Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 3, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page A:12

Mountain View News Saturday, July 3, 2021 12 OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, July 3, 2021 12 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Dinah Chong WatkinsAudrey 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 

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It’s the 

Fourth of July 

weekend and 

it is fitting that 

I start this ar

ticle thinking 

about those 

first Revolu

tionary Times 

in the American 
Colonies. I have read that the major 
influence resulting in the conversion 
of the peaceful American colonists to 
become willing Revolutionary Soldiers 
was the writing of Thomas Paine. His 
pamphlet “Common Sense” was the first 
pamphlet to advocate American independence 
and was read by or orally read 
to a greater percentage of the population 
than any other printed material. Escaping 
a life of difficulty after his wife and 
child both died in childbirth he managed 
to come to the American Colonies. 
Once here he wrote about the injustice 
of being ruled by a king and powerfully 
and convincingly argued that Americans 
had a unique opportunity to change the 
course of history by creating a new sort 
of government in which people were free 
and had the power to rule themselves. 
Centuries before the existence of the 
internet, his writing urging individuals 
to trust their feelings and to take action 
rather than becoming bogged down in 
abstract political debates was so influential 
that it changed the course of the 

Unfortunately, this unquestionably 
powerful and influential man was 
more appreciated in death than in life. 
At the time of his death he had just barely 
escaped being executed in France and 
returning to the new United States published 
an open letter criticizing President 
George Washington as an incompetent 
and elitist President. Big mistake! He 
died as a pauper, seen as betrayer of the 
Revolution and the new America which 
he had been so responsible for creating 
and at the time of his death only 6 people 
gathered to pay their respects. (If you 
are interested in the life of Thomas Paine 
and the conflicting forces surrounding 
him please be aware that the Thomas 
Paine Society is located right next door 

in Pasadena on Green Street.)

Thinking of the life and death of 
Thomas Paine has lead me to consider 
other experiences of powerful influences 
that lead to unforgiveable feelings of 
betrayal. My wife tells the story of her 
grandmother who lived as a devoted 
religious woman with her home decorated 
with pictures of the Saints. She 
mentions that at one time she noticed 
that her grandmother had turned all of 
the pictures of the Saints to the wall and 
wondered what had happened. All that 
I know is that the grandmother did not 
want to talk about it but I gather that 
even after praying hard she felt the Saints 
had let her down and wanted nothing 
more to do with them. She felt betrayed.

Today I recognize that I experience 
a similar kind of betrayal by the 
liberal news media; or, if not by the media, 
a betrayal of myself. For the last 
four years I have been addicted to continuous 
watching of MSNBC and CNN 
and now I never watch these stations or 
watch much television anymore. What 
happened? I have come to understand 
that I did not love these programs; I 
simply hated Trump. Everything negative 
about Trump drew me in and now 
it has become clear that what I wanted, 
what I needed was to hear daily, continuous 
reporting of the horrors connected 
to Donald Trump. Maybe the stations 
are not to blame, I guess it is their job 
to bring in as many viewers as they 
can but I thought they were presenting 
TRUTH. Instead they were just following 
the American model and doing what 
they can to make more money. I feel betrayed 
by my own stupidity but also by 
the fact that I was drawn in by the experience 
of hate. This experience strangely 
makes me more tolerant of the actions of 
the Anti-Semitic, Anti-Asian, Racist haters 
of the world and the last thing I want 
is more acceptance of those positions. 
What I want is change and I feel like I 
have betrayed myself. Probably Americans 
at the time of Washington hated 
themselves for being so adoring of a person 
who then criticized Washington and 
seems to undermine the whole success 
of the Revolution. As my wife’s grandmother 
and I realized one hundred fifty 
years later, life can be very confusing. 




As we drove deeper in the neighborhood of white picket 
fences and their lushly manicured lawns, I noticed a number 
of election signs fronting the occasional home. Curious, 
I looked closer and instead of extolling a candidate for the 

local council, the signs blared - “Congratulations! A Golden 
Bear Lives Here!” 
“What the heck is a Golden Bear?” I asked my fiancé as we drove through his 
“That’s the house of a football player.” 
“I didn’t know they had a NFL team here.” 
He laughed, “No, high school football.” 

High school football players get a sign on their lawns? That was my first inkling 
that Americans were seriously different than us neighbors north of the 49th parallel. 
Hockey is king there and rightly so. Canadians view football like Americans 
view water polo. My high school football team made it to the city finals, and 
the principal tried to bribe the student body to attend the game by giving us half 
the school day off. A couple of dozen people showed up, and that included the 
four piece band. We lost but even the winners had to take the subway home, the 
closest they got to a confetti parade was a few torn paper bus transfers tossed by 
the wayside.
Had the game been played 300 miles to the south, no doubt the winning team 
would be getting keys to the city and a free car - well, at least a year's Uber pass. 

While Canadians politely celebrate their national Canada Day with a low key 
backyard bbq and a case of Molsens, Americans go for the extravaganza that reflect 
their hard-won victories and sacrifices that are rooted in Independence Day. 
Main Street parades ring out with with first responders, veterans, school kids, 
bands, vintage cars and more golf carts than a Florida retirement community. 

Growing up in Canada, most of my impressions of America came by way of Hollywood. 
So my “America” was courtesy of Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood and Esther 
Williams. A not-so-synergized combination of slapstick, spaghetti westerns and 
Busby Berkeley synchronized swimming spectacles. Americans could do it all, 
do it first, and do it in style. 

It was my first summer working in China and the country was experimenting 
with its Open Door Policy. They allowed a very limited number of foreign businesses 
to come in. At the time, there were no privately-owned businesses, no 
entrepreneurs, no Moms and Pops behind the counter, everything was State-
owned and run, in the Communist Soviet bureaucratic style. Beige was the color 
of the day - morning, noon and night. There was no television, magazines, movies 
or entertainment of any kind. The few restaurants operating were run by 
State-work units, imagine hospital grade Chinese stir-fry and you’d be close. 
Even though the menus were multiple pages long, the servers would always reply 
to my orders with, “Mei you” - not available. Food supplies were still rationed 
and other than a handful of vegetables and tough-as-nails meat, people there 
were only one small step ahead of starvation. 

Then, for a few short hours, on the Fourth of July, like a shining beacon in a 
typical dusty Beijing sandstorm, the American government had flown into its 
US Embassy an entire crew, cooking facilities and food from McDonalds to celebrate 
with the American community in Beijing. It was and still is the most 
spectacular example of American ingenuity, diplomacy, resource, care and pride 
I have personally experienced. And thanks to being a favored neighbor from the 
north, I was graciously invited to share in the cornucopia of Big Macs, Quarter 
pounders, Filet O Fish and skinny, salty fries grown from the red, white and blue 
soils of Idaho. It was heaven or the closest thing to it at those sodium levels. 

Giddy from the super-sized Coke I had consumed, this celebration proved to me 
what I thought all along of America - 

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination 
and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. 
-Harry S. TrumanHappy Fourth of July! 

Email me at Read more at: 



Hi there! If you don’t remember me, I’m not surprised. 

I did write for this wonderful newspaper and equally 
wonderful publisher, Susan Henderson, for several 
years under the mysterious nom de plume, Rich Johnson. 
(Since it was so original and no one else currently 
writing for the paper is using that mysterious nom de 
plume, I’ll continue to use it. No one will ever suspect 
it’s really me, Rich Johnson. Shhhhh!) 
In the event you didn’t know, I like to spend every Independence Day celebrating 
a great Native American American: William Penn Adair Rogers. Otherwise 
known as the great American Humorist, Will Rogers. Born to a Cherokee family 
in Indian Territory (now called Oklahoma) on November 4, 1879, he died 
tragically in a plane crash on August 15, 1935. 

In his 56 years on this planet, Will’s commentaries on the facets of American 
life were, and are, as relevant today as when he first penned them nearly 100 
years ago. 

Will Rogers on America

The first and equally loved “Mr. Rogers” (different neighborhood) commented 
on a variety of aspects of American life: (I hope you enjoy and repeat them!) 

The Economy: “Things are in a poor state right now. I know a hitch-hiker out 
here in California that is having such poor luck getting a ride, he is standing in 
the middle of the road, offering to go either way.” (November 21, 1932) 

Immigration: “We make drastic laws and stay with them. Didn’t we pass an immigration 
law to even keep people out of our country? Well, that was all right. 
It was a good law. It’s our country and we got a right to say who shall come in, 
but, of course, it was discrimination.” (March 20, 1927) 

National Debt: “…Let’s sell off enough of this country to somebody and pay off 
all national debts, then the taxes wouldn’t be nearly as much. The Democrats 
will agree to peddle Texas and Florida. And I am certain the Republicans will let 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island go.” (December 16, 1928) 

War and Peace: “I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this – no nation is allowed 
to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.” (August 29, 1928) 

Politics: “Politics ain’t nothing but reciprocity, you know. Congress will vote for 
anything if the thing they vote for will turn around and vote for them.” (October 
12, 1935) 

Politics (Cont’d) “I am not a member of any organized political party---I am a 

Politicians: “I’m just like a politician – the less I know about anything, the more 
I can say.” (January 27, 1935) 

Presidents: “It’s a tough life, this thing of being President and trying to please 
everybody – well, not exactly everybody, but enough to be re-elected.” (September 
22, 1929) 

Vice Presidents: “The man with the best job in the country is the Vice President. 
All he has to do is get up every morning and ask, ‘How is the President?’” 

U.S. Congress: “There is an old legend that years ago there was a man elected to 
Congress who voted according to his own conscience.” (1919) 
U.S. Congress: “Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray. Oh, Lord, 
give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful 
with them oh, Lord, for they know not what they are doing. Amen.” 
U.S. Government: “We got a long-sighted government. When everybody has got 
money, they cut taxes, and when they’re broke, they raise ‘em. That’s statesmanship 
of the highest order.” (March 27, 1932) 
By the way, why is Monday, July 5th a Federal holiday in 2021? 

WHY?…well I’ll tell you:

 We still celebrate July 4th as Independence Day, BUT, in 2021 Monday, July 5th 

is the associated Federal Holiday.

 WHY?...well I’ll tell you:
So that government offices and many businesses will be closed and July 5th will 
be treated as a PAID holiday! 

WHY?...well I won’t tell you! Think about it! 

Thanks for reading. It is my sincere hope you find bits and pieces of my columns 
worth repeating to friends with the express intent of bringing a smile and a bit 
of joy into their worlds. 

Now That’s Rich! 


Blood Drive 
The Episcopal Church of the Ascension 

Location: Parish Hall 
25 E Laurel Ave 
Sierra Madre, CA 91024 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 

12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Please visit and enter sponsor code: ECTA to schedule an 

*Appointments Preferred* 

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