This Christmas you may well get a holiday card from a Congress member posing in front of their tree with their entire family, down to the youngest kids, proudly holding assault rifles. Because that’s the Christian thing to do.
They proclaim “Merry Christmas” – even demand others to say it too instead of the more respectful, tolerant “Happy Holidays” as a battle cry in their imagined “war on Christmas” – and drop a toy off to a Toys for Tots drive as if that absolves them of the bigotry, racism, misogyny and hate they promote the rest of the year.
They proclaim themselves “patriots” in a war against imagined tyranny, and blast any form of government service or aid – even public health aimed at stopping the spread of COVID infection, hospitalization and death – as a slippery slope to socialism (communism) and our freedom of religion with a state theocracy they claim is Christian.
Besides the photos of Congress members exalting weapons of war for Christmas, the other symbol of this year’s holiday festivities is that of public school teachers, on their hands and knees, scrambling to pick up dollars tossed at them from above to buy supplies for their classrooms.
Last year at this time, I wrote a column questioning the myth that “most people are good.” Even that faithlessness in humankind was underestimated because just days later the brutal, deadly Jan. 6 insurrection took place. But it didn’t end there because all this year the viciousness, cruelty, misogyny, bigotry have only gotten worse. People don’t even bother to pretend anymore to have the “Christmas spirit” of giving, compassion, kindness (Kyle Rittenhouse is celebrated as a hero) – although just about everyone has a hand out for contributions.
They can’t even muster enough kindness and compassion for the length of Advent (even if they think they would chalk up enough “good” credits to carry them through until next Christmas). About all anybody musters is dropping something at Toys for Tots. I always thought that was very cruel – that Christmas spirit would come down to one stinking toy at Christmas when the child suffers with poverty and insecurity all the rest of the year. Same with giving out turkeys at Thanksgiving to families that otherwise suffer hunger insecurity day in and day out. Indeed, thanks to West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, the lead Grinch among all the rest of the Republicans, the child tax credit that lifted half of all impoverished children out of poverty will end with the end of 2021. And forget about parental leave.
What are people really really upset about this Christmas? That consumer prices are up 6 percent over last year – mainly because life is so much better this year than last when we all were locked down in fear of death and eviction and people have so much more money to spend and are really, really, really upset that supply chain bottlenecks may result in shortages of whatever the “it” toy is this season (when has that not been the case?). They show little gratitude for the yeoman’s task Biden has done to actually bring down gas prices and relieve supply chain bottlenecks (getting ports to operate 24/7, getting more truck drivers on the road, putting FTC on alert against price gouging) and the very fact that families can gather together at Christmas (air travel up to 2019 levels).
I would think that this Christmas there would be more thankfulness instead of griping over “stuff” because in contrast to Trump, who had no plan whatsoever to get COVID vaccinations into people’s arms and whose entire Christmas message consists of “You can help President Trump own the libs by claiming your PRIORITY ACCESS for our Official Trump Christmas Wrapping Paper and send $35,” President Biden unfurled a massive roll-out of vaccinations (now available at 90,000 sites) that saved over one million lives and prevented 10 million hospitalizations and 35 million cases, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund. And by preventing hospitalizations, more people who suffered other health emergencies – heart attacks, car accidents, gun shots, cancer diagnosis – were also saved to celebrate the holidays.
Now, there is a new Omicron variant, even more transmissible and infectious than the Delta variant, spreading mostly by the 60 million who, mainly to “stick it to the libs” refuse to get vaccinated and even boo Trump for saying he got boosted.
I would think that getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public to protect not just yourself but those around you who may be vulnerable to severe infection, hospitalization and death, is the essence of the Christmas spirit and what “Christian” is supposed to be about.
I would think people would be thankful we have the means to protect ourselves and our families from the worst – hospitalizations, Long COVID, and death, and that we have a president who has the compassion and competence to respond immediately to the new threat.
In fact, President Biden is delivering the most precious Christmas present of all – a $3 billion life-saving gift to make 500 million home COVID test kits available for free that can be ordered online and delivered through the mail, beginning in a few weeks. At the same time, he is expanding access to vaccinations and test sites. He is standing ready to support hospitals expected to see a surge of patients in the next couple of weeks – mobilizing 1,000 military doctors, nurses and health care workers to go where needed, getting supplies and equipment ready from beds to ventilators.
What do I want for Christmas? My holiday wish is for Trump and his accomplices, his acolytes and his insurrectionist hordes to be held accountable in order to protect America from the next, more diabolical and competent dictator-wannabe, and save democracy and the Rule of Law.
Also on my list: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and Build Back Better to protect the planet against climate change. And if there is any more room in Santa’s bag, I want Supreme Court reform and the Equal Rights Amendment, and for pro-life to mean an end to the gun violence epidemic.
And oh, yes, a return to the spirit of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men” and not just for Christians or for Christmas.