Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 26, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 26, 2020 





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

Mary Lou Caldwell

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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee


When I played Little League baseball (in the 70’s) we 
made it to the Championship game and got trounced 
by a team that clearly were older than we were. Feeling 
defeated and heartbroken, that was the first time 
I remember someone uttering the phrase “It doesn’t 
matter if you win or lose, but its how you play the 
game”. I remember instantly thinking, “what a pile 
of crap” there is no real consolation in defeat. My 
coach went on to share his belief that our opponents 
had used players too old for our division and that we 
should be proud that we were even able to compete. 
He said if, they have to cheat to win, they are only hurting themselves.

Over the years I realized that taking consolation and celebrating sincere effort 
and putting your best foot forward, most often gave me a short-lived feeling 
of exuberance. Nothing compared to hoisting the trophy, or winning the 

Now as adults, I’ve listened to my peers rip apart professional sports teams 
that cheat to win. Remember “Deflate Gate”, or “Spygate”, The baseball steroid 
era (when all of my friends bragged about being purest and steroids had no 
place in professional sports). Oh, how offended we were when we found out 
the truth about Lance Armstrong. The message was simple, win the right way 
or no way. We would not tolerate winning at any cost.

Even today, most of my friends moan about giving trophies out to everyone. 
At one point we knew that winning took hard work, relentless dedication, 
and was extremely difficult to achieve (which is why winning is rare and celebrated 
when achieved).

Hard work, is supposed to win the day. Now it seems as if our country has 
entered into what can best be described as the “Tonya Harding” approach to 
competing. Instead of putting in the work and the training and having enough 
self-respect to acknowledge when those efforts are not good enough to best 
your opponent, we move to attempting to destroy our opponents as our only 
way of achieving victory.

“Kneecapping” your opponent is nothing more than a recognition that it is 
the only way you can win. No longer able to win on the merits of your beliefs, 
unable at generating enough support for your ideologies, not willing to accept 
that plain truth that despite your best efforts, you opponent is stronger (for 
now) we take to the lowest forms of human behavior just to feel the excitement 
of holding that trophy up (if only for a second).

Winning seems to be the only thing that matters today, at any cost. 

The problem is, it’s a cost we simply cannot afford. 




Joe Vadala’s question was heartbreaking in every way 
imaginable.Vadala, a high school teacher whose fight 
against multiple sclerosis has left him immunocompromised, 
looked Joe Biden in the eye last week during 
CNN town hall in Scranton, Pa., told him he wanted 
to teach, but “I don’t want to die,” and leave his wife, 
who’d lost her own mother to COVID-19, a widow.

Vadala wanted to know if Biden would require kids to get vaccinated for 
COVID-19 the same way they’re now required to get measles-mumps-rubella 
vaccinations before they can attend school.

Biden listened carefully. Then his face was clouded by something far away, 
haunting, an echo of a time familiar, yet not familiar.

It was empathy.

“Ah, man, I’m so sorry,” Biden told Vadala, before going on to say he 
wouldn’t issue a vaccine mandate until it was proven safe for children. But, 
he added, emphasizing, “if Fauci says a vaccine is safe, I would take the vaccine. 
We should listen to the scientists, not to [President Donald Trump].”

There were moments like that throughout the town hall, which was held in 
a stadium not far from his childhood home. He opened the event by comforting 
Shani Adams, a Philadelphian who’d lost her sister to the pandemic. 
His face creased in sympathy, his lips pursed, recognizing a pain radiating 
from Adams that couldn’t be obscured by a head scarf and face mask.

Biden sympathized with Joe Farley, a healthcare worker, who told the 
Democratic nominee that he’d taken out a credit card with 25 percent interest 
during the pandemic because he was making less than $15 an hour, 
and couldn’t make ends meet.

“The idea that you’re not making the minimum of $15 an hour is just 
wrong,” Biden said. “No one should have to work two jobs to get out of 

While some employers pay more, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has been 
mired at the federal level of $7.25 an hour for more than a decade. The 
Republican-controlled General Assembly has resisted repeated attempts to 
raise it.

Biden listened. He let people finish their questions. He was polite and inquiring. 
And like any good pol, he reached across the vast distance separating 
him from his audience to try to establish a connection.

Maybe this shouldn’t be unusual. But after four years of hectoring, bullying, 
blustering, and a complete empathy vacuum under Trump, the contrast 
of Biden’s fundamental decency and sincerity could not have been 
more stark.

Trump was in Philadelphia earlier last week for a town hall put on by ABC 
News and hosted by anchor George Stephanopoulos.

The defining moment of that event, sure to live in a thousand campaign 
commercials, came when college professor Ellesia A. Blaque, who lives 
with a chronic inflammatory disease, had to shut Trump down as he tried 
to roll over her question about his plans to protect people with pre-existing 

Trump told Blaque that “we are not going to hurt anything having to do 
with preexisting conditions. We’re not going to hurt preexisting conditions. 
We’re going to be doing a healthcare plan very strongly and protect people 
with preexisting conditions.”

That’s nonsense on two counts: Republicans and Trump are in court suing 
to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and with it, protections for people with 
preexisting conditions. Second, as my colleague and fellow Cagle Syndicate 
columnist Dick Polman points out, Trump doesn’t have an alternative.

The 45th president’s prompted some major – and deserved – clap back 
from Blaque.

“Encountering my question, one that millions of other Americans have, 
seemed to be a circumstance he had to suffer through to promote his reelection,” 
Blaque wrote in an op-Ed for CNN. “Rather than seeing a human 
being asking for his support and help, perhaps all he saw was a fat Black 
woman – a metaphoric rock in his shoe that, if not for saving face, he would 
have begrudgingly removed and resentfully thrown into the Schuylkill River 
on his way back to Air Force One.”

Again, contrast that to Biden’s thoughtful and detailed answers, coupled 
with the grace and empathy we expect of our leaders at a time of need.

It’s what we expect of presidents. It’s not what we’re getting now.

An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. 

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I strongly identify as a Jewish person but 
what does that identity mean to me? There 
are Secular Jews and Cultural Jews and Jews 
who strongly identify with the heritage and 
history of Jews. Certainly there are many 
atheistic and agnostic Jews and I fall into this 
category but such a category tells me only what 
I am not rather than what I am. Many Jews 
identify strongly with the State of Israel and 
make periodic trips there to affirm their roots 
and heritage and at one time I did identify with the original collective nature 
and energy of the place. Today, I no longer have that feeling. It is not only 
that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be a Trump-like figure 
who wishes to rule forever, perhaps to escape prison, but also because Israel 
has endorsed an apartheid like policy toward the Palestinians. Enough about 
Israel and what I am not, but what am I?

 I remember in Elementary School in Chicago being required to fill out 
forms that asked to identify religion and nationality. I asked my mother what 
I should write knowing the word Jewish but not knowing what it meant. My 
mother said our religion was Jewish and I knew enough to know that some 
people went to Temple and prayed and followed rules about eating that I did 
not understand and did not want to. How could we be Jewish if we did none 
of those things? My mother turned away from me as if my questions were 
ridiculous (that happened to me a lot in those days-(in school the teachers 
called me the question man.) All right I was willing to agree that our religion 
was Jewish even though I had little idea of why. But what about nationality- 
what was our nationality? “ Also Jewish” my mother said explaining that for a 
Jew it makes no difference what people call you or where your body happens 
to be or what traditions you follow. 

Your religion and your nationality come from what you are inside and inside 
you are Jewish – genug (that means enough in Yiddish), I forgot to tell you 
that we also spoke Yiddish as my father and grandmothers came from Russia 
and my grandmothers never spoke much English. But even then I knew 
enough to know that the language you spoke was not determinative of your 
religion or Nationality. My bubbe (you know grandmother] spoke a bunch of 
languages like Lithuanian, Russian, and Polish. I thought I knew how to spell 
spell bubbe (I still don’t) until I tried to write to her from Berkeley. I realized I 
had never called her by her first name I knew it but never said it. It was only 
right that I write to her as Bubbe, however I spelled it, no matter how silly it 
might look to other people.

 It is the same thing about my sense of my Yiddishkeit (Jewishness 
comes close.) It comes from the inside no matter how it looks on the outside. 
I know what my values are. They are largely the values expressed in our 
first amendment of being free to speak, think, write and associate FREELY. 
Ironically these are the very thoughts expressed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg 
in the news clips appearing right after her death. RBG exemplifies the very 
point I am trying to make. Her strength expresses herself not in the way she 
looked but from the values that she had inside whether they were expressed in 
affirmation or dissent. 

That, too is the kind of Jew I am, a VISCERAL Jew who knows right from 
wrong, likes all kinds of people-especially strangers—and believes that it is 
possible for all of us to soon work together for the common good—no matter 
how it looks on the outside at the moment. 

Mountain Views News

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