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By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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America‘s crises are escalating. What can we do?

Uploaded: Feb 20, 2023

Passivity prevails. During the past several years, two new crises – increased violence and an acceptance of political (and personal) lying in our country are redefining our society. But our divisiveness, our indifference, our tacit acceptance of the way things have changed, require, in my opinion, a new analysis of who we really are and what our values are today.

When I talk about violence, I am not focusing today on gun problems, but another component of violence – political verbal abuses, name-calling, deception, attitudes toward “others,” widening political divisions – the whole ball of wax.

When I talk about lying, I don’t just mean the 30,599 (or so) lies that Trump told during his four years in office, but using his lying to distort and cruelly criticize people, personalities and politicians in daily life. The issue for us: His lies never seem to bother his followers. Why not?

In a previous column on Jan.19, I talked about the escalation of lying in our country, mostly by politicians. And I think that similar deceptions are creeping into our conversations with friends and associates -- exaggerating accomplishments, focusing on “me” rather than “you,” believing their ideas overrule facts, etc.

The ultimate question of this column today is what can we do about it? Certainly not just sit back and contemplate, not just shrug our collective shoulders with “Gee, I don’t really don’t know” or worse, “I really don’t care.” If we don’t’ do anything, then, I suggest, that is who we are today. And that is no solution, but simply a pathway to passivity leading to a breakdown in our society.

A few political examples of lying – and dishonesty:

a) Marjorie Taylor Green proclaimed a couple of weeks ago there was no evidence of a plane flying into the Pentagon on 9/11 – that must be a falsehood we were told by our government—and the Republicans, she cried out, can’t let that happen anymore. Agree, we should be upset when our government tells us lies, but a plane flying into the Pentagon that day? That was true.
b) George Santos with his lifelong array of lies – that’s probably psychotic behavior, but his lies continue to let him forge ahead politically.
c) Kevin McCarthy won a House seat, and was a politician so desperate to be Speaker that he granted all sorts of favors to Republicans and Renegades so that he could be in control. GOP House members have done little to stop him. All the while, Senate Republicans have been silent. Deception is at play while acceptance of these shenanigans is a new modus operandi for the House, or so it seems.
d) And even Joe Biden, the gentle man we trust, delayed telling the public before and after Election Day that he had found some classified material in his possession. He immediately turned it in, but then stayed silent about it, uncomfortably so, and then spent several weeks avoiding questions on why he didn’t tell us. His singular response is that he was “following his lawyers’ advice.” Change lawyers, Joe, is my suggestion.
e) Politicians lie because they want to get elected, we are told, and we the people don’t want to elect a person who tells us bad news. Is that true?


a) We know there are more guns than people in this country. We know some states are now allowing carrying guns in public. We know children are being shot in schools, usually by young men. We know, and then we seem to forget.
b) Police are getting meaner, and more brutal in areas, but police are seldomly, so far, sent to jail for their offenses. (Memphis is an exception.)
c) Violent language has increased – on the social web sites and elsewhere. On blogs. “F****ing” has become a commonplace word – even in The New Yorker. It has become fine to verbally lash out at people. I’ve had bloggers write me with an opening of “Dear Bitch,” or “You are a disgrace to womanhood,” or “You should be kicked out of the country for your views.” Gentle comments?
d) When Biden was giving this year’s State-of-the-Union speech, some Congressional members booed when he said some Republicans wanted to do away with Social Security. Marjorie Taylor Greene, wrapped on her white fur jacket, kept om shouting out “liar.” A few other GOPers had called for getting rid of Social Security but their shouts of “liar” were aimed at Biden.

What to do?

If we want to do something in America about this, we have to admit there is a problem, then identify it so others can understand it, and then try to coalesce to determine what is possible to do next – and next – and next. It’s not simple, and we can’t do it alone. We have to get others involved. The MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) movement against driving while drunk was successful – nevertheless, it took years of hard work to declare it as a punishable crime.

Consider how effective that group of 20 conservative Republicans in the House have been in getting their way. They took control – and want more control – and they are becoming more powerful.

Why can’t Democrats do the same thing? Are they too interested in being “nice”? Or are they wimps – or too passive, or nonchalant -- or disinterested? You tell me.

And also tell me, please, how you think our country should cope with this crisis.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Prescott Layne, a resident of Stanford,
on Feb 20, 2023 at 6:52 pm

Prescott Layne is a registered user.

Perceived inequalities (social & economic) + an ongoing contempt for elected officials is fueling the fire on both sides of the fence.

Many people feel cheated and/or misled by those who were duly elected (regardless of party) to keep the nation on course.

Whether the topic entails the American economy, global relations, racial equality, public health measures, school curriculum, homelessness, climate change et al, the country is deeply divided & the fissure is far too deep & wide to resolve at present.

Fortunately the Baby Boomer generation will not have to deal with many of these socio-economic-environmental problems as time passes on.

Posted by J Randall, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 20, 2023 at 10:10 pm

J Randall is a registered user.

The country needs a spiritual reorientation. Part of that would entail spending less time on our phones and being more intentional with our use of technology. Go a week without polarized national news and there won't be “crises." By most statistics, there's never been a better time to be alive.

Posted by Jason Bonafacio, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 7:24 am

Jason Bonafacio is a registered user.

"By most statistics, there's never been a better time to be alive."

^ By whose statistics? Every decade has had its dark side and moments.

The current rash of mass shootings and police-related brutalities adds questions to your assessment.

Posted by Kenneth Barrone, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 8:08 am

Kenneth Barrone is a registered user.

> Go a week without polarized national news and there won't be “crises."

This suggestion is akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

Perhaps the key is being able to differentiate editorial embellishments from reality using common sense.

News reportage has become show business and only the truly ignorant buy into its line of overreaction and contrived outrage.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 8:23 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I tend to agree with the comment to turn off the news.

What we have now is not news, but entertainment and opinion. It is much too easy to get information 24 hours a day and much too easy to make a knee jerk comment without giving it too much thought. The news media are racing to get the breaking news out ahead of their competitors an that causes mistakes and poor editing.

What we really should be doing is giving ourselves a 30 minute news slot getting news from various sources without in depth coverage and opinion. After that, unless there is specific action we should be taking on a particular issue, turn off and get on with our own lives not allowing the news to affect our mood, our attitudes to those in our own circles, and the way we live our lives. There used to be a saying to not talk about 3 subjects with those we eat around the dinner table, politics, money and religion. Perhaps that advice is more important now than ever.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 9:22 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

I also agree with turn off the news. I stopped watching the news in the late 90s. I get all my news online, about 10-15 minutes a day. I can choose what I read, and if I don't like what I'm reading, I log off.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 3:00 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

For one thing, we can stop normalizing rabid screaming during SOTU address as "political discourse". Its not. What is happening right now is not normal, and the fact that one party just lets their members act like slightly drunk fans of a local baseball team should not be acceptable. The fact that newly elected Speaker of the House did not discipline the members of his party is unfathomable. I watched that speech in complete disbelief.

Diana, you area asking why do democrats not try to take the same tactic? Honestly, I think if they did act the same way republicans do, in about 2 weeks we would have a feces throwing contest in Congress. What democrats are trying to do is uphold the pride and honor of elected office. I know this sounds naive and a little bit silly, given what we have witnessed from the other side. However, at least they are providing some example to our children of what elected officials should act like.

It's not the news that are dividing us, nor is it media that is biased. It's the fact that somehow, in year 2023, it is acceptable to act the way MTG acted during the most important speech of the year, given in Congress. It's the fact that somehow it is acceptable to yell at a survivor of a school shooting - ON CAMERA!! - and then not just be elected to Congress, but be placed on some very important committees. I am quiet serious, if my middle schooler - full of hormones and very big feelings at this age - acted anywhere near the way I see congresspeople act - I would be horrified and would spend the next half a year working with him on his behavior. We cannot, absolutely cannot normalize that type of behavior.

Avoiding to read the news is like sticking one's head into sand.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 8:42 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Are you really comparing Ms Pelosi silently ripping up a document AFTER the speech - which she stood for respectfully- with rabid screaming and acting trashy during the last SOTU ? That's what I am talking about. It's not partisan. One can make a statement- politically - and not act like a trashy teenager. If you don't see the difference I'm afraid you are part of the problem.

Posted by BRiKlayer, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 21, 2023 at 10:12 pm

BRiKlayer is a registered user.

The prior comment was pretty clear.

The examples of behavior at the SOTU were just that--examples. They showed that both the Republican (MTG and McCarthy) and Democratic (Pelosi) actions were horrible. They both broke precedent and acted well beneath the dignity and decorum of their offices, contributing to the current animus. Each are guilty of acting like "trashy teenagers." If you want to split hairs or absolve one or the other, feel free.

To reiterate my bigger point -- in spite of the predominant view in the Bay Area, they ALL do the same thing. They--both Ds and Rs--are coarse and hyperbolic and theatrical and inappropriate. It's cherry-picking to believe otherwise.

Posted by Sandy Pinnel, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 9:29 am

Sandy Pinnel is a registered user.

Ms Diamond - I concur that there is more than one crisis extant in the United States. I suggest that you consider that the things that are affecting our society profoundly are the continuing rise of the cost of everything, and the ramifications caused by the plethora of immigrants flagrantly violating our entry laws to enter our country; thus demonstrating open disrespect for our country, our laws, and every American citizen.
It cannot be denied that our wide-open southern border is a recipe for disaster. As well, when President Biden was asked what he intended to change in the next two years, his reply was, "Nothing" - and our fellow Americans lost hope. Americans living in the northeast are freezing because they can't afford to heat their homes. I conjecture that the way President Trump expresses himself probably doesn't bother his followers because his policies made their lives better - they could afford to heat their homes and put food on the table every day. I pray that answers the question you posed about him.
I cannot be complacent - my moral compass is guided by truth, not ideology. I was blessed with remarkable perspicuity and do not associate with people who are into deception - anyone who tolerates the nefarious things you spoke of is not being true to themselves. Thomas Paine said that "nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice," and I mean you no disrespect when I say that Joe Biden is NOT "the gentle man I trust" ... we can agree to disagree and be okay with each other. Just because you like him doesn't mean someone else has to - and just because I don't does not mean someone else can't like him.

Please view the Documentary titled "Riding The Dragon" by Peter Schweizer. He is a five-time New York Times bestselling Author, government watchdog and President of the Government Accountability Institute.

Posted by cmarg, a resident of University South,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 11:45 am

cmarg is a registered user.

I have been out of the country for 3 weeks and it was quite nice to be without so much news. I chose to read headlines on occasion but overall, I gave myself a break from news.

I also came to realize that each one of us can do our part. I know it is easier for me, and perhaps others, to point outward, however instead I am wanting to figure out what I can do differently. One thing that came to mind is so simple. When you walk by someone, smile and say hello. So basic, yet such a gift. Let's start seeing one another and this may lead to more caring and sharing with one another independent of our political stances, our economic status, etc. In the end we are all human beings and we are blessed to be Americans. Let's start small and hopefully this will grow.

I pray you take this minor step and seeing one another. It may just make you smile more.
Cecilia Willer

Posted by Marc Jeffries, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 12:24 pm

Marc Jeffries is a registered user.

Countless Americans are fed up with both parties and the socio-economic changes we are being forced to endure.

Some suggestions...

(1) Immigration from abroad should be suspended. We do not need any more foreigners, H-1B workers, their problems, or their customs.

(2) American history should continue to cover all of the incidents that have taken place in our country but advocating and endorsing LGBTQ lifestyles, BLM and CRT should not be forced upon K-12 students in public schools. Save these controversial topics for college.

(3) Diplomatic relations should be cut-off with both the PRC and Russia because these countries are not allies or friends of the United States and they never will be.

(4) Internal domestic problems like homelessness and mental health can be dealt with effectively by instituting public guardianships that keep these individuals off the streets.

(5) Re-instate the 3 strikes law and keep repeat offenders behind bars for an extended period of time. Initiate the death penalty for heinous crimes including murder and rape.

(6) Encourage more men to get vasectomies in order to diffuse the pro-choice/pro-choice debate and deport all foreigners who refuse to acknowledge any birth control measures.

Then we begin to move forward regardless of the news.

Posted by Marc Jeffries, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Marc Jeffries is a registered user.

Correction: Encourage more men to get vasectomies in order to diffuse the pro-choice/pro-choice debate [sic]

> pro-life debate

Posted by Leticia Guitron, a resident of Castro City,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Leticia Guitron is a registered user.

Overpopulation is the key reason for the majority of our social and economic problems including pollution, global warming and forced cultural acceptances.

These pressing issues were not national concerns until the country became lax on immigration during in the 1970s.

In the 1960s, the American population was approximately 200 million people despite population increases attributable to the Baby Boomer generation.

Today the U.S. population is 365 million and growing.

We do not need anymore people in the United States.

Posted by Tom Waters, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Tom Waters is a registered user.

When it comes to perceived overpopulation in America, as long as there are just enough Millennials and legal immigrants in the American workforce to subsidize my Social Security and Medicare is all that matters.

I paid my dues from 1965 to 2015 and the younger workers can do the same.

We have become a nation of chronic complainers and this is unacceptable to those who worked hard all their lives and did not become burdens to society via entitlement programs and unrestricted immigration.

Posted by Henry Richardson, a resident of Los Altos,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 2:05 pm

Henry Richardson is a registered user.

Hopefully the high-tech layoffs along with the proposed return of all H-1B workers to their native land will reduce the pressure on various parks and recreation departments to create more cricket fields which is both unecessary and frivolous.

The grass playing fields should be reserved for baseball/softball, football, and soccer rather than sports uncommon to most Americans.

Posted by Jamie Ryerson, a resident of Woodside,
on Feb 22, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Jamie Ryerson is a registered user.

Sadly, all civility has been lost in America and it goes beyond politics, social media, road rage, and mass shootings.

Children are even becoming more self-centered and rude as well.

The picture is becoming more bleak and the news media loves this social phenomena because it gives them something to work with...for entertainment purposes and contrived hyperbole.

Regardless of personal political affiliations (if any), both the Republican and Democratic parties are merely reflective of ourselves and how low both humanity and society has sunk.

Posted by Simone Johansen, a resident of Professorville,
on Feb 23, 2023 at 9:00 am

Simone Johansen is a registered user.

"...all civility has been lost in America and it goes beyond politics, social media, road rage, and mass shootings."

"Children are even becoming more self-centered and rude as well."

• Maybe it all begins with parents who are no longer instilling values of common courtesy and consideration towards others because they themselves are self-centered and inconsiderate as a whole.

Self-importance is not the same as self-esteem and therein lies the crux of the problem.

Children often learn by example and at present, adult behavior is becoming more adolescent with countless incidents of incessant name calling, overt rudeness, and physical altercations.

The next 20 years are going to be even more horrible on the local, national, and global fronts.

Can we prevent it?

Given the general parameters of human nature, the chances are highly unlikely because greed, self-importance, and an ongoing desire to control others is a universal trait shared by many people regardless of their religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, and in many instances, inter-family relations.

If the world were to abruptly end today, it would be no loss except to those worshiping the material world and their self-inflated egos.

Posted by CyberVoter, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 8:06 am

CyberVoter is a registered user.


You lose all credibility when you blame all of the issues on "the other side". CA is leading the "polarization" problem in America. We think we are the "leading light", but we are now "out of step". Two key issues:

1) Political Civility"?
- Have you ever seen the UK's Parliament????
- When the SOTU becomes a fact-based discussion rather than a Political Rally, you will have less reaction in the chamber

2) Solving the problems:
- Let's focus on the problems & determine IF we are making progress in solving them
- If we are NOT making progress, we should not just spend more money inn the same way!

Posted by Consuelo Morales, a resident of Castro City,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 8:33 am

Consuelo Morales is a registered user.

I will continue to pray for goodness to fall upon us but it will require human intervention as well as the benevolent will of an angry God who is most likely very disappointed at how we humans have turned out.

Posted by Gary Tate/Democrat, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 8:55 am

Gary Tate/Democrat is a registered user.

Count your blessings. Things would be even worse if lackluster Kamala Harris was POTUS.

Joe Biden is contemplating a 2024 presidential run because the majority of Democratic voters would not support a Harris presidential candidacy and there are few worthwhile candidates other than CA Governor Gavin Newsom.

The VP slot will be very important in the next election because the presumed frontrunners Trump and Biden are OLD men. It is time to make way for the new (excluding Kamala Harris of course).

A Biden/Newsom ticket would easily defeat a Trump/DeSantis ticket in 2024.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 9:13 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Just a comparative comment. Has anyone here watched a broadcast of Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons in the British Parliament? Regardless of the questions being asked, the response from the MPs and back benches in particular are hilarious. Web Link

Posted by Henry Thompson, a resident of Woodside,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 10:40 am

Henry Thompson is a registered user.

"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine

Some people (regardless of political affiliation, personal religion, upbringing etc.) cannot handle the truth or realities of life and that is their problem.

Posted by Mike Florey, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 24, 2023 at 3:08 pm

Mike Florey is a registered user.

• America‘s crises are escalating. What can we do?

People of all faiths can turn to prayer or meditation to pro-actively resolve the current global crises we are experiencing. Create a collective consciousness and move forward.

All things pass, both the good and the bad.

Misfortunes and good tidings come and go. They are a part of our essential earthly existence and there is no escaping the various scenarios that are sometimes forced upon us by fate, devine intervention, or the acts of mankind.

Count your blessings and be grateful for whatever you have, regardless of how little it may seem to be.

By wishing the best for others and offering assistance whenever possible, we can recreate a better world.

Jealousy, greed, and ego have no place in an evolving existence. And for those who embrace these character flaws, simply pity them in lieu of personal hatred.

The little hyphen between one's birth year and one's year of death speaks volumes.

Walk and live in peace.

Posted by Allison Walker, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 25, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Allison Walker is a registered user.

It is also interesting to note that while countless white Americans have embraced Zen Buddhism, how many have actually converted to Hinduism or the Muslim faith? Very few.

Posted by Steve+Dabrowski, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Feb 25, 2023 at 1:36 pm

Steve+Dabrowski is a registered user.

We have seen all this before. Germany after 1933 was the result. I have thought for much of my life that the supposed "never again" atrocities of the Third Reich were easily possible in any country again if not careful. We clearly see the former president getting away with all manner of crimes including sedition while our Department of Justice and AG wring their hands. We routinely witness the ineffectual ability of our institutions to deal with the most mundane acts of evil. Consequences for acts that damage individuals and groups may take place, but are so delayed that no one is conscious that they exist.

Individuals being considered as candidates for our highest office are often closer to Hitler than George Washington. It would surprise me not one bit if Florida enacts laws requiring unfavored minorities and children to wear a yellow triangle on their clothing-even the star of David in our present climate.

It requires that good people confront evil, but too many good people fail to believe there is evil. Obama thought he could bring Republicans around by treating them with respect, Biden believes Ukraine will prevail with incremental help and Putin will give up. Nonsense.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 25, 2023 at 2:03 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I see so much blame here and it is all pointing fingers at others and never looking at ourselves and seeing how we can do better.

From blaming presidents, other religions, other cultures, foreign immigrants, etc. there are numerous fingers being pointed.

I would rather suggest that just by reading some of the comments on Town Square, made by presumably local residents who consider themselves rational people, and yet they call those with whom they disagree all sorts of names, refuse to read/listen to rational different opinions, and allow for various ideas to be discussed, we can see that the problems are made at the very local levels.

When this happens, we get people who are scared to voice an opinion, scared to put out lawn signs at election time, and choose not to enter discussions or debate without fear.

I suggest that we all take a deep breath and allow others to voice an opinion, to listen in case they actually are making a rational argument, that they have reason and purpose for why they think the way they do, and that we not just tolerate but think about their rationale. This used to be how it was taught in colleges, rational discussion and debate. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of only speech that you like. Freedom of speech means that we should pay at least some heed to what we don't like. Most people with opposing viewpoints don't hate anyone, and are not saying anything spiteful or vindictive. What people who view things differently want to do is to be heard respectfully, and if they are being respectful to you as they give their opinions, then the best thing to do is respectfully listen. The worst that can happen is that you may be subject to hearing something new, the best is that you may make new friends and perhaps see things from a wider perspective.

There is always hope if you start with yourself and those you meet. Your attitudes are being watched by the next generation. It is best that we show them what tolerance looks like.

Posted by Aric Baghat, a resident of Los Altos,
on Feb 26, 2023 at 10:45 am

Aric Baghat is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 26, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Good point about clothing. The ease with which someone can get a custom t shirt made either for themselves or for a certain group means that a political message can be made for shirts, sweat shirts, hats, or anything else very easily. There is a reason why so many companies are introducing dress codes, uniforms or no slogan clothes.

If someone wears a t shirt that someone else doesn't like, it can cause to problems, from having abuse shouted or physical harm. It used to be bumper stickers on the backs of cars showed political or similar viewpoints. Now it is the actual clothes.

Be careful what you wear is truer today than it has ever been before.

Posted by Reggie Banks, a resident of another community,
on Feb 26, 2023 at 2:11 pm

Reggie Banks is a registered user.

I didn't read anything about clothing choices in this blog. Did I miss something?

On the other hand, what does Allison Walker's post on comparative religions have to do with this discussion?

Posted by Bruce Gault, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 27, 2023 at 7:00 am

Bruce Gault is a registered user.

• "It would surprise me not one bit if Florida enacts laws requiring unfavored minorities and children to wear a yellow triangle on their clothing-even the star of David in our present climate."


Given the negative symbolism of the former Confederate flag & southern Civil War statues, shouldn't the display of any colored triangle also be eliminated as negative symbolism and politically incorrectness?

Posted by Raja Lodhi, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Mar 24, 2023 at 10:54 pm

Raja Lodhi is a registered user.

Web Link
Web Link

Posted by Raja Lodhi, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Mar 24, 2023 at 10:54 pm

Raja Lodhi is a registered user.

Web Link
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