Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 12, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 14

THE CONVERSATIONS.. Talking About The Things That Are On Our Mind


 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 12, 2020 


By Stuart Tolchin



Bob Jones is a very 
personable man who I met 
on the Azusa Greens Golf 
Course. We are both 76 years 
of age and have underlying 
medical conditions. During 
the entire time of our 
acquaintance he has been 
enduring arduous medical 
treatments which include 
radiation and the use of 
experimental treatments 
in order to cope with his 
advanced cancer conditions. 
He has stubbornly refused to 
abandon much of his regular 
activities. He adamantly 
explains “I will never alter 
my lifestyle out if fear.” In 
between radiation treatments 
and medical consultations 
he continues to play golf a 
few times a week. He goes 
to Costco and Home Depot 
regularly and has made few changes to his lifestyle. He maintains contact with 
his numerous children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He maintains 
a supervisory interest in the company he has started which provides computer 
billing services to hospitals across the United States.

 Bob at one time was superior athlete whose picture still hangs on the wall 
of San Gabriel High School honored as the best all-around athlete of 1962. Bob 
has never tasted caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. He has never indulged in drugs. 
In High School these prohibitions caused him to be recognized as an “outsider” 
who at times provided needed assistance to other students who were either too 
drunk or too stoned to drive home. As you may have guessed he is a Mormon 
who together with all of his five children have engaged in Missions all around the 
world. As a result of the missions to faraway places by his children Bob now has 
grandchildren of different colors and ethnicities. When I asked Bob if any of his 
children were ever rebellious he laughed and said they all were. To my surprise he 
explained that every athlete hated his Coach at one time or another in much the 
same way that God chastises and watches over his children on Earth. “ It is only 
when one stops hearing God’s cautioning voice that one should worry because 
God may have given up on you.”

 That explanation made little sense to me. I am a proud life-long sceptic 
who, nevertheless, admires the certainty and consistency and overall satisfaction 
that is a part of Bob’s life. He is a good man, who cares about others, and engages in 
many philanthropic activities. Bob is a Republican who intends to vote for Donald 
Trump on November 3. Frankly, although I do not believe in the concept of sin, 
a vote for Donald Trump is to my mind an unforgiveable act which evidences a 
total lack of concern for the welfare of humanity in addition to an indifference to 
the unnecessary suffering resulting as direct consequence from Trump’s actions 
and inactions. That is our dilemma and before you stop reading this please realize 
that hundreds of millions of Americans similarly are steadfast supporters of the 
President. Surprisingly, Bob and I still enjoy one another.

 Does a person’s politics, no matter their underlying behavior and the 
commendable way they live their lives make them absolutely unworthy of respect? 
I suggest that we attempt to consider the person. Politics is something like the 
frosting on a cake. Many of the frostings are too sugary, too comforting in the 
short run but clearly unhealthful in the long run. We all should be able to scrape 
off the frosting and that which may be healthful and substantial underneath the 
disagreeable topping. It is worth the effort to realize that political partisanship 
does not prevent friendship and that there are possible lessons to be learned from 
those with very different beliefs and standards. As a long practicing attorney 
who handled a sad number of vicious divorce cases I can testify to how frequently 
feelings can change. But for today, let us keep our wits about us and look for the 
healthy substance beneath the repellent, but to all too many, enticing frosting. 

If I can ever get out of the house, I look forward to Bob and my next round of golf. 

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