For the religious and the non-religious – whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or just the solstice – this is the season when light, love and hope overcome darkness and despair.
May it be so this year.
Fox News notwithstanding, there’s not really a War Against Christmas. We said “Merry Christmas” all eight years Barack Obama was President, and we’ll say it when Joe Biden is President.
But we’re not so merry this year.
The pandemic has kept families apart and torn our nation apart. Years from now, we may wonder how we got so twisted up about whether to wear a mask to keep ourselves and others from getting a deadly disease.
But, then, we got twisted up and torn apart over a lot of things the last four years.
Like the election. Many Republicans believe, either sincerely or out of expediency, that Donald Trump lost because of massive fraud.
Which poses a quandary: If Democrats could pull off such an epic steal, why didn’t they win a majority in the Senate, expand their majority in the House and win control of legislatures across the county before redistricting that will shape the next decade?
There’s even talk of secession.
Eight score and two years ago, Abraham Lincoln declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Can our divided nation stand?
Through all the stormy seas we’ve sailed in my lifetime – the civil rights revolution, Vietnam, Watergate, Bush v Gore, 9/11, the 2008 financial collapse – I’ve never doubted the United States would stand.
Nor do I doubt it now, no matter how great the strains on the ship of state.
Trump’s Presidency has tested us. His adamant refusal, and that of his supporters, to accept the election results is testing us.
But it’s heartening that over the past seven weeks, in the face of “fake news,” Facebook and “alternative facts,” there is one institution in America, one branch of our government, where truth and facts matter: the courts.
Let’s raise a toast in honor of their honors – the judges, Democrats and Republicans, Trump, Obama, Clinton, Reagan and Bush appointees – who again and again upheld the rule of law.
Let’s toast the election workers and election officials – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – who did their jobs, counted all the legal votes and refused to be cowed or swayed by threatening mobs and pandering politicians.
Let’s toast, again and again, the men and women in health care who strive to save us in spite of ourselves.
Let’s toast our fellow Americans who wear masks and seek to keep us all safe and healthy in spite of ourselves.
Let’s light a candle to those we’ve lost.
Let’s lend a hand to those who struggle to keep their livelihoods amid the economic carnage of the pandemic and the shutdowns.
Let’s wish the best to President-elect Biden. After the last four years, we need a break. Maybe his slogan should be “Make America Normal Again.”
And let’s hope and pray for a better year and better times ahead.
Some economists predict that, as the vaccines arrive and the virus fades, the economy will come roaring back. They say it could be “The Roaring Twenties.”
Of course, we know how that ended last time.