I'm spending Christmas and New Year's in my home state, the frigid tundra of Minnesota (it was five below zero when I arrived). On Christmas Eve we went to see 'A Christmas Carol,' at the new building of the old Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Since it's an annual family tradition, I've seen the play many times but never tire of the simple, compelling tale: grumpy, penny-pinching Scrooge is persuaded by the end of the play to be generous and honour Christmas because of the three ghosts who haunt him 'all in one night.'
This year though, in light of this last election and a weak economy (I'm not convinced we're in a an actual recession yet) the political themes of the play stuck out to me more than normal. Though Dickens wrote the play (as Rich Lowry notes in his recent column) to salvage his career and perhaps not as much to make a political statement, no writer composes in a vacuum and most, if not all, of Dickens well known works reflected 19th century ravaged England at the time. It was certainly a country whose workhouses were full and that literally wreaked of poverty.
I wonder, for myself and my fellow Americans: Will we be generous during this season and this next year despite our own tight pockets and the general atmosphere of Scrooginess around us (especially if the MSM has its way)?
While conservatives tend to be more charitable with their finances than their liberal counterparts, it's been a talking point of liberal political theory for some time. And it especially was this last year. In fact, if anything, Obama's message was as much about giving as it was about hope. Who should be giving and how much is key though, and not surprisingly, still vague.
Something tells me though, it won't be the kind of generosity conservatives favor.
Regardless of what occurs over the next four years, I hope we don't lose our generous spirit and take to heart what Scrooge vowed at the end of his miraculous night: 'I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, present and future."
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