AT CHRISTMAS, CELEBRATING HOW THE NATION - AND ITS KIDS - DEFENDED DEMOCRACY
We wish one and all a wonderful holiday, Christmas included.
And we want to say that we know what you’re going through.
You’re wondering, as are we, how is Individual 1 going to ruin the holiday?
Because this is the kind of day that sends Individual 1 right into orbit, because most people aren’t thinking about him.
Depending on their belief system, people may be thinking about a certain newborn and all the attention he’s (or she’s) getting from wise men and shepherds, etc., down at the stable. But not so much the juvenile in the White House.
And then there’s Fatty Claus, as Individual 1 might call him, because in the run up to the holiday, all sorts of tweets, texts, emails, Instagrams and even faxes (from old-fashioned traditionalists) are aimed at the North Pole and not the Oval Office.
There are a lot of things that send Donald Trump into tantrum mode – women, black people, disabled people, generals who write long resignation letters, World War II allies, and journalists who haven’t been kidnapped and assassinated (yet). But the one thing he absolutely cannot abide is a time when he’s not the center of attention.
So Christmas Day is a dangerous day.
Will he fire Mueller first thing Christmas morning? Start a nuclear war? Issue a resume-torture order at Gitmo? Install a coal-burning furnace in the White House? Lock up immigrant children and send them and their folks back to certain death in their violent native countries? Oops, we forgot: been there, done that.
So, friends, Cat and I are here to assure you that worrying about Individual 1 on Christmas Day is understandable, even patriotic.
Let’s not ignore the positive things that happened in 2018. American democracy turned out to be resilient, with a remarkable election in which Democrats were elected in stunning numbers, so they’ll take firm control of the House. A lot of work went into that by hundreds of thousands of people, who overcame Americans’ historic apathy about politics, gerrymandered voting districts, laws that tried to keep people, especially minorities, from voting.
That’s big. Balance partially restored to one of the three branches of government, coming in January to a country you can be proud of.
Here’s another positive, and we think you’ll agree that it clinches our case in favor of reasonable optimism.
I’ll give you an example. Faithful readers of this blog might remember that last March, I (Phoebe) attended one version of the March for Our Lives, a national event marking the deaths of 17 people in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. It was in Middlebury, Vermont, and it drew a crowd of about 300, which is a lot for a smallish town of 8,500.
Among the speakers was a high school girl who said that when she went to school, even though she was an ornery teenager, she actually kissed her mother goodbye on the chance that would be the last time she'd see her Mom before a gunman showed up during physics class.
I was thinking, kind of moving, Kid – but a little over the top, because what are the chances of that happening in a cute little college town like Middlebury?
Fast forward to Dec. 18, 2018. That was a day that police broke up a plan by two 14-year-olds to shoot at least one student and possibly others at, guess where: Middlebury Union Middle School.
Two key events:
One, a student told his or her parents there was talk of a potential shooting, and the parents called the cops. Very brave. Very smart. The kid is a hero.
Secondly, following the March for Our Lives, Vermont Governor Phil Scott – a Republican in a gun-loving state (lots of hunting in liberal Vermont) – signed gun control legislation as a result of the concern about school shootings in general, and in particular, an earlier thwarted school shooting attempt at a different Vermont town.
One of the new measures allowed authorities to take prompt action in Middlebury. Here’s how the town’s paper, the Addison Independent, reported it:
It’s a case that … put into practice one of the key provisions of a much-debated gun safety law signed by Gov. Phil Scott this past spring. Middlebury police investigators successfully applied to a court official for an “extreme risk protection order” that allowed them to temporarily remove firearms from the home from which one of the youths was going to access guns to use in the planned shooting.
Ten guns confiscated.
Who knows how many school children and teachers spared?
Just like the midterm elections may have been a turning point in reversing the disaster of the Trump presidency, the passion and caring that kids across America demonstrated made a difference: they spoke out, took action, changed laws and saved lives.
There’s a lot to celebrate as we close out 2018.
From Cat and me, Merry Christmas and stay positive. There’s much to look forward to in the New Year.