increase in white 
nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and nativism, all underscore a brutal reality. 

 Our collective sense of shame is on life-support and barely breathing. We are daily 
bearing witness to its slow, painful death and Trump, through his actions, words, and 
deeds, is partially responsible for its untimely demise.

 The president spent thirteen minutes visiting the Tree of Life Synagogue, followed 
by a visit to a hospital where some of the wounded first responders and victims 
remained. Then, it was off to the airport for the flight back to Washington, where 
preparations were already underway for campaign rallies throughout the country. 
Normally verbose, Trump boarded Air Force One stony-faced and silent; whether a 
result of the solemnity his visit required or disappointment over his underwhelming 
reception is unclear. 

 One day after his visit - with many of the dead yet to be buried - the president was 
back on the campaign trail, his spirits invariably lifted as orchestrated throngs cheered 
him upon his arrival in other cities and towns throughout this divided nation. 

 From calls for the arrest and incarceration of political opponents, attacks upon the 
free press, blatant support for extremist groups, flouting of ethics and societal norms, 
disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law, violations of human rights and so 
much more, Trump is using words as weapons. The American ideal of democracy is 
under fire and may be his ultimate victim.

 When an emboldened serial bomber composes a hit list of individuals the president 
has targeted, Trump bears a measure of responsibility. When his description of 
oppressed people as “invaders” finds its way into the social media screeds of racists 
and is used as motivation for the taking of innocent lives, he shares some degree of 
blame. When a Southwest Airlines passenger gropes a woman aboard a flight and 
tells federal agents he did so because “the president of the United States said it’s okay 
to grab women by their private parts,” Trump needs to reassess the impact his words 

 Rather than unite us a country, the president is growing increasingly emboldened 
and divisive. He is tapping into the worst in us rather than lifting us up as a nation 
united. It’s time he casts the politics of personality aside. If he is capable of doing so. 

 Donald J. Trump is an intelligent man; far from book smart, more street smart. He 
may be ignorant of the nuances of governance, the Constitution, and the role of the 
president. He may not understand the concept of moral leadership or basic human 
decency. But make no mistake. He is cunning and has his finger on the pulse of an 
unwavering third of the electorate. He is tapped into a culture of hate that has been 
percolating beneath the surface of our country for quite some time. And he readily, 
repeatedly and shamelessly exploits those who share his sentiments to advance his 
own agenda. 

 There is still time to resuscitate our fundamental sense of shame. We can only hope 
the president attempts to revive his own.


 Blair Bess is an award-winning journalist and columnist. He can be reached at

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NOV. 6

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