Tis the season to be not-so-jolly

The tree downstairs in the living room is beautiful. Amy worked until after midnight wrapping the last of the gifts and getting everything in shape for family to arrive this afternoon.

Some fifty years ago, I would have scrambled down the steps in the pre-dawn hours, trying to beat my five other brothers and sisters to the tree to dive into the boxes and discover the joys that lay inside the wrapping.

I’m older now and 59-year-old men with arthritic knees and bones held together with pins and screws don’t scamper down steps. They wait for the pain meds and muscle relaxants to kick in so they can lumber down at a more reasonable pace.

But the den is on the second floor and I can sit at the computer and try to write something suitable for the season. Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy and sharing and celebrating "peace on earth" and "good will towards men."

Peace on earth? No much of that going around. Four more Americans died in Iraq on Christmas Eve, bringing the total ever closer to 3,000 in a war where solutions get lost in the fog of political expediency.

Good will towards men? Not bloody likely. You won’t find much good will between nations who talk openly of killing or even here at home where politicians strive for power at any costs and sports teams brag of domination and intimidation of opponents.

In department stores, angry mothers fight over the last Sony Playstation or Nintendo Wiii game consoles. Fistfights erupt in checkout lines and a one man gunned down another on Christmas Eve in an argument over a parking spot at a shopping mall.

We can’t celebrate Christmas without controversy. In Seattle, a rabbi wants a menorah displayed during the season at Sea-Tac Airport and the knee-jerk reaction by authorities is to yank all Christmas trees from the facility. Communities ban nativity displays because they mix "church and state." Stores replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" to avoid angering non-Christians. Other stores ban the Salvation Army charity pots from their front doors. Too religious, they say.

A Jewish friend of mine has long dealt with such secularism by sending out a card each year with the Star of David on the front and a message inside that reads: "Merry Christmas…fools!" It is a bit of humor sorely needed in a world where people kill in the name of God and declare jihads based on a misinterpretation of the teachings of their faith.

Such chances to laugh come sparingly in today’s tension-filled world. Christmas should be a chance to celebrate and remember a special event that is central to us who base our faith on the birth of Christ.

Instead, it is – at best – a brief respite from a world gone mad. The best we can hope for is a few hours of calm away from the nastiness.

With that in mind, Merry Christmas from all of us here at Capitol Hill Blue. May we make the best of the holiday season and find a way to celebrate in spite of the tension, hate and violence that surrounds us.

And may we all pray that, one day soon, we can celebrate the season with true joy, real peace on earth and honest good will towards all.


  1. Richard Melvin

    Merry Christmas Doug!! I hope you have a good new year with less to rant about. But given the state of American political affairs I suppose I should get you some antacid as a Christmas present so you can keep writing. If your knees and ankles hurt this much perhaps you should look into thera-band exercises in combination with magnetic therapy or IR technology. I have used Infared technology for my joints with thera-bands and glucosomine/condroitin supplements and now am much more active. I am also contemplating trying non-invasive magnetic therapy and will let you know.

    Best wishes!!

  2. carol

    Merry Christmas Doug. Please take care of those aches and pains. My heartfelt best wishes for you and your family this Christmas, and deep hopes that you won’t have to do as many Rants this coming year of 2007.

  3. Keith

    Doug, you have once again hit the nail on the head.

    I believe part of the reason we are in the “doo-doo” that we are in is because we take ourselves FAR too seriously in the USA.

    As a nation, we seem to have now lost the ability to laugh at ourselves. We also seem to take even the slightest affront (no mater how unintentional it may be) as a personal attack on our ethnic heritage, background or our religion.

    I compare and contrast this approach with our Canadian friends, whose television comedy programs REGULARLY lampoon politicians of every political stripe as well as every ethnic and religious group in the country. And, because it’s done in good taste and equally to every group, everyone in Canada is insured of a good laugh now and then, even when the butt of the joke is himself or herself (or Americans!)

    On the other hand, if any network tried to do that in the USA, they’d risk fines (or worse) from the FCC. And, often, while watching our Canadian friends lampoon each other, I say to my wife, “They’d NEVER get away with that in the States!”

    Which is really sad.

    Now, granted, the senseless killing of our GIs in an illegal war is not something to laugh about.

    But, for a whole lot of other issues, we, as a nation, absolutely need to “lighten up”.

  4. Jon

    “Too many lawyers, pure and simple.

    Merry Christmas to all, and a prosperous new year.


    … talk about perpetuating the simple-minded divisive atmosphere that Doug is decrying… sheesh, get a life, get over it.

  5. The South Point

    Well, I’m certainly feeling not so jolly at the moment. Something about imbibing a little too much seasonal whiskey last night…

    I think I need some aspirin…

    No eggnog last night, though. I just can’t stand eggnog. The most horrible drink ever invented… 😉

  6. Kent Shaw


    I’ll get a life just as soon as you find a sense of humor amd a clue. Take a chill pill, counselor.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  7. SEAL

    Whereas this is the season for giving I feel I should thank you for CHB and your insightful comments. I very seldom post any comments myself but I’ve been reading you for years, Doug, because you say the things that need to be said in a direct and honest way. Unfortunately, those who need to listen to you (us), fail to understand the danger of ignoring the reality you present.

    I fear this will be the last year we will be able to enjoy the Christmas tradition as we have always known it unless someone or some group emerges from the democrat pack to launch the necessary offensive that will remove the criminal conspiracy from our government, launch the measures necessary to end this insanity, and start us on a path that will save our nation from becoming just another foot note in history of an empire that self destructed for the same reasons all other empires failed. Myopic greed of the leaders and the ignorant apathy of the masses.

    But don’t stop trying, Doug. You have my support.

  8. sherry

    Doug, sorry for the aches and pains. Hope you can put aside all that ails us and enjoy the season.
    I have resolved to work for change and will continue to do so. That said, I will count my blessings this year. They are many indeed. I spoke to woman just today who makes a difference in the world by building houses for people who are in dire need. I am talking people who have no indoor plumbing. Who have snow entering their dwellings in winter. None of us here experience that I am sure. I was astonished this happens in America. Lord forgive me for being so whiney when the dishwasher went on the fritz…
    The great thing about America is that it CAN change. We the people have the ability to make that happen. We will do it. The tide has turned. We must not dispair now.
    Sweetest blessings to you and yours. Thanks for all you do.