An old friend sent me a holiday e-card — an animated cartoon, actually, with an angel and the baby Jesus in a Christmas tree, and a bit of text at the end. Enjoy the beauty of Christmas, and so on. I e-mailed a response: “If you see Santa Claus, send him to South Philly. Send Jesus, too. Tell them to bring cash. Even a stocking full of coal would do, at this point.”
‘Tis the season to count one’s blessings, if you’re my optimistic (and well-off) friend. To most of the rest of us, it’s the season to spend carefully, so as not to bounce any checks. It’s the season to quit unrealistic expectations. I question the sanity of anyone who expects Obama’s Republican tax-cut deal to jump-start the economy for more than a season or two. As Chico Marx said, “You can’t fool me. There ain’t no sanity clause.”
Christmas is an invention that will persist only so long as debt-ridden Americans can pretend they’re part of the middle class, which keeps disappearing as jobs are outsourced and incomes decline. (For a different POV on this, read the Earnest Weasel, David Brooks.) These days, only draft dodger/super-patriot Dick Cheney and other millionaires can afford to observe Christmas without going deeper into debt.
I mention Cheney only because he was singled out today in an online column by Michael Moore, about the WikiLeaks controversy:
“… what if the public in 2003 had been able to read “secret” memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the “facts” he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched – or rather, wouldn’t there have been calls for Cheney’s arrest?”
Moore makes good sense, but can you imagine a mainstream media venue in America publishing such a column? You’re more likely to get a visit from Santa Claus, or to read that Cheney is spending Christmas in continental Europe, where many prominent jurists consider him a war criminal. Old Dick knows he’s much better off at home, where there ain’t no sanity clause.