December 19, 2009

The Season of the Grinch

In these New England villages and towns I’ve noticed it slowly while driving to this or that seasonal celebration. The holiday lights on the houses and in the yards are fewer this year, switched on later and turned off earlier. At the parties the cheer is a bit more forced. Inside the malls the shoppers all seem a tad glum, the stores’ offerings and blandishments forced, and the sales sooner and more drastic. There’s nothing dramatic, only a sense, a strangely unnerving sense, that this Christmas season is, in a word, diminished.

Somehow this last year now passing has slowly and steadily broken every promise made when it began. Instead of revival, the nation and the spirits of its people have been slowly immersed into a state of quiet desperation as its history and institutions have been stripped from it in such a methodical manner as to seem malicious. Those sworn to be the servants of the people, to preserve and protect their traditions and laws, prove each and every day to be not the exemplars of the best of us, but of the worst.

Now, as we move from the last night of Hanukkah towards the morning of the birth of Christ, our false servants are swearing – for no clear reason – to pursue passage of their rejected laws and Byzantine litigation right into the eve of Christmas. It’s a frenetic secular sacrilege mounted in some obscene ritual to instill in Americans not a respect for their government but a despair of its intent. It tarnishes the season and it is the death of hope.

At the same moment, the supposed leader of the country, raised up out of a lifetime of hustle and charm, out of a “handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged;” raised up from obscurity on an historic wave of optimism, flits about the world on a gigantic airplane trying to bestow large sacks of money he does not have on other nations who do not deserve it. He flies into snow and cold across the oceans for half a day. He speaks some petulant words and for a couple of hours huddles with other gnomes of ill-star. Then he flies back across the ocean into another snowstorm in Washington where more weekend blather and petulant yabble is being brought to bear on the “urgent” problem of how to spend the most money on the fewest people.

In the house which this cardboard “leader” and his family inhabit, the people’s house, the word “Christmas” is spoken seldom and then grudgingly. The traditional Nativity scene was to be kept in storage this year but was brought out, again grudgingly, only when it was clear that the political cost of hiding it exceeded the cost of displaying it. We were informed that this man and his wife and children once spent twenty years sitting in a Christian church in Chicago, but the role of Christ and Christmas in this church evidently took a back pew to the endless racial tribulations and racist obsessions of its pastor and parishioners.

Yes, the national Christmas tree was lit this year, but it may well have been called a “holiday tree” (I wasn’t paying close attention.). I’m sure that bunting and decorations suitable for the public areas of the White House are all in place and suitable for framing. But I doubt that in the private quarters anything resembling a traditional Christmas will take place. I don’t know this, but I sense it. And I have found that my sense of things pretty much parallels the sense that many of my fellow citizens have. Our sense is that this Christmas is, as a result of all that has transpired during the last year of this “historic” presidency, diminished.

If there is one theme that can be shown to be constant on our national scene of late, it is that of “diminishment.” America shall have less. America shall do less. America shall strive less. America shall be less. Americans will be told that this diminishment is for their own good. And they shall be expected, if not required, to agree.

Not all shall, of course, be diminished. Some few in the protected classes shall be aggrandized. Some shall find their holiday tables made even more bountiful than their tables were last year. But this shall not be because they have earned their bounty but only because they have been clever enough to position themselves at the overflowing trough of what is risibly called “public service.”

For the rest of us, we look at a future filled with uncertainty as to prosperity coupled with a certainty about taxation, regulation, legislation, and ever encroaching limits on personal and collective freedom. We move into the final week before Christmas with the promise from a government that barely recognizes those from whom it receives its mandate to increase our indenture and servitude on Christmas Eve.

It’s not a holy Christmas this year, but a cheap and secular “Xmas.” It’s small and it’s mean and there’s nothing very merry about it. It’s the Season of the Grinch.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 19, 2009 6:26 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Fantastic summation Mr. V.

May your Christmas be merrier than that which is intended for you by our political class.

Posted by: monkeyfan at December 19, 2009 7:59 AM

A white hot needle into the bullseye of our current malaise. God Bless, Gerard, and a merry Christmas to you. Thank you for what you have given us.


Posted by: jwm at December 19, 2009 8:08 AM

"Grant the people's every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king. As they have treated me constantly from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this day, deserting me and worshiping strange gods..." 1 Samuel 8:7-8

What you see happening is the result of secularism. The people have been clamoring for a king - an earthly one - and now that we have him, "you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the Lord will not answer you." 1 Samuel 8:18

For believers though, the answer is eternally given as Emmanuel - God with us. The season can never be diminished.

God be with you and yours, Gerard. Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at December 19, 2009 8:36 AM

It is the scorning of simple decency. Decency was at the core of the last president; it isn't at the core of the current president.

We shall endure.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 19, 2009 9:18 AM

It isn't necessarily the abominable circus in D.C. that it responsible for the malaise. It's the hangover from so many years of over-consumption by the American people, for the most part. Buying things for people who already have so much 'stuff' doesn't make anybody feel good.

Perhaps this year is just a step on the path to the return in all of our hearts of the true meaning of Christmas. God is good all the time.

Yes, we shall endure.

Blessings on you.

Posted by: JanB at December 19, 2009 9:39 AM

I agree with your Grinch assessment which why I'm taking a certain 'cold' comfort in the east coast blizzard.

May the snow fall and fall on the Capital.

It's a symbol that is appropriate in many ways.

It softens the din.

It's a cold blanket taunting Obama's failure at Copenhagen.

The bulls-eye over DC provides a comforting thought that just maybe God does hear and has a sense of humor.

And of course, it's very pretty.

Wherever you are, Gerard, take heart.

There are a lot of us Cindy Lou Whos out here in Whosville and were gonna turn this Grinch sleigh around.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Cathy at December 19, 2009 10:26 AM

While all attention was on the great city and it's king, hidden from them, but in their midst, a child was born, to two people who had nothing. But not any child. Must have looked hopeless.

Posted by: Ricky Raccoon at December 19, 2009 3:52 PM

"...other gnomes of ill-star." Beautiful, just beautiful!

Posted by: Ed at December 19, 2009 4:42 PM

You're a treasure, G.

Without your words, I would be drinking nonstop.

As it is, I take a break now and then to read you.

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at December 19, 2009 4:57 PM

Memo to Obama: Don't think we're not keeping score, brother.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at December 19, 2009 7:16 PM

I find it somewhat comforting, to have to cut down on the obscene excesses of past Christmases and to have to find out what it is I really value. For the country it is the year of the Grinch, no doubt, but for me, it is the year of remembering the quiet and dignified desperation of Joseph and Mary, the privilege of Heaven's glory revealed to the poorest and meanest of us all.
Summed up best here:

Posted by: Jewel at December 19, 2009 10:06 PM

There are several comments on the excesses of the past, one said “obscene” excesses. Somehow I don’t believe that these people are talking about themselves. Somehow I get the feeling that they are talking about others, people who they believe are too materialistic, who had too much and are now going to have that excess taken away. So they now find pleasure in the “others” being diminished by a man who goes on million dollar “dates” on jumbo jets and flies that jumbo across the oceans several times a week to deliver speeches and bags of loot to – not the wretched of the earth – but the dictators that make them wretched.

I am reminded of the old Russian fable about the two peasants, one with a cow and one without. A genie appeared to the man without the cow to give him his wish. His wish: for the genie to kill his neighbor’s cow.

Posted by: Moneyrunner at December 20, 2009 5:26 AM

Don't despair just yet. We decide what Christmas and Hanukah mean, not them. Only we can diminish it, they cannot. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!

Posted by: Prologue at December 20, 2009 6:11 AM

Moneyrunner, when I said obscene excesses, I meant myself and no others. It is the bill that comes due every January that you spend the rest of the year paying off. I believe myself to be too materialistic, and it isn't a blanket judgment against others. I get no pleasure in covetousness. I have been poor and well off, and in all circumstances I try to find contentment. For about 3 years, I have limited myself to spending on others what I have managed to save....which is wiser than spending what you might otherwise have in interest payments.

Posted by: Jewel at December 20, 2009 8:33 AM

The contempt for this country, its peoples and its traditions among the political classes is truly breathtaking.

Friends blather on about how "wonderful" it is that our "leaders" are far too concerned with our welfare to stop their work for such a triviality as Christmas.

Personally, I find it obscene and sickening. I've not been here of late but am glad I found this. Congress may wish to pretend such things have no meaning, but as for me, I will keep Christmas.

Posted by: shoreacres at December 20, 2009 7:05 PM

I visit your site and find what I cannot say well myself.

My hope is never put in princes, but in Christ. But I have to live in this secular world for the time being. I mourn for what was, and I see the second half of my life as not potential and possibility, but simply surviving. Hope and change.

Posted by: Jaye at December 20, 2009 8:46 PM

Sums up my feelings perfectly. It seems as though we are going through the motions of the season while holding our breath, waiting for what the new year will bring. The government that can give you everything you want can take away everything you have. The taking away is about to begin, who knows what the situation will be like next year at this time?

Posted by: Boots at December 20, 2009 11:07 PM

Jewel: That is why we have invented LED light strands. :D

If you meant present-giving, try setting aside your Christmas tithe throughout the year, and pay cash.

I am all for a certain amount of excess, because we do need occasional outpourings of joy. I feel much the same way about Independence Day fireworks.

Posted by: B. Durbin at December 21, 2009 2:50 PM

Don't think we're not keeping score, brother.

You know, Gagdad et all, I would love to taunt President Wonder Weenie with those words projected onto clouds one night over DC, and the words sitting right under that 'Joker' image, glowering down on the Federal City.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at December 22, 2009 3:38 PM