Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 17, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 17, 2022OPINIONOPINION 13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 17, 2022OPINIONOPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary 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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Thomas Jefferson wrote that a well informed electorate 
is a prerequisite to democracy. Well, if he was right I’m afraid 
that what we have is not a democracy. Perhaps you are aware of 
Winston Churchill’s famous statement “Democracy is the worst 
form of government except for all the others.” I don’t think that 
Churchill even composed the statement himself but rather he 
was just “a publicist for an unsourced aphorism” as it is described 
on the web. The point is that whatever democracy is or, is meant 
to be, it is pretty special. It seems that in order for democracy 
to work, which it does probably better than any other system, it 
is imperative that each of us tries to remain as informed as we 
possibly can. 

Here in Sierra Madre the main topic of discussion is the Meadows Project at BaileyCanyon. It is so close to us that it is very difficult to ignore. For you non-Sierra Madreans the 
Meadows project is related to the presence of a Monastery, and its surrounding area presently 
owned by the Passionist Organization in Chicago which wants to sell off the property. I have 
lived in Sierra Madre for 44 years and have always, in the back of my mind, been pleased by 
the existence of the Monastery. Every morning for about twenty five years or so I would jogfrom my house, around our Canyon Circle, up the hill across Carter and then jog around the 
Monastery property and appreciate its wondrous views. 

I am a kind of curious religious illiterate and would frequently stop at the fourteen 
Stations of the Cross each one standing for an event that occurred prior to Jesus’ death. For 
me the Monastery conveyed a sense of order and calm and an understanding that it was okayfor people to believe in histories that I believe never happened as a part of their adjustment 
to the world. I particularly admired the pieta depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the body 
of her deceased son in her arms. To me the representation spoke of grief, and mourning, and 
family and humility. I always wanted to tell Mary that it was okay because her son would be 

 Sadly, more and more today I see people as unwilling to discuss anything with people 
who have different opinions. More than that we have become distrustful of one another 
and even fear letting our kids walk a few blocks home from School. I believe it is important to 
listen closely and still be prepared to civilly disagree. Perhaps today there is so much uncertainty 
about everything that most of us simply fear disagreement and are more comfortable 
thinking “there is something wrong with those people.” 

The present state of things are so bad that in2021 a bill was introduced in the House 
of Representatives entitled the Informed Electorate Act. The language in the Act proclaims 
that informed and enthusiastic civic engagement signifies and sustains a healthy body politic. 
Nevertheless, the language of the bill proclaims that “A growing contingent of ideological 
extremists … are threatening what makes our country promoting a widespread 
ignorance and threatening first amendment freedoms.” Of course the Bill has not and will not 
become law but it recognizes the problem. 

I believe that what is of utmost importance is people’s willingness to listen to and learn 
from one another. I applaud the continuing discussions here in Sierra Madre relating to the 
Meadows Project. The debates have helped me to recognize the importance of the Monastery. 
I have come to understand the importance to me of the character of our funky 10,000 person 
little city with its 11 churches, none of which I attend, to remain the way it is. I know change 
is inevitable but I oppose it anyway. I feel that moneyed interests now dominate all aspects of 
our society and want only to make more money behind our backs. All along we have been lied 
to by our inadequate schools which equate virtue with the corporate needs to make more and 
more money. Every crisis, every war, somehow brings them more money. If democracy is to 
survive, if our specie is to survive, we must try to stay informed and aware. 

So let’s do it. On the November ballot running for Judicial positions ae four female defense 
attorneys. On Sunday I went to a fund raiser and learned that in Los Angeles County no 
Public Defender has ever been elected. Elections are dominated by the Prosecutors and their 
funding organizations who represent a class consciousness of the need to protect indifferent to 
the needs of minorities and the disabled and the homeless. Rather than looking at unfamiliar 
names on the ballot we all have the responsibility to at least first familiarize ourselves with 
who we are voting for. The web site of the Defenders of Justice is https://thedefendersofjustice2022.

As I said above, “it ain’t easy”; but becoming more informed voters is part of what we 
must do to comply with Jefferson’s first prerequisite to democracy. We will learn much more 
about ourselves after the November elections. I wish you good luck or at least good effort!! 


“No problem.” 

That is how I used to reply to people who thanked me for holding the 
door open for them or for offering some other small gesture. 
I don’t know where I got into the habit of saying this to people, but I 

do not say it anymore. 
My mannerly response of choice now is the one my mother taught me 
over and over again as a child: “You’re welcome.” 
You may see no difference between the modern, slangy reply “no problem” and “you’re 
welcome,” but there is one, slight though it may be. 
So why not make the change back to the traditional response? 
After all, any time you are more polite to your fellow human beings you spread the desire 

for them to be more polite to others. 
Politeness is infectious — almost as infectious as rudeness is. 
Consider: If someone cuts you off in traffic, then gives you a very rude gesture with his 

middle finger, are you not filled with instant anger and aggression? 
Are you then more likely to be rude to some other stranger? 
“Incivility is a virus,” says Christine Porath, a Georgetown professor and author of “Master

ing Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.” 

She explains to NBC News that rude reactions tend to create more rude behavior, creatinga big negative spiral and a negative culture. 
Being mannerly is especially important now. We live in a time of increasing rudeness — 

thanks in no small part to the way we treat each other on social media. 
Social media has resulted in more group-think — whereby we are certain that we and our 

friends are 100% correct about any particular issue and those with whom we disagree are 
not only wrong but are stupid and evil. 
Group-think has given us license to lash out at others without restraint. 
Thirty years ago if you said some of the things to a stranger that some people say all the 

time to others on 
Facebook, you’d likely get punched in the face. 

But the days in which there were consequences for such rudeness are long over. 
Psychology Today says there is one key reason why people are so much ruder today: a lack 
of eye contact. 

We behave differently hiding behind a fictitious online name when we do not have to make 
face-to-face contact with whomever we are verbally criticizing or attacking. 
One solution: let’s be more mindful of being mannerly — online and off. 
As a kid, I had it drummed into my head to say “please” and “thank you.” 
Now, when I phone the electric company or a client, I always ask, “How are you today?” 
It throws people off. Most of the time, they reply, “I’m great. How are you?” 

And off we go, with a touch of civility established, to tend to our business. 
I have to work hard at being polite — particularly in traffic — because I do have a temper 
and I do respond with aggression if someone gives me the middle-finger gesture after cutting 
me off. 

A better way to respond, my wise mother keeps telling me, is to smile and wave — gestures 

that suggest “my bad” even though I did nothing wrong. 
Truth be told, I’ve only managed to do this once. But boy, does it instantly confuse and 
disarm rude people. 

Polite behavior always does.

Tom Purcell, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. 



Have you always wanted to write the next 
best seller? Or perform in front of an enthusiastic 
audience? But you just never got 
around to it? Or tried, crashed, burned, 
and gave up. 

Well, my friend, you are definitely not alone. In fact, if you tried and failed 

you are in rather good company! 
Famous Failures: 
Albert Einstein… had the label “mentally slow” put on his permanent 

school record. 
Henry Ford… his first 2 automobile companies failed miserably. 
Thomas Edison… failed his first 10,000 tries to invent a working light bulb. 

To date he holds 1093 patents. 
Oprah Winfrey… was hired in Baltimore as a news co-anchor and then 
fired for being unfit for television. 

J.K. Rowling… her “Harry Potter” books were rejected by all 12 major publishers. 
To date, she’s sold more than 400 million books, lol. 
Michael Jordan… was cut from his high school basketball team. 
Walt Disney… was fired from his newspaper job. They said he lacked imagination 
and good ideas. 

Steven Spielberg… was rejected from film school three times. 

Elvis Presley… fired from the Grand Ole Opry and told to go back to truck 
Colonel Sanders… rejected over 1,000 times before finding a franchise 


Vincent Van Gogh … sold a total of one (1) painting his entire lifetime…
and at a discount. 
Rich Johnson… well, let’s not talk about that work in progress now. 
The difference between the people above and most of the rest of us? They

kept going. 
To achieve success you have to overcome three sizeable obstacles: 

1. An unwillingness to risk the possibility of failing in your pursuit of 
2. Jealous friends (saboteurs) who will tell you it’s a waste of time, your 
idea will never fly. 
3. Or risked failing and permitted a setback or two to shut you down. 
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” 
Winston Churchill 
Pursue your dreams my friends. Are you too old? Balderdash! 
Samuel L. Jackson had his first major acting role at age 43. 
Harland (Colonel) Sanders started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken at 

age 62. 
Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car. 
Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at age 50. 
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was unknown until his appearance on Ed 

Sullivan at age 46. 
Fashion designer Vera Wang designed her first dress at age 40. 
Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee created his first comic at age 39. 
Have a dream or idea? What are you waiting for? Start getting your ducks 

in a row! 
Finally, speaking of dreams, at age 60, I put a rock and roll band called JJ 
Jukebox together. And us, “seasoned veterans” have risked ridicule and rejection 
by actually performing in front of people. So, at the risk of ridicule 
and rejection, I invite you to come see us Saturday night, September 24th 
6:30-9:30 at Nano Café in Sierra Madre. Call (626) 325-3334 for reservations. 

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