Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 10, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

12 OPINIONMountain View News Saturday, July 10, 2021 12 OPINIONMountain View News Saturday, July 10, 2021 




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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Growing up in the tenements of South Side 
Chicago there is nothing I enjoyed more than a cold glass 
of concentrated orange juice in the morning. Not only was 
it good but also it was good for you. There was a myth that 
there was this place called California where the oranges 
grew on trees and it was possible just go and pick one. Well 
eventually, my family moved to California and, guess what, 
this particular myth was true. Here oranges still grow on 
trees but often fall to the ground left to rot. Most of us have 
been taught to get our food not from trees but from stores. 

For me orange juice presents a different problem. It turns out that I have 
Diabetes Type 2 and for a diabetic there is nothing worse than a glass of orange juice. 
It has all this concentrated sugar and it is the first thing that the Doctors tell you to 
avoid. I felt betrayed. I had always been told that orange juice was super healthy and 
believed that orange juice was a benefit not only to me but to the whole world. It’ kind 
of the same way I feel when I read the tributes to America that appeared in newspapers 
over the Fourth of July weekend. In the article written by the editor of the paper she 
bemoans the fact that “our precious nation has been turned over into the hands of too 
many self-serving, hateful and spineless individuals whose interest is not in the wellbeing 
of the nation as a whole, but rather their interest is in their own personal power 
and wealth”. Alas, as a semi-educated person I have read Orwell’s 1984 which explains 
the way language has been used to hide the truth and to induce people to act in a way 
that is contrary to their own best interest. Perhaps you have read Howard Zinn’s A 
Peoples History of the United States or the more recent version for younger readers, A 
Young People’s History of the United States. These books make it frighteningly clear 
that people haven’t changed much over the centuries. Sadly many of our Founding 
Fathers were mainly interested in their own personal power and wealth and used their 
persuasive talents to convince the rest of the population to follow their lead. This week 
on the program Democracy Now Professor Carol Anderson explained that the true 
motivation for the second Amendment was to appease the White Population’s desire to 
use weapons to protect themselves from the predicted rebellions of the enslaved Black 

For me an example of the same kind of willingness to believe calculated 
untruths occurred when I was given the opportunity to lecture on Ethics to UCLA 
extension classes. The first question customarily asked was how do you handle it when 
your client is guilty? I would explain that to a criminal defense attorney his clients are 
never judged to be guilty. The judgment of guilt is not to be made by lawyers; it is the 
responsibility of the Judge and Jury to determine guilt and it is the responsibility of the 
attorney to zealously represent the interests of his client notwithstanding any pretrial 
presumptions of guilt or innocence. In fact a basic premise of the American system is 
that all Defendants are presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise. My responses 
generally satisfied the students but occasionally someone would ask “Wouldn’t it be nice 
if all your clients were not guilty just like they are on television?” Yes that is the dilemma. 
It would be nice if orange juice was good and available for everybody all the time; and it 
would be nice if all Defendants were wrongly charged. Most important, today, it would 
be wonderful if all elected officials, if everyone was interested in the wellbeing of the 
nation as a whole, and the world as a whole, rather than being interested in their own, 
power, wealth, and comfort. 

Yes it would be nice but that is not the way humans behave. So what are we 
going to do? I still occasionally drink orange juice when my wife isn’t looking and I 
do my best to do the right thing. But it’s hard not to buy less expensive things made 
in China which uses slave labor or not to eat in restaurants being served by deplorably 
underpaid service workers. You get my point. Do the best you can but I do not believe 
it is advisable to remain ignorant just because the truth is often so painful. 



The Great Outdoors 

I’m not friends with insomnia but it visits me so often we’re 
on a first name basis. I’ve tried sleep-aids, hot drinks, colddrinks, eye masks, white noise, no noise, and mattresses 

with 15 luxurious layers and cooling, body contouring pressure 
relief foam. I heard that Nikola Tesla only slept 2 hours a night, but so farI’m not getting those genius vibes, in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s going the otherway. Lately, I’ve been advised to take an evening stroll, and commune withnature for a deeper sleep. Little did I know how right that was. 

If only nature didn’t include bugs. And the temperature outdoors always hovered 
around a dry, sunny 75°F in the day and a cool, snuggly sleeping bag 65°Fat night. If only the wildlife was cute, friendly and would never contemplatejacking your food supplies or taking a bite out of your leg. If only water bothpotable and easily accessed, was but a few steps away from your campsite andfolding camp cots were as comfortable as a Tempur-Pedic bed. This is the fairytale 
promoted by the marketing departments of the Worldwide Camping 

Our nerdy band of college urbanites piled into the second-hand 80’s AMCPacer, shaped like a down-market Kim Kardashsian with a curvaceous goldfishbowl booty and bulbous windshields. We packed the hatchback with everything 
we needed for an overnight stay. Twinkies, hot dogs, gum, a six pack,
blow-up dinghy, tents and sleeping bags - somehow we thought those itemswould suffice. This was my first outdoor camping trip, not to be confused withthe many times I’d “go camping” under the dining room table as a kid, with afew comics books, snacks and my sister’s blanket to lie on. Yes, my parents hadtaken me on fishing trips for razor-toothed pike before but we always stayed inlakeside cottages with rudimentary but working indoor plumbing. That I hadthe most “outdoor experience” amongst our group was a red flag we all ignored 
until it was too late. 

Our choice of campsite was easy, it was the closest patch to the lake we coulddrive to, no jungle trekking for us in our short shorts and dime store flip flops.
It was a fairly flat site and we began to set up camp. The tents we borrowed,
smelled like the musty insides of a basement sink cabinet and came withoutinstructions. 

A couple hours of false starts later, we high-fived ourselves for a job done adequately 
enough. The tents weren’t straight or would even pass as stable but 
I had secretly planned to sleep in the Pacer anyways. Nightfall arrived and Ilearned not only do good friends think alike but I was the slowest one to the caras it was already full. 

I unrolled my sleeping bag on the ground, the tent ceiling bowing inches above 
my head. Suddenly something popped up under my thigh. I smacked the 
ground and under the sleeping bag something popped up again by my arm.
Frantic, I squeezed into a ball, sweeping the ground with my flashlight everyfew seconds. Then I saw IT. A cheeky chipmunk with a fat, bushy tail. It’s eyesglowered at me, it skittered from one end of the tent to the other. Later, I realized 
my sleeping bag was on its nest but that sleepless night it was a non-stop,
real-life game of Whack-a-mole and I did not come up on the winning end. 

In the morning we finished off the cold hot dogs and Twinkies. Taking turnsso we wouldn’t pass out, we blew up the dinghy and paddled to a massive rockoutcropping a few hundred yards from shore. It was a dry, sunny 75°F day and 
in that blinding sunlight, on a hardened granite slab carved from the sea eonsago, I slept as sound as I ever have and probably ever will. So, how to break upthose late-night visits with insomnia? Get a chipmunk. 

Email me at 

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I have a great cost cutting idea. Let’s ban Congress 
from passing any new laws for a year. Send the 
Congresspersons home. They’re much too expensive 
anyway. Whenever they pass a bill into law, it 
costs us big bucks. 
Permit only States to pass laws. State laws don’t cost as much, and they 
pass laws with flair and fun and style. 

For example, Alaska passed a law that though it is legal to shoot a bear, 
it’s illegal to wake one up to take its picture. In Juneau, the state capital, 
don’t let your pet flamingo roam in your favorite barber shop. You’ll do 
hard time.

 In Arkansas donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs. It’s the law.

 Arizona will hunt YOU down if you hunt camels inside their borders. Cut 
down a cactus without permission and you could spend 25 years in the 
slammer. And whatever you do, don’t ride your horse up the county court 
house steps on your next visit to Prescott.

 California, has put real thought into it’s statutes. In Baldwin Park, it is for

bidden to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool. In Blythe if you want to wear 

cowboy boots, you have to own at least two cows. Again, that’s the law. 

In Chico, don’t detonate a nuclear device within the city limits or you’re 

gonna pay a $500 fine. And while you are visiting Chico, don’t plan on 

bowling on the sidewalk. It’s just plain wrong. 

It is outright illegal to wash your neighbor’s car in California without their 

Animal regulations are also big in California: Don’t annoy lizards in Fres

no’s City parks. It’s illegal. If you live in San Francisco it is illegal to have a 

pet bear, gorilla or crocodile.

 Palm Springs: It’s illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive in 
Palm Springs during rush hour. In Redlands them new fangled motor vehicles 
may not drive on a city street at night without a man walking ahead 
of the vehicle with a lantern. It’s the law.

 And if you want to drive sheep down Hollywood Blvd, you are limited to 

2000 of them…at one time that is. Be sure they obey the traffic laws. No 

rushing through yellow lights! 

And yes, my rock and roll band, JJ Jukebox, is still making noise. We are 
playing 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s fun rock this Saturday night (July 17) from 
6:30-9:30. We guarantee many mis-takes and Hershey’s kisses. Plus a little 
good music…intermittently. We are closing in on another sell out. Best 
to call Nano’s (626) 325-3334 after 3:00pm Wednesdays through Saturdays. 
If we are sold out come sit in the Bar. Or reserve early for August 
21, Septem-ber date is pending, or October 30 (costume party and a celebration 
of my birthday, which is Halloween). Answers a lot of questions 
about me, huh?

 How’s that for a gratuitous plug. Have a good week. 



Sometimes, the system works. 

Last week, a client of mine, an abused woman from 
El Salvador, was granted asylum. You might not think 
that’s important or impressive. It won’t change the 
world, and it won’t make the “Breaking News” segment 

on CNN. 

But for my client, it’s monumental. She doesn’t have to go back home to a country 
where she was sexually and physically abused. Her U.S. citizen children won’t 
lose their mother. Her sisters might find the courage within them to seek protection. 
And my colleagues in the bar have some concrete proof that sometimes, in 
some rare cases, immigrants are on the winning side of the ledger. 

Our immigration system, as our criminal justice and civil systems, are designed 
to do the least damage and the greatest good. I do not believe in the stain of 
systemic racism, sexism, or bigotry. That places me outside of the loop on the 
social justice marathon, and I won’t even try and curry favor with those who live 
by those hashtags like #Metoo and #BLM, which have more to do with being 
popular than being compassionate. We all do what we think will make a difference, 
and we all do it with our own biases and experiences weighing down on 
our shoulders. 

But my experience in immigration, person by person, real life by real life, has 
taught me that this is a country of limitless promise. 

My father realized that a generation before I did. He was a child who grew up in 
foster homes, brother of a biracial sister who was bullied in the streets of West 
Philadelphia. Here was a teenager who changed the date on his birth certificate 
so he could enlist in the Army. Here was a young husband and father who 
worked three jobs during the day so he could attend Temple Law school at night, 
had to take the subway when his car windshield was repeatedly broken with 
bricks at Broad and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) graduated near the top of 
his class and edited the Law Review. 

And because he was Irish Catholic, and had no political connections and hadn’t 
gone to an Ivy school, he was turned away by the big WASP white shoe firms. 
But he did find a job, and before he died at the age of 43, was regarded as one 
of the most respected, most feared and most beloved litigators in the history of 
the Philadelphia Bar. Forty years after his death I still get “Christine? Are you 
related to Ted Flowers?” 

But daddy never forgot where he came from, and never forgot the slurs against 
his half-Asian sister in the wake of World War II, and never forgot the stain of 
being stuck in foster care. He understood the term “underdog,” because he’d 
always lived as if everything could be taken away from him tomorrow. He might 
have suspected that his life would be a short one, blazing but brief. 

And because of that, my father went down south in 1967 and used that prodigious, 
legally trained brain to help Black men and women register to vote, and 
represented Black defendants in the courts of Jackson and Hattiesburg, Miss. 
He expressed his love of country and his belief in its promise with actions, not 
slogans. He was what the Jews would have called a “righteous gentile.” 

And so, when I see the gratitude in the eyes of my clients, I know that they get it. 
When I read the stories of my father’s adventures, I know that he got it. When I 
hear about people who recognize the flaws in this country, and still stay because 
they know there is no better place, I know they get it. When I read the founding 
documents, I get it. 

And I know that people like Gwen Berry, who has been granted all the privileges 
of citizenship and still turns her back on the flag and the anthem, I know that 
she gets it too. She knows that in no other country in the world would she be 
able to show disrespect and hostility for the country that gave her the opportunities 
she is blessed to have. 

She may not care, she and Colin Kaepernick and Jemele Hill and the allies who 
walk with them. 

But my consolation comes from knowing they get it, even though they have a 
problem admitting it to themselves, and to us. 

America’s arms are open to the grateful, as well as to those in doubt. God bless 
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, 
and can be reached at 

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