The Christmas Spirit
It's that time of the year when the thoughts of most of us turn to the celebration of Christmas.
It's also the time of the year when the squirrels come out of the woodwork and we're inundated with more nonsense than we want to endure as it relates to the holiday: it's principal characters, and its celebration.
From this person's viewpoint there are two tales that best represent Christmas and all it stands for; these being: O. Henry's The gift of the Magi, and Charles dickens' A Christmas Carol.
In the Gift we have a tale of love and sacrifice which emphasizes the spirit of Christmas, as we do in the Christmas Carol, and which is the dominant theme of Christmas as we know it in the western world.
Likewise, we have the relatively modern Christmas spirit as the Senior generation came to know it.
We all know Dickens' famous yuletime epic which exemplifies the true spirit we want to believe is supposed to be inherent in Christmas.
Passionate love dominates O. Henry's epic as Jim and Della sacrifice their most cherished possession in order to be able to provide a most special gift for each other.
As do virtually all of O. Henry's stories, irony plays a dominant role, which makes the Gift of the magi all that more an example of the true Christmas spirit.
As we view the carnage that has resulted in our most recent presidential gathering, we must wonder what has happened to this spirit.
It looks as if the folks we elect to represent us are a bit off message during this yuletide season.
Whatever happened to “Good will to all men?”
Here we are, “One nation, indivisible,” with vested interest groups working vigorously to divide it into at least three groups, if not more. And most of the problem can be laid at the feet of poorly educated special interest people who have no idea what they're talking about.
When the United States of America was aborning, its citizens were trying to create their own nation, and get out from under the heel of King George.
Our ancestors made it, with a terrible loss of blood, and no sooner was the ink dry on the Constitution, than the citizens started separating.
Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton took the first step when they and their followers divided the nation in half, politically.
Jefferson's followers eventually became the Republicans, and Hamilton's group now call themselves Democrats.
The ink was hardly dry than the East Coast aristocracy took umbrage at the way the Southern states were handling their visitors from Africa. In the end the matter resulted in a war, and loss of blood on both sides. The end result was hardly satisfactory, causing the nation to be even more strenuously divided, into the Yankees and the Rebels, but at least the two sides are no longer at war; Not officially.
Efforts were made to still the troubled waters, but it only got worse.
Midway through the last century blind arrogance, coupled with monumental stupidity brought about another divide; and again, disaster.
Will America ever become “one nation indivisible?” Can arrogance, blind
stupidity, and special interest group arrogance ever bring about “One Nation Indivisible?”
One would like to say: Yes, but this is not likely to happen. We must never overlook “the human factor.” We're divided again racially, with more bloodshed and hard feelings now than there was in the 1860's, and ignorance related to the separation is just as bad now as it was then; perhaps even worse.
And we have now gender separations, and gender co-mingling, and the level of misunderstanding and even ignorance as it pertains to these issues is staggering. And to make matters worse, various factions are using these forms of ignorance to further their own political and financial goals.
If Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Hamilton could only have seen ahead they may have spared future generations the agonies associated with all this.
But, now we're getting into fiction.