Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 8, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

12 Mountain View News Saturday, May 8, 2021 OPINION 12 Mountain View News Saturday, May 8, 2021 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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Are you at all familiar with the HBO documentary series entitled 

Exterminate All the Brutes? I have watched the trailer and the first 

episode and it is all very troubling. Like every one of my particular 

age I was taught all through school that America was the greatest 

nation in the world and that it was the greatest nation that had 

ever existed anywhere. What this meant was never really talked 

about but there was an underlying assumption that we people 

who were born in the United States, especially “White People” had 

made a terrific choice in being born when and where we were and 

choosing the right color skin. We kind of assumed that people in 

other countries all really wanted to be Americans and we White 

folk even assumed that non-White people in America should be educated to act like White 

People, that what was meant by education.

There was an underlying belief that people who were non-White had hard lives 

because they deserved them. They lacked discipline, and integrity, and morality, and honesty 

and other words that were talked about and never explained. Even for those of us who did 

not believe in God it was just accepted that this was God’s will and it was just the way things 

were. People like Jackie Robinson were talked about as being a” credit to their race” because 

they were allowed to play the White Man’s game of baseball. Robinson was required to act 

in a certain way and accept insults in order to prove something or other. It was not a belief 

in equality that brought Robinson to the major leagues but a hard economic decision that 

would be a financially beneficial thing to do.

In the 1960’s I went to UCLA wherein the only non-White students were the famous 

athletes who were given scholarships and allowed to attend classes because of their athletic 

ability. I went to UCLA Law School from 1965 through 1968 and the entire student body 

was White Men. That’s right! No Black, Brown, or Yellow People. No women. Women 

who came to study in the Law Library were laughed at because it was known that they were 

only there to try and hook up with some desirable man. Today, of course the Dean of the 

Law School is a woman, the majority of the Law Students are women, and I assume that the 

student body contains a racially diverse population.

I know that today the entire population is well aware of the racial and sexist practices 

that are an integral part of American history but my point is that while growing up no one 

talked about it very much. I can remember no time within the Law School that there was 

ever a discussion of why it could be tolerated that there were nothing but White Male 

Professors and students. It is disgusting to even think about it. All of us were great believers 

in American Superiority and the benefits of Democracy and such but the fact that the entire 

system was rotten to its core was never mentioned. When it came time for Demonstrations, 

these were anti-war demonstrations which were self-serving as White Male College Students 

wanted to avoid the draft. 

Certainly the last few decades have displayed significant changes and perhaps 

overall attitudes have changed; but there is no doubt that unfairness still exists deep within 

the system. The series that I mentioned above, Exterminate all the Brutes is the creation 

of Raoul Peck, a Hattian Black Man who was raised in Africa and Scandinavia. It is 

unrelenting in its presentation that all of our beliefs in the indisputable virtue of America, 

its “justice”, its “integrity”, its “morality”, its “democracy” were simply words that were made 

up to cover the simple truth that the last 500 years or so has been an uninterrupted saga 

of White European Men invading other land in the Americas and Africa and genocidally 

destroying the indigenous populations and cultures. That is world history but what has been 

marketed to the public are false ideas intended to obscure and justify the horror. In the 

first episode prominent ex-Senator Rick Santorum is shown saying that when the colonists 

arrived in North America “there was no one else here” blissfully ignoring that there were 

tens of millions of indigenous people who had lived here for millennia. It is a sickening 

realization that we all knew this but didn’t care. There is some question as to why major 

powerful corporations would allow such a documentary to be produced and displayed. I 

read an article this morning in the Intercept that explained that in today’s world that there 

is money to be made by such presentations and that making money controls everything. 

That is another sickening realization, like all the others, of which I would have loved to 

remain blissfully ignorant. I guess maintaining ignorance is too expensive these days. Are 

Republicans and Donald Trump still drinking Coca Cola but now with their eyes closed? 



She had a sixth sense. We were barreling down the Mac-
donald–Cartier Freeway at 85 miles an hour. She cocked 
her head to the side, studying the heavy, green overgrowth 
by the shoulder.
“George! George! Stop the car.” 
My dad steered our Ford LTD to a pullout and turned offthe engine.
My sister, older by 3 years, let out a dramatic groan and 
flopped back onto the rear seat. I opened the passenger 

door and pulled her out by her feet, she returned the favor 
by kicking me in the head.
We popped the trunk and grabbed some garbage bags, duct tape and box cutters 

- coincidentally, the same items serial killers stock in their cars. 
The four of us took off our shoes and gingerly criss-crossed the stream flowing 
parallel to the highway. Ten minutes later my dad tossed 2 garbage bags bulging 
with organic watercress into the trunk. That evening and too many evenings after 
that my mom prepared the watercress, I would like to say she found dozens of 
appetizing ways to serve it up but no, watercress soup -every night. She told us 
it tasted better because it was fresh, but I know she really meant it tasted better 
because it was free. 
Foraging is a trendy thing, but it’s not just for mushroom hunters and their truffle 
pigs. Pre-Covid, an afternoon sampling cheese cuts, sausages in marinara sauce 
and shots of Muscle Milk at Costco was a no-cost way to entertain your date. 
Now, a little part of me cries every time I walk by their samples teasingly locked 
away in plexiglass display cabinets. How delicious those samples tasted back then 

- bite sized, served up hot and - free. 
It’s the conundrum we face when taking our daily constitution, we walk by our 
neighbor's front yard and their orange tree has faithfully yet again, produced 
bushels of sweet citrus fruit. I think we all agree anything that falls on the sidewalk 
is fair game but what about those branches that hang just past their property 
line? Do I practice Love Thy Neighbor by leaving their harvest on the tree or help 
my neighbors by preemptively gleaning excess fruit that’s sure to drop and spoil? 
All I know is in one of those cases, it tastes better because it’s free. 

However, much like Lysol's 99.9% disinfecting power there is a minuscule percentage 
when food doesn’t taste better even when it’s free. 

I sat cross-legged on the floor, a child's body length away from the television set, 
waiting for The Flintstones to come on. The phone rang, it was my uncle. After 
some fast talking, my mother grabbed her car keys and peeled out of our driveway. 
An hour later she was back and told me to help unload the car. I opened 
the door and a luminous cloud of stink rolled out. It was as though Shamu had 
beached himself and was left to rot in our back seat. My uncle was a seafood 
wholesaler and overnight the air pumps in his tanks of live lobsters had malfunctioned, 
his entire inventory was dropping dead by the minute. Every pot on our 
stove was stoked with boiling water as my mom plunged dozens of limp lobsters 
into the vats. The first lobster served steamed with butter was sweet with just a 
hint of brine. But then came the lobster salad, lobster fried rice, lobster noodles, 
lobster with lobster leftovers. I suffered from PTLD (Post Tank Lobster Disorder), 
for years after that, forgoing the Surf and eating only the Turf. 

It was inevitable then when I met my future husband. I wasn’t overly impressed 
but he was the China manager for Northwest Airlines. He offered me a lift to work 
one day and jokingly gave me a line, 

“Marry me and fly for free.” 

We eventually tied the knot and it was much better getting the flights for free, but 
he neglected to tell me one thing, they were Stand-By. 

Email me at 



A Scientific American describes my mother 
to a T. 

An article titled “The Incredible Importance of Mothers,” 
by social scientist Melanie Tannenbaum, lays out 
the argument that a mother’s comfort – not just meeting 
basic needs, such as providing food and shelter – is 
essential to the development and wellbeing of children.

Tannenbaum cites the work of social scientist John 
Bowlby, who in the 1950s “determined that our attachment 
to parental figures (in particular, he argued, to 

mothers) plays a huge, critical role in our ability to learn, grow, and develop 
healthy adult relationships.”

 She also cites the work of psychologist Harry Harlow, who was strongly influenced 
by Bowlby’s at-tachment theory. Harlow believed that we humans 
have a core motivation for love and affection as children and that a mother’s 
comfort is what develops our sense of security – which is the key to living a 
happy, productive and well-adjusted life. 

I have many fond memories of being comforted by my mother. 

I’m the third child and only boy in a family of six children, so there was a lot 
of competition for my mother’s attention. 

But I vividly remember one warm, sunny spring day while my two older sisters 
were at school and I got to have my mother all to myself. 

I must have been four at the time and she was pregnant with my sister, Lisa. 

As I played with my red wagon, which I loved, she was whistling as she tended 
to the flowers in the backyard. 

She was happy by nature and loved to whistle – a skill she learned from her 
father and passed down to me. 

I remember being completely content because she was nearby, comforting me 
with her sunny pres-ence, as I was left free to roam and explore the art of 

I was very lucky to grow up as I did at a time when even a large family could 
get by on one income. 

This allowed my mother to stay home, live her dream of having a big family 
and devote her entire life to caring for and comforting her children. 

Her extended family is still blessed daily by her comforting skills. 

She has 17 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and her home is a 
wonderland to each of them – a place of unconditional love and laughter. 

At her 80th birthday party four years ago, all of her family members shared 
stories about how her nur-turing and love had touched their lives in a video 
masterfully edited by one of my nephews. 

It was eye-opening – and at times laugh-out-loud funny – to see the profound 
and varied impact she has had on each of us. 

I’m extremely blessed to still have my mother in my life – still comforting me 
when the challenges and setbacks of life affect me. 

She still cheers me on when the risks that I take in business – risks I’m able to 
take because of the deep sense of security she and my father gave me – blossom 
into success. 

Since the beginning of time, the love and comfort of mothers has been the key 
to all things great and good in the world – the very best gift a mother can give 
to her child. 

I hope and pray every child can be as comforted as my mother still comforts 
me. Happy Mother’s Day! 

Tom Purcell, a is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist Send comments 
to Tom at 

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