Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 24, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 24, 2024 







Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola


Stuart Tolchin 

Harvey Hyde

Audrey Swanson

Meghan Malooley

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Dinah Chong Watkins

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





 To my own surprise I am still around. It was touch 
and go for a while; perhaps only in my own head; but 
finally, the doctors ordered some tests and now most 
of the results are back and it turns out I am pretty 
much okay. Given this happy result what do I want 
to do now? 

This coming Saturday I have been asked to participate in a discussion 
about African farmers and their stories centering around the book WE 
ARE EACH OTHER’S HARVEST authored by Natalie Baszile.

 I have been volunteering at the nearby Los Angeles County Arboretum 
in Arcadia and happily found myself assigned to work with the woman 
who runs the library. Recently, I brought my four-year-old granddaughter 
to meet this woman, with a kind of unique background. (I explained to 
my granddaughter that this was the “boss” of the library but the four-
year-old explained that she was really the “boss” of the library which 
seems consistent with my heritage). Up until meeting the Librarian I had 
believed that, like my father and his family, all the Jews of Russia had 
been required to live within the “Pale of Settlement” which was a western 
region of the Russian Empire that existed from 1791 to 1917---by the way 
“Pale” derives from the Latin and means something like a fence.

I know that my father and his family started out in Ukraine and that the 
city of Tulchyn, from which my name derives was a small town near the 
Ukrainian capital of Kiev. In conjunction with this article I have done a 
little research and learned that persecution of the Jewish Community in 
Tulchyn is first mentioned in 1648 when the Cossacks massacred the Jews 
of the town. Subsequent attacks occurred and by 1765 there were only 
452 Jews remaining in Tulchyn; however, by the end of the 19th century 
the number of Jews increased to 10,055 forming 62% of the population. 
Sadly, at the end of World War I the Jews were repeatedly massacred and 
attacked and about this time, what was left of my family got out of there 
and eventually ended up in Chicago where the next generation, including 
me, was born twenty years later.

I doubt that much of this information is of any particular interest to 
you although Ukraine and its Jewish President, Volodymyr Zelensky; a 
former comedian, no less, is currently in the news as the “conflict” with 
Russia continues with half a million deaths reported. I mention the fact 
that Zelensky is a former comedian, not because it is funny; but rather 
because it is somehow fitting.

The pending discussion at the Arboretum relating to the legacy of 
Black Farmers and the Russian speaking librarian has resulted in my 
consideration of my own character and heritage. Especially now that it 
seems like I am going to be around for a while; who am I and what do 
I want to do? Well, I know what I want to do—I want to ask questions. 
At the discussion on Saturday, I want to ask people what is important to 
them in relation to their connection with the land and their own heritage. 
All my life I have wanted to ask people about themselves and increasingly 
frequently these questions are inappropriate. I have been reading, once 
more in association with this article, the book entitled THE CODDLING 
OF THE AMERICAN MIND and have been introduced to the concept 
of “safetyism” discussed in relation to the declining mental health of the 
overall population. Today we are warned that it is more important for 
people to feel “comfortable” than “challenged.” 

Freedom of Inquiry history relating to Blacks, Jews, and everyone else 
requires a lot of things besides comfort which may in fact be a hindrance. 
I want, need, to be free to ask questions of myself and those around me 
to maintain a sense of belonging and of actual “safety.” Our minds are 
our best weapon against autocracy and tyranny, and it is of the greatest 
importance that we all be free to use these faculties. 

Well, Fellow Americans, we are steeped in the stages of yet another U.S. 
Election Cycle. Business as usual as we are bombarded at every turn. Let’s 
peruse presidential campaign slogans over the last few centuries and see 
if they offer any guidance. The first election I could find with a “clever” campaign slogan 
was in 1840. Shall we…peruse and pursue?

“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” (1840) This snappy attempt at alliteration, was a song 
originally published as “Tip and Ty”. The tune highlighted presidential candidate William 
Henry Harrison’s victory in a battle against Shawnee leader Tecumseh somewhere in 
India, oops my bad, near Tippecanoe, Indiana. John Tyler was Harrison’s running mate. 
Candidate Harrison won and then died one month after taking office. John Tyler became 
president for essentially 3.8 years.

“Hurray, Hurray! The Country’s Risin’ for Henry Clay…and Frelinghuysen!” (1844) I 
think I can guess why we had no President Henry Clay. Don’t get me wrong. Henry Clay 
succeeded at almost every political endeavor he undertook. His opponent James K. Polk 
was the first candidate ever referred to as a “dark horse” nominee. Polk was considered a 
“fourth rate” politician. And, oh yeah, became our 11th President. I think Clay lost because 
his running mate’s name wouldn’t fit on a bumper sticker: “Theodore Frelinghuysen” 
Really Henry?

“Vote yourself a farm and horses!” (1860) That slogan won Abraham Lincoln a 4-year 
rental at the White House. Okay you historians, Abe had another slogan: “The Union must 
and shall be preserved!” Lincoln’s running mate? No, not my namesake Andrew Johnson. 
Abe hired a guy named Hannibal Hamlin. What about my namesake? Read on.

“Don’t change horses midstream!” (1864) One of the most memorable presidential slogans 
won Abraham Lincoln a second 4-year rental at the White House. Speaking of changing 
horses in midstream, it obviously didn’t apply to Vice Presidents. Andrew Johnson 
replaced Hanibal Hamlin as VP candidate and ultimately Lincoln’s VP. Johnson came on 
board in the re-election due to his positive ties to the south.

“Vote as You Shoot!” (1868) No surprise the candidate who owns this slogan was not only 
a Republican, but also a general. General Ulysses S. Grant. By the way, Grant supported 
the 14th Amendment being supported by the “Radical Republicans” in Congress. The 
amendment, designed to enforce civil rights fell woefully short. But it opened the door to 
20th Century breakthroughs such as the “Civil Rights Act of 1964” and the “Voting Rights 
Act of 1966”.

“Our Choice: Cleve and Steve” (1892) Grover “Cleve” Cleveland and Adlai (Steve) 
Stevenson…snappy huh? Could have been “Steve and Steve!” as Grover Cleveland’s first 
name was Stephen. Oh, and by the way, this was not the Adlai Stevenson who ran for 
President in the 1950’s against Dwight Eisenhower…it was his dad.

“Four More Years of the Full Dinner Pail” (1900) Gotta love this one. Kept William 
McKinley in the White House. Sadly, President McKinley was assassinated in 1901 and 
an interesting chap took over the Presidential reins and reigns. The chap’s name…Teddy 

“Who But Hoover?” (1928) Unfortunately Herbet Hoover became president in 1929 when 
widespread economic instability was demonstrated by the Stock Market Crash in the fall 
of 1929. On a positive note, Herbert Hoover lived for 31 years after his presidency. That’s 
longer than any other president has survived post presidency.

“Washington Wouldn’t, Grant Couldn’t, Roosevelt Shouldn’t” (1940) Wouldn’t, couldn’t 
and shouldn’t what? Well, run for re-election. Roosevelt decided he could, should and 
would run and won 4 elections. His campaign ran another slogan in 1940. It went like 
this: “Better a Third Termer Than a Third Rater!” Roosevelt even ran and won a fourth 
term in 1944. His slogan: “Don’t Swap Horses in Midstream!” Why not? It worked for that 

“The Buck Stops Here” (1948) That slogan is, of course, on a 2.5” x 13” piece of wood on 
a desk used by President Harry Truman during his time as the most powerful man in the 
world. By the way, there are words on both sides of that sign. The visitor sees the words 
above. I’m guessing, but the words on the other side of the sign might just be a reminder to 
President Truman to remember his humble origins. The sign says “I’m From Missouri!”.

 (1964) The slogans by the two candidates in the 1964 election were markedly different. 
Democrat Lyndon Johnson, who inherited the Presidency due to the tragic death of John F. 
Kennedy was running for re-election. His opponent was Republican Barry Goldwater. The 
slogans are striking to me in the difference of tone between the two candidates. Differences 
that live to this day. Barry Goldwater’s slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right.” 
President Johnson’s slogan was “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

(1960) I’ll sign off with the two slogans that won the White House for President Kennedy. 
“A Time For Greatness.” and “We Can Do Better.”

I am unsure as to whether my endorsement would work toward the success of a candidate 
running for office. I certainly hope so as I’m thrilled to support the candidacy of John 
Harabedian. I personally know what a terrific person John is, and that he would prove to 
be a powerful advocate for those of us who live in District 41.

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When I read 
about the 
“silent book 
club” trend, 
it filled me 
with instant 
calm and hope.

As it goes, in 2012, two friends in 
San Francisco came up with the 
idea for a non-formal social event 
in which book lovers can gather at 
a coffee house or pub, then read 
together in silence for an hour or 
so, after which they may discuss 
any thoughts about what they are 
reading and socialize.

There is something very special 
about being immersed in a great 
work of fiction or nonfiction 
that brings about a peacefulness 
and enrichment that few other 
activities can bring.

A deep dive into someone’s 
life story, economics, history, 
the cosmos or so many other 
curiosities in our incredibly rich 
world not only makes us calmer, 
but it improves our ability to think 
and concentrate and become wiser 
and more open to the thoughts of 

Goodness knows we need more 
free-thinking in these highly-
agitated and partisan times.

Book reading has been in decline 
for a long time because it must 
compete with other forms of 

I remember seeing author Kurt 
Vonnegut, whose colorful writings 
are still enjoyable, talking about 
this challenge to book reading 
with other now-deceased authors 
on a talk-show clip on YouTube 
that must be 40 years old.

He said that until radio came 
along, books were the only form 
of entertainment for most people, 
particularly in the winters when 
there was nothing else to do in the 
evening but read.

Radio and TV offered alternatives 
to reading. And now social media, 
streaming TV, podcasts and so 
much more have really put a dent 
into our book reading.

According to a 2022 Gallup 
survey, the average American 
reads about 12 books a year, two 
or three books fewer than 20 years 

However, the steepest decline, 
according to Gallup, is among 
people who had been the most avid 
readers — college graduates but 
also women and older Americans.

“College graduates,” Gallup 
found, “read an average of about 
six fewer books in 2021 than they 
did between 2002 and 2016, 14.6 
versus 21.1.”

To me this is concerning because 
book reading improves your 
ability to concentrate and focus 
— skills that especially need to be 
nurtured at a time when attention 
spans are also in steep decline, 
as millions jump from one short 
TikTok or Instagram video to 

Why is this concerning?

Because concentration and 
intelligence go hand-in-hand.

The ability to evaluate ideas and 
delineate between ideas that are 
silly and false and ideas that are 
effective and true is important in 
any democracy.

If we lose the ability to see 
through bunk, we are at risk of 
electing officials who put their 
personal gain before the good of 
the republic.

Concentration and clear thinking 
are also important to engaging 
in thoughtful conversation with 
others who hold different ideas 
than our own — and books can 
nurture our ability to get back to 
more thoughtful discussions.

Gathering together to read, talk 
and socialize is as good an idea 
as I’ve heard in a long time. I am 
hungry for such camaraderie.

Besides, I’ve got a stack of classic 
books I’ve been meaning to get 
to that include Mark Twain, 
O’Henry, James Michener and 
Mary Shelley.

Did you know Shelley wrote her 
famous Frankenstein work when 
she was only 18?

Now there’s an anecdote to share 
at a silent book club gathering.

Views News

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