Beyond Christmas, Compassion in Short Supply for Republicans Lawmakers
Christmas time always brings a spirit of giving from most of us. The Salvation Army buckets gather donations, the homeless are given more attention than they usually get and needy families with children get donations of food and toys. It is a time of warmth and caring for so many of us. It is when the holiday season ends that things return to normal and the giving spirit of many wanes.
Republicans in Congress are a good example of that waning giving spirit. In fact, they already have insisted that the bipartisan budget passed by both houses do not include unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Republicans like to pat themselves on the back for cutting the benefits because they see that as a way to encourage those dependent on the benefits to return to work. It does not matter if there is short supply of jobs for them, as long as they return to work. Somehow, somewhere, though they do nothing to create job programs for them.
Then there are those who do work but work at minimum wage jobs, trying to support themselves and their families, these people get no compassion from Republican lawmakers either. It does not matter that the minimum wage cannot support an individual, let alone a family of four. Even with both parents working, minimum wage jobs can barely put food on the table.
Speaking of food, Republicans also have insisted upon cuts to food stamps, because caring about children stops at the womb, when it comes to conservative values. Republicans do all they can to stop abortion but once a child is born into poverty, that is the parents problem, or the child’s problem but not theirs. Most food stamps go to feed children and the elderly but that does not seem to bother Republicans at all, just the unborn is all that matters to them.
Yes, Christmas is a giving time. It is a time to forget just how greedy and how selfish you are all year long. Then for at least a brief period, drop a few bucks in the bucket, give a meal to a homeless person because once Christmas is over with, it is back to good old conservative politics of looking out for tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting social programs for the needy.
Then there is that worthy cause of fighting the “War on Christmas” as some people who are not Christians because they belong to another faith or just do not believe in God, want to stop using the phrase “Merry Christmas”, preferring an inclusive “Happy Holidays” instead. Yes, conservatives are all up in arms about the “War on Christmas” because Christmas holds a special meaning to them. It is a time that they can pretend they care about what Jesus cared about, which was the poor, the sick and the hungry. However, once Christmas is over with it, it is time for those kinds of people to stop expecting a handout and go get one of those minimum wage jobs, no matter how little it pays.
Once Christmas is over with, then it is time to quote their favorite Leviticus law verses from the Old Testament of the Bible, while ignoring all those they do not like. It is okay to condemn gay people as an abomination but having an affair with your neighbor’s wife or eating ham for Sunday dinner is not so bad.
The words of Jesus about feeding the poor and caring for the sick gets overridden with the words of Paul in just one verse, which basically says that those who do not work, do not eat. It is easy to take a verse out of context from the Bible, which was not referring to the poor and those who cannot find work, but it works well for Republicans wanting to find an excuse to cut off assistance to needy families.
Compassion should not be something that only occurs in us once a year. In reality, it is a time when Santa Claus gets top billing because he sells merchandise and Jesus is only a secondary player. The birth of Jesus just gives Republicans a reason to pretend for once a year that they really care about the struggles of the downtrodden, when the only people who get their attention year around is the well off.
Christmases will come and go but hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness goes on all year long. Defending the color of Santa’s skin color as being white is not as important as seeing that poor children have a good breakfast every morning before going to school. Though you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, it will not matter one bit to the homeless person who goes back to living in a cardboard box beneath a bridge.
True compassion is more than providing toys for poor children once a year or seeing that homeless people at a mission have Christmas dinner on Christmas day. It is about the desperate look in a father’s eyes when he realizes his unemployment check is not going to be there to help pay the rent and his family may be living in their car before long. Compassion is about the single mother who looks into the empty refrigerator and realizes her food stamps will run out soon and she does not know how she will feed her kids.
Christmas will soon be here and then gone, to be replaced with the same old day in and day out of the selfishness that has become the policy of those on the right of politics, which is to cut social programs and protect the wealth of the wealthy. I say to them go home to your own families at the end of the day and remember one thing; you may be blessed with abundance but compassion comes from empathy and understanding. Today you may have and tomorrow you may have not.