December 2012
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The stolen holiday

By Galen Larson

The Republicans have lost their party – the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and I’ll even give them Nixon, who had environmentalist leanings. They lost it to the Tea Party, Karl Rove, and the Koch brothers, whose father was one of the founders of the John Birch Society.

Now the Christians, and even the many non-Christians who still loved the holiday, have lost Christmas to the “personhood” of corporations. When did we citizens become united with the corporations? I guess when we lined up like sheep to slaughter behind the bell goat of the media.

It is hard for me to believe that every year we can be stirred into stampeding like animals at the doors of Big Box stores. More than one pregnant woman has been injured in these mad crushes in past years. Of course, this raises the question: What was so important that a pregnant woman would put herself and her unborn child in front of a herd of indoctrinated, greed-maddened shoppers?

When I was young, Christmas was a mystical and magical event that combined religion with the anticipation of a family gathering and the excitement of toys for the children, stockings hung from the mantel stuffed with ribbon candy, and chuckles when someone got a lump of coal. When there were real sleigh rides to neighbors’ houses, hot chocolate and caroling. When we were concerned about children and people who had less than others.

Now we are intimidated into rushing down to max out the credit card and empty the bank account so we can buy things, things, things. Look for just the right gift for relatives we haven’t spoken to all year. Then get unnerved when we find out that Aunt Martha returned that knobby glass vase we sent her. Ho, ho, ho becomes ha, ha, ha.

The media start right after Halloween to get us hyped-up for Thanksgiving and the start of “Xmas” shopping. I liked it better when it was spelled “Christmas.” When the corporations didn’t make their underpaid employees give up time with family in order to enable the buying frenzy to go on. This should be a time to rejoice and bring joy to your loved ones. Maybe even give a hand-made gift from the heart, or better still, the gift of time spent together.

Instead, the thing to do now is purchase inferior, Chinese-made goods so one of the women in the Walmart family can buy a piece of artwork to display in her tax-deductible Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.

We seem to have reverted to the original pagan holiday from whence Christmas came, complete with the boisterous revelry and wanton behavior and consumption of nectars that dissolve our inhibitions. We’re like the folks who danced around the golden calf, leaving our bank accounts naked and credit cards bare in reverence to an unfeeling entity that cares not for us. We adhere strictly to the 11th Commandment: Shop till you drop.

Meanwhile, the corporate masters get away to the isles and beaches, laughing at the masses who made them rich. Who stole Christmas from Christ? The corporate grinch. It’s no more, “Ho, ho, ho, up the chimney he goes and to all a good night.” It’s, with a chuckle a wink and a grin, “Goodbye, suckers, you’re taken again.”

The Republicans lost their party. The Christians lost Christmas. But this nonbeliever hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Laughter makes fewer wrinkles than frowns. And so I will try to laugh at our human foibles rather than bemoaning what has been lost.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.


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