Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 29, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

12 Mountain View News Saturday, May 29, 2021 OPINION 12 Mountain View News Saturday, May 29, 2021 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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In the last few weeks I have had a very disturbing revelation. 
I really miss Donald Trump! Now don’t get excited. 
There are very few negative observations that I can think 
of that do not apply to our ex-buffoon in chief. It seems 
pointless to enumerate them now but I have come to realize 
that every day of the prior four years my attention was completely 
absorbed by what I believed was his incompetence, 
his ignorance, his indifference, his immorality, his complete 
indifference to truth, and his willingness to lie every time he 
opened his mouth which was probably filled with cheese burgers and diet Coke. I 
realize that I was completely absorbed by the spectacle of Trump.

Now that Trump is no longer center-stage I observe that I am just not as interested 
in what passes as the news and feel very removed from what is going on in 
the country and the world. I still watch Democracy Now every morning at 7:a.m. 
and learn of the unimaginable but real horrors that are taking place everywhere 
and sadly, then move to the morning news just to check out the weather and the 

 I’m making fun of myself admitting that I basically have the same values as 
do my “enlightened friends’ of my college years. Perhaps that is why I find my own 
reactions so disheartening. Much like everyone else I want to be distracted and 
entertained. During the past week I have feasted on the televised NBA playoffs and 
not bothered watching much news or caring about the world beyond the Lakers 
and Clippers very much. Meanwhile global warming continues, nuclear devastation 
still is a possibility, racial discrimination and inequality in education persist 
and guns are everywhere and that’s not all. 

Actually something else bothers me. Increasingly I hear that friends consider 
the human race a kind of unworthy predatory victor in the survival race and 
actually look forward to humans being chased back into the sea and stop causing all 
the problems related to technology and overall indifference. Certainly, these folk 
want the extinction of our perhaps less than noble specie to take place in some future 
time when they, their children, and grandchildren are no longer around. Concurrent 
with this pessimistic view are statistics that show that the birthrate is going 
down and that marriages continue to fall apart and teenage suicides are a kind of 
epidemic. Is there a way the internal lives of humans can be improved? I ran across 
a quote from a former Sierra Madre resident, Anais Nin, who wrote before the birth 
of Donald Trump, “to lie is to engender insanity”. So maybe that’s the problem. 
We’ve all been lied to for so long by advertising and ubiquitous commercials that 
that proclaim all kinds of things, when in reality they all have the same message: 
GIVE ME MONEY! Was there a time when things were different?

 I did a little research on the web and checked out Pythagoras, who lived 
around about 2500 years ago and developed the field of ethics attempting to resolve 
questions of human mortality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and 
wrong, virtue and vice, and justice and crime. He is also credited with the first use 
of a weapon of mass destruction in the year 510 B.C. in a war involving the pre-
Classic Greeks. Pythagoras’s main attempt was to develop the science of logic, to 
popularize the use of reason and to cause the brain to elaborate more than foolish 
ideas. This attempt resulted in the creation and use of weapons of mass destruction 
which destroyed entire cities.

 So what can I say, other than Go Dodgers and understand that we humans 
are stuck with being who we are and to understand that humanities greatest asset so 

far is our ability not to have destroyed ourselves. Maybe a little lying helped! 



A tap to my leg, I ignore it. “Ouch!”, another, only this time 
with claws. Whap! A hard punch to my calf. “Stop it! You're 
being really annoying!” I snap. All conversations came to a 
halt. “Uh Dinah, do we have a problem?” The little box lit 
up and the man inside looked perturbed. 

“Sorry, I- I was actually talking to my dog. You can’t see 
her, she’s under the table and...”. I let the rest of my response flop around 
like a half dead Dollar Tree goldfish. Another hard learning experience in 
the world of Zoom. 

Zoom. What a wonderful, quirky word. Playful and innocent. Of course, 
that was before the pandemic. Now it’s an obligation, a necessity with the 
people I love but more often with those that I don’t. At first it was hard 
navigating around the app. Flurries of texts from neophytes like me trying 
to Join A Meeting. What’s the password? Why does the ID number have 47 
digits? Is it Video On and Mute Off or the other way round? Dang! Is that 
what I look like on camera? With my scuffed off-white walls and lone 60 
watt ceiling light, I looked more like Nancy Pelosi than Natalie Portman. 
And with beauty salons closed by the lockdown, I quite frankly, resembled 
an unwaxed Ewok. 

But it wasn’t all bad on the Stay At Home front. A beautiful, wondrous, 
almost heavenly consequence turned up - the rise of the elastic waist pants. 
Yes, business on top but slumber party on down. Sweatpants, shorts, the 
possibilities were endless and most importantly, zipper-less. I said adios 
to those post-lunch stuffed jalapeño reflux burps, my belly could expand 
unencumbered in the kingdom of the stretchy pants. 

It was a novelty at first. Remember the inspiring clips of singers and musicians 
Zooming in harmony? Then the invitations started. Locked up at 
home, it was a relief to see someone not in my household unit even if they 
were only virtual. But then everyone jumped on the Zoom wagon, and 
meetings ran morning to night. It was fight or flight. I as always, chose 
flight but started to run out of excuses. Why was I always driving when we 
scheduled a Zoom call? So weird my internet kept dropping right after the 
meeting started. Is it only me or does everyone else have trouble signing in? 

As the months dragged on in the lockdown, my daytime and nighttime 
wear just merged into a single homemade hybrid sweatshirt and blanket 
combo. Even shedding the top half and putting on a dress shirt for Zoom 
was too much. Instead, I went avatar. Now, there are rules and etiquette for 
Zoom, I don’t know them but I did learn that people who use the video 
function like to see live shots of others, not the static blob. And while the 
default avatar looks like a crime scene chalk outline or a fish coming up for 
bait, the relief of not having your face broadcast harkens back to the sweet 
time when phones had rotary dials not cameras. 

Truthfully, a third of people admit to watching themselves more than other 
participants on Zoom. It’s no wonder. 99% of the time, we stare slack jawed 
into our laptops. Everything is caught on tape, even your unmade bed and 
the dusty, MEDIUM stuffed tiger you won at the County Fair, things that 
you normally try to hide about yourself. 
Then there are the pitfalls of mistakenly keeping the video on and the microphone 
off or the various permutations of that. How many times have 
we heard the sound of flushing toilets or spotted underdressed housemates 
walking by? When Zooming incidents show up on the nightly 6 o'clock 
news, it’s never pretty. 

In the end, as much as I fought against it, the process was complete, I had 
become one of the living Zoombies . 

Email me at 
Read more at: 



John Warner, a Republican who served in the U.S. Senate 
for 30 years and died Wednesday at 94 in his home state of 
Virginia, said this about his Democratic colleagues: “We 

had political disagreements and fought on the Senate floor. 
But at day’s end we shared a drink, talked as friends, and we found common 
cause, solving problems and serving the American public.” 

Jeez. Now there’s a sentiment that belongs in a time capsule, along with rotary 
phones and videocassettes. 

He was fortunate to retire in 2009. Imagine how he would’ve felt sharing the 
chamber with insurrectionist goons like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. As a veteran 
of two wars who cared deeply about the credibility of Congress, imagine how he 
would’ve felt being forced to breathe the same air as Matt Gaetz and Marjorie 
Taylor Greene. 

The species of Republican willing to work across the aisle has been dying and retiring 
for many years now – Arlen Specter, Richard Lugar, John Chafee, it’s a very 
long list – but Warner deserves some special attention, not just because he’s one 
of the last to depart, not just because he was a glamour guy who was married to 
Liz Taylor (husband #6), but because he stood up to the right-wing zealots when 
it mattered most. 

It might be enough to simply point out that Warner, in retirement, recognized 
Donald Trump’s twisted treachery from a mile away – and signaled early support 
for Hillary Clinton. But that was a comparatively easy call because in 2016 he was 
no longer had to face the voters. In truth, he indulged his country-over-party 
instincts decades earlier. 

A former Navy Secretary under Richard M. Nixon, he won his Senate seat in 1978 
and dutifully hewed to the GOP line most of the time. But in that era when it was 
still possible for a Republican to put country first, he did so without quaking in 
his boots. 

When it became clear that gun violence was a national epidemic, he infuriated 
the rabid right by voting for gun-safety measures and trying (without success) 
to extend the federal ban on assault weapons. He voted for some restrictions on 
abortion, but accepted that Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. 

Warner had supported George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, but in 2007 he 
called for Bush to start bringing the troops home, and he compelled Pentagon 
officials to testify about the torture of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. He opposed 
gay marriage, but when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs denounced gays 
in the military, Warner said: “I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the chairman’s 
view that homosexuality is immoral.” 

But arguably Warner's most laudable moment came in 1994, when it appeared 
that Oliver North would become his Virginia colleague in the Senate. North, you 
may recall, was the key Iran-Contra scandal operative who’d been criminally convicted 
for lying to Congress; naturally, Virginia right-wingers deified North as a 
hero and rewarded him with a Senate GOP nomination. 

Warner refused to pledge tribal fealty and declared that North was unfit for public 
office. He helped save his Democratic colleague, Chuck Robb, by endorsing an 
independent bid by moderate Republican Marshall Coleman. That November, the 
GOP vote was split and Robb survived. Home-state conservatives hated Warner’s 
blasphemy, and tried to oust him in a 1996 Senate primary, but he didn’t bend and 
he didn’t lose. 

What he said was this: “I sure risked my political future, that’s for sure. But I’d 
rather the voters of this state remember that I stood on my principle…That’s the 
price of leadership.” 

If only the MAGA rabble in today’s Senate could fathom the meaning of his words 
and honor his legacy. Or at least thank him for his service. I just did. 

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia 

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