As America approaches Christmas 2012, teetering on the brink of the historical folly dubbed “the fiscal cliff,” we’re virtually forced to assume a schizophrenic attitude toward the season.
On one hand, our natural inclination is to approach this holiday with a spirit of joy, reverence, thanksgiving, generosity and hope. This is a season when, historically, even the grumpiest Scrooges among us might be inspired to crack a smile, do something kind for the less fortunate and maybe even croak along as we sing a carol or two.
On the other hand, this year, as never before, our ears and minds are assaulted by a maddening chorus of “Grinchoids” determined to foul the spirit, throttle the pageantry, banish the decorations, silence the carols and rob us of our joy. A coalition of ideological bullies are using our Constitution, their financial reservoirs and the threat of exhausting litigation to force celebrants to abandon the time honored traditions that, for generations, brought us together and marked “the season of giving.”
At the same time, our government representatives are involved in a shameless display of shortsightedness, egomania, irresponsibility, incompetence and downright stupidity. For years they squandered staggering sums of our hard-earned money on graft, foolishness, laziness and sumptuous self-serving. Now, having been grossly and obviously wasteful on levels never before seen in history, they look us in the eye and say, with unbelievable gall, they need more — trillions more.
Adding insult to injury, they’re not even making a pretense of binding themselves not to repeat the frivolous, brainless, sophomoric behavior that brought us to this pass.
All this would be bad enough. But we are still reeling from a thoroughly disgusting presidential election where money, lies, distortion and cynicism were the dominant factors. Never in my lifetime has such an unapologetic gang of known liars, cheats and frauds been unleashed on the public with such an appalling lack of shame. At this moment, we join Jonathan Swift in observing, “I never wondered to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”
Meanwhile, we continue to grieve over the death of a federal agent killed in a shootout with ruthless drug mercenaries armed with weapons allowed into their hands by our own government. And we still don’t know who was responsible. We continue to grieve for our ambassador and his defenders who died in a tragic and avoidable security breakdown in Libya. And, after a disgraceful display of finger-pointing, fact distortion, shameless evasion and mock outrage, we still don’t know the truth.
In the midst of all this, the legislative and executive branches of our government are locked in a ridiculous display of absurd and impotent theatrics. These unbelievable misanthropes appear perfectly content to wager the birthrights of our children and grandchildren in a game of “who wins the biggest ego victory at the country’s expense?” No matter how these clowns address the challenges of “the fiscal cliff,” it doesn’t appear that they will take any meaningful measures to address the greatest challenge to the country’s future — debt. If our most fervent wish for our children and grandchildren is to leave them a secure future in a free country, the greatest obstacle to making that wish a reality is the crushing burden of debt.
So, with all this frustration, disappointment, anxiety and resentment, what can we do to recapture the joy of Christmas? I have a couple of suggestions. First, let’s look to our grandmothers and grandfathers for inspiration. In December 1941, the United States was attacked by Japan. A few days later, Germany declared war on us. Our grandmothers and grandfathers refused to yield to despair. They rolled up their sleeves, stiffened their resolve, joined hands and committed to make any sacrifices necessary to preserve the traditions and spirit of this country. Never before had a nation responded with such a tremendous release of energy, ingenuity and determination. This Christmas, let’s tap into that “American spirit.” Yes, our house is in appalling disorder. But if we, as a people, have the desire to rise to the occasion, we have the power to do so.
Next, we must recognize that we can’t leave it to anyone else to keep our house in order. That’s our responsibility. We know that 2013 will be a political madhouse. We know the Republicans and Democrats let things get out of control. They did it because we allowed it. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to joyfully celebrate this holiday. We owe it each other to join hands in 2013, and start cleaning up this country. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.
MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.