Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 16, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12



Mountain View News Saturday, January 16, 2021 




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



 George Orwell, the infamous author of Animal Farm 
and 1984, defined as a paramount problem of politics 
that tyrannized people very often ACCEPT the authority, 
judgment, and power of their “superiors.” In the United 
States today it is very clear that many tyrannized people 
accept the behavior and pronouncements of Donald 
Trump although it is obvious that he makes no distinction 
between what is true and what his false. Even today in 
the impeachment hearing Trump defenders state only 
that proceeding with impeachment at this time would be disruptive to the overall 
political process and therefore Trump should not be impeached. They argue that 
what’s past is past and that it’s time to begin tending to the present. Forgive and 

 Of course what is really feared by those in power is a loss of control, a 
change of accepted rules. Strangely Trump had one ability that differentiated him 
from almost any other politician his ability to generate spectacle. This ability to 
command attention has already produced results that were unthinkable four years 
ago. In the Republican Presidential Primary of 2016 Trump prevailed over 16 other 
contenders all of whom had more knowledge, ability, experience and desire to fulfill 
the traditional obligations of President in accord with their individual political 
beliefs. Trump cared for none of this. What he possessed was an insatiable need 
for adulation and adoration—he called this loyalty. This got the media’s attention as 
it became clear that all Trump cared about was his ratings and numbers. A perfect 
twenty first Century candidate. 

 My major concern in this article is an attempt to explain why so many 
millions of American voters be repelled by his lies. As Orwell bemoaned, people 
don’t really understand or care very much about what is actually good for them. 
They pick a hero, wear his MAGA hats, and delight in his seeming opposition to 
accepted norms, although in reality he is the living embodiment of White Male 
Christian dominance. He can do no wrong because everything he does is right until 
it isn’t. What these Trump followers fear is the demise of the power White Male 
Christian who has been in power for the last 500 years and has uncompassionately 
dehumanized, colonized, and enslaved ever other human being. This kind of man 
has given his adherents all that they believe is theirs and the fear, perhaps quite 
accurately, that much of their privileges earned by accidents of birth will soon be 
taken away by more hard working people who were not penalized from the start. 

 It’s rarely described as such but we are living in a continuing Race and 
Gender War, a war for equality of opportunity, and a war to end the ridiculous 
separation of the very, very rich from all other classes. As a young man George 
Orwell, a child of wealth was taught “Life was hierarchical and whatever happened 
was right. There were the strong, who deserved to win and always did win, who 
deserved to lose and always, did lose, everlastingly.” Who were the strong? Young 
George (then Eric Blair believed then that every desirable quality—beauty charm, 
athleticism, sexual desirability and something called character which in reality, 
meant the ability to impose your will on others, came packaged in money.

 Well as always times they are still a’changin’. The road to success in most 
people’s eyes still involves the continual pursuit of money. That has not changed 
but slowly, ever so slowly, White Males have been relieved of their automatic and 
undeserved privileges which exist at the starting line. I wish I could make 
things fairer but I just don’t have the money or the talent or the energy to bring 
that about. Maybe I have been hampered by too much privilege and I am not even 

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A member 
of the







When Donald Trump became only 
president in our tangled history to be 
impeached twice, Americans found 
themselves asking, “What now?”

The better question is “What’s next?”

It goes beyond the prospect of a trial 
in the Senate that now appears set to 
unfold in the opening days of the new 
Biden administration, despite arguments 
over whether the chamber has 
such authority (there is hardly unanimity 
on that score).

Every move the nation makes between 
now and when the Senate votes on 
whether to convict Trump on charges of 
inciting insurrection (and vote it absolutely 
must), will not only in echo in the 
near term, it will set the tone for the next 
20 years of our politics and beyond.

Pundits have compared last week’s riot 
at the U.S. Capitol, which left five people 
dead, to Julius Caesar and his forces 
crossing the Rubicon river in Italy in 49 
B.C., prefacing for the civil war that ultimately 
toppled the Ro-man Republic.

The analogy is an imprecise one for a
couple of reasons, not least because it
does a grave disservice to Caesar, a master 
political strategist and bril-liant (if
utterly brutal) military commander. The
oafish and authoritarian Trump can be
accused of many things, but being a 21st 
century Julius Caesar is not one of them.

If we’re looking for a more precise historical 
antecedent from the ancient
world, we need to turn the clock back
farther, to the decades between the third 
Punic War in 146 B.C. that saw the final
obliteration of Carthage, and the rise of
the Caesars.

As the historian Mike Duncan writes
in his 2017 book “The Storm Before the
Storm,” it was an era eerily similar to our 
own. One where the first cracks in the
foundation of the Republic started to

Those years were, as Duncan notes,
punctuated by “rising economic ine-
quality, dislocation of traditional ways
of life, increasing political polariza-tion,
the breakdown of unspoken rules of political 
conduct, the privatiza-tion of the
military, rampant corruption, endemic
social and ethnic preju-dice, battles over 
access to citizenship and voting rights,
ongoing military quagmires, the introduction 
of violence as a political tool,
and a set of elites so obsessed with their
own privileges that they refused to reform 
the system in time to save it.”

The era also was filled with colorful,
controversial and historically influen-
tial figures who are understandably
overshadowed by the such later em-
perors as Augustus, Nero and Constantine. 
They include the Gracchi, a clan of
populists who met a grisly end, as well as 
Sulla, who seized power through a military 
coup, setting the precedent Caesar
followed when he 
finally toppled the 
Republic three 
decades later.

As the Cambridge 
historian Mary 
Beard writes in 
her compulsively 
reada-ble 2015 
history “SPQR,” the death of the last 
Gracchi brother in 121 B.C, set the stage 
for “three more sustained civil wars or 
revolutionary upris-ings (there is often a 
hazy boundary between them).”

As terrifying and tragic as those hours 
at the Capitol were last week – and they 
were – it’s crucially important to note 
that, hours later, the machinery of government 
reasserted itself, and the House 
and Senate reconvened to certify the 
victory of President-elect Joe Biden and 
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The Capitol siege cast a light on an already 
present, and now growing white 
nationalist movement that Trump, who 
is ignorant of history but savvy at manipulation, 
was able to turn to his political 
advantage to win the White House. 
And then, abetted by the conservative 
echo chamber, he weaponized them 
when his defeat was assured.

Now Washington and state capitals 
across the country are bracing for a 
potential repeat of that violence during 
marches and protests scheduled for 
this weekend. We’ve already seen the 
images of scores of National Guard soldiers 
sleeping on the floor of the Capitol. 
We’re at a turning point in our politics. 
But it is not without precedent.

In his “Meditations,” one of the last great 
emperors, Marcus Aurelius, ad-monished 
readers (and himself) “to bear in 
mind constantly that all of this has happened 
before. And will happen again – 
the same plot from begin-ning to end, 
the identical staging.”

These are the historical realities that the 
Senate, which seems to have trouble 
thinking beyond the next news cycle, 
must keep in mind when it tries Trump. 
The government also must move swiftly 
to find, charge and try those responsible 
for the violence.

Fair trials, met with stern punishment 
for the guilty (which should include 
political banishment for Trump and 
rebukes to his enablers), will not only 
send the signal that our system remains 
strong and vital, but also remains a beacon 
for the rest of the world.

So that next time, when someone who 
might actually be able to pull it off thinks 
about crossing the Rubicon, they won’t 
get any further than the water’s edge.

Without grace, our public discourse will continue to suffer.

“Grace,” according to, has more than one 
meaning, but all of them are powerful.

Grace is “a pleasing or attractive quality,” as well as “favor or 

In a religious sense, grace is “a virtue or excellence of divine origin” – a gift from 
God to help us be more charitable and gracious toward our fellow man. It’s also a 
prayer of thanks recited before meals.

In a general sense, grace is “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.”

And when we are most lucky, our beloved friends and family members grace us 
with their presence.

Grace is a beautiful and necessary component of everyday life. Without it, our 
world cannot function.

And grace is horribly lacking in our public discourse.

Too many political leaders, beginning with our president and including too many 
others holding high positions in the federal government, are being the polar opposite 
of graceful. lists some antonyms of grace. They include ugliness, animosity, 
enmity, harshness and disfavor.

Even Trump supporters have been appalled by the coarseness of some of his tweets 
and his recent words that re-sulted in some disgraceful followers storming the U.S. 
Capitol, which has sickened, saddened and appalled every-one.

But how are Trump’s political foes, who’ve told their supporters to get into peoples’ 
faces or disrupt their restaurant meals, or who used highly inflammatory words to 
gin up protesters, better?

When our alleged leaders are totally lacking any semblance of grace, where does 
that leave us?

In a world lacking in grace, citizens are at each other’s throats. They don’t care to 
understand ideas or points of view that challenge theirs. No, it’s easier to demonize 
and make caricatures of those who hold different ideas or political viewpoints – it’s 
easier to destroy opposing thought.

In a world lacking in grace, political leaders aren’t leaders at all. They’re followers. 
They seek power by feeding red meat to just enough followers to get them across 
the finish line on election day. They care only about the 51% who supported them 
–and turn a blind eye to the 49% who didn’t, further dividing our increasingly
fractured country.

In a world lacking in grace, civility is lost. Neighbors turn on neighbors who put 
the wrong political signs in their front yards. Politics becomes all-consuming and 
never-ending. Anger becomes all-consuming and ever-increasing. Hatred rears 
its ugly head, with violence waiting in the wings, looking for any opportunity to 

To save the future, we need to restore grace to our country, our political leaders 
and ourselves – and it begins with each and every one of us.

We need to open our hearts and minds to what is true and good – truth and goodness 
hold no political affiliations.

We need to see the best in our neighbors.

We need to understand why people think differently than we do – and we will 
likely discover that we mostly all de-sire similar beneficial outcomes, and differ 
primarily on how to achieve those outcomes.

I pray that God bestows much-needed grace upon us once again – because grace is 
what we need to restore order, trust and civility to public discourse.

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir 
available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor 

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