I have a friend, a neighbor, who told me the other day that she just couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over with. Now, to put this comment into perspective, you have to understand this woman. If Christmas could be wrapped and packaged into the shape of a woman, it would be her. Every year, she opens her home to all her family members (distant and close), her neighbors and friends. The tree is up and fabulously decorated before Thanksgiving because she always throws a Thanksgiving shin-dig-blow-out with armies of platters packed with delectables. Her table decor just makes you wonder. Her neat, tidy home sparkles in the neighborhood and warmly beckons a drop by visit. She is always stocked with cleverly selected wines which will surely end up in your hand should you choose to accept the unspoken invitation.
So, for her to say what she said left me rather speechless. Her slumped shoulders and defeated air told me to be delicate in my approach. I quietly asked her why she felt this way. She is a department manager for a local grocery store. Turns out that the people at work are grouchy, grumbling, tantrum-filled and angry. They have no more money to play and no more money to spend at the casinos. She watches older customers upset that they can’t set the spread they used to be able to set for Thanksgiving.
She sees that people are buying only what is on sale or that have matching coupons. Her store is losing money and people are getting laid off. The unions within the store ensure that talented young managers and workers get laid off before the buzzards that managed to get on the gravy train before them. The new upper management speaks of nothing but cuts and budget, offering no vision of the future, leaving the department managers hopeless and terrified to meet the eyes of their employees.
This is a smart lady, too. She may not have gone to college, but she is more politically informed than most of my so-called university colleagues. Not only does she watch the news every day (both local and national), but she has done so for the past twenty years. We don’t agree on everything and things have gotten hot from time to time, but I always respect that she can back her point of view with real information and thoughtful insight. We always return as friends and neighbors, watching each other’s kids (or grandkids), cooking for them, loving them and supporting each other throughout the passing years.
I have never seen this lady defeated like this. It stabbed me in the heart and made me a little afraid. I asked if politics was getting to her. She acknowledged it was so. The silly Wall Street protests filled with union inspired manufactured rage, spoiled and illogical college kids who are currently living off the very system they say is corrupt and general hooligans out for a good time is irritating to watch. Even worse, is the news media (bought and paid for by the Progressives) that is valiantly striving to make it relevant somehow. And let’s not forget our useless politicians who can’t even agree to cut an infinitesimally small piece of the FUTURE debt pie.
As we talked, I began to understand her malaise. Bad politicians are one thing. Obama’s out-and-out desire to take our nation down in favor of a new world order could depress anyone. But the real downer is our countrymen. One can only be hopeful and cheerful for so long. How long can we believe that Americans are worthy of the blessings and promise of America? Are we a nation filled with such spoiled individuals that a few less dollars for fun can, literally, ruin our Thanksgiving and Christmas? While is it nice that grandma wants to set a magnificent spread for Thanksgiving & Christmas, is she so prideful that she can’t just ask for some help? Whatever happened to the old pot-luck concept? Is it worth making everyone around you cringe because you can’t take a vacation this year or you can’t go partying at the casino every weekend? Are kids really so bored and directionless that the only way they can feel they are ‘doing something important’ is to rage without reason on the streets? Have Americans really become so lazy that they still support a president who is wrecking our nation like no other before him- on the mere promise of free money? Are we really so money-loving that politicians can use our jealousy to convince us that it is right to rob the wealth attained by others? Have we become such a people? No pride of self accomplishment? No pride of taking care of our own? No desire to make something of ourselves- by ourselves? No ability to find meaning, happiness or joy in the simple pleasures of good health, family, friends & good deeds?
Whatever happened to Christmas being about giving and not receiving? Whatever happened to Christmas being about Christ? Remember him?
I think my friend sees the writing on the walls for 2012. There is something ominous in the air. If Obama wins, we will know the answer to the above questions. She feels the weight of too much information and the undeniable evidence before her eyes everyday at work. I feel it with her. Americans. If we do not pull ourselves up with our bootstraps and get a grip on ourselves, we are lost. If we can’t get back to core values of decency, goodness, kindness, selflessness, humility, and contentedness with what we have, we are lost. If we can not remember that God blesses and takes away, that he tests us because he loves us; if we can not keep faith in him or in each other, not only are we lost, but we simply no longer deserve his blessing.