First off, The Reason for the Season, at least the reason for today (Festivus):
Yeah, I’d air my grievances but we’d be here a while. Lots of reasons for grievances, including one I’ll aim at a certain senator, with apologies to ol’ Charlie Dickens:
“Spirit! are they yours?” Manchin could say no more.“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Manchin.
“But they’ll use the child credit to buy drugs!” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “They’ll use paid leave to just go hunting!”
P.S. The actual passage from “A Christmas Carol” is really something in how it remains relevant all these years later, including the part about slandering people who dare point out the ignoring of suffering.
So, there is lots to be doomscrollin’ pissed about right now, including Fake Good Old Boy Joe Manchin’s antics. But there are also some things to be happy about after today’s airing of grievances, moments of grace in a dark time. Right-wing Obsession Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered a very nice video that talks about 21 good things that happened in 2021.
Dear Dem communicators: This is very good. It’s upbeat, unifying, and achievement-focused, a template for future Democratic messages. I think she’s a very savvy politician, and if you see her during a hearing, watch her question people. She does not fool around with grandstanding.
And, as she shows in this video, her humanity always comes through in how much she really does care for the American people. For example, in the video, she includes that moment when a certain state’s U.S. senator ran off to Cancun during a massive state-wide power outage, and those darn divisive Democrats raised millions for them, including those “out of touch” big-city Congresspersons. We shouldn’t be shy about tooting our own horn in this way.
So yes, there are things to celebrate. The Democrats are seemingly ready to try to salvage Build Back Better, as Cassandra outlined here. People need it, and it’s good it’s not dead. And while Omicron is certainly scary, we are not slipping back to the dark days of March 2020. We are much better prepared.
My wife and I are celebrating at home on Christmas, with a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas dish, pernil. It’s already in the marinade, as the image above showed. Pernil is a slow-roasted pork shoulder, and something I remember Puerto Rican friends in my old neighborhood of York, Pennsylvania, eating around this time of year. The marinade is different in just about every recipe online as it’s one of those dishes that vary in every household, but my marinade includes sofrito, sour orange juice, and some other good things. With arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and tostones (flattened and twice-fried unripe sliced plantains which are marvelous), it makes for a merry feast.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and a good 2022. We have a lot of work ahead of us as a nation, but nothing wrong with a recharging break and a celebration.
The last word goes to Vince Guaraldi, whose “Christmastime is Here” recently was the subject of a very nice “CBS Sunday Morning” piece.