No Joy to the World This Christmas
by Stephen Lendman
How can there be with wars raging out-of control! Who’s celebrating while mass slaughter and destruction persist?
No Christmas cheer this year for billions. No Feliz Navidad. No happy holiday. No Wise Men spreading good will.
No silent, holy night. No decking the halls. No herald angels singing. None heard on high.
No coming all ye faithful. No telling it on the mountain. No merry gentlemen resting. No peace on earth coming upon a midnight clear.
No most wonderful time of the year. No having yourself a merry little Christmas. No holly jolly one. No wishing you one in times of war, injustice and human suffering. Imagine them on an unprecedented scale.
No frosty the snowman fun. No winter wonderland. No jingle bells joy. No auld lang syne.
No Christmas 2014 to remember. No Santa on his sleigh. None coming to town. No gifts for billions.
No peace with war winds raging. None with growing global human misery. America is Scrooge writ large. It’s the Grinch that stole Christmas.
Scoundrel media editors claim otherwise. They support the worst of all possible worlds. They pretend aggressive wars are liberating ones.
They claim nations are destroyed to free them. They call imperial dominance democracy.
They glorify wars in the name of peace. Humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P) mask ravaging one country after another. Mass slaughter and destruction reflect it.
They call plunder economic development. They pretend Christmas 2014 reflects peace and good on earth.
They ignore what matters most. They turn a blind eye to America’s imperial savagery. Unprecedented human misery reflects it.
It persists globally. They sweep it under the rug. They air brush it from history. They ignore reality. Hypocrisy and indifference substitute.
New York Times editors headlined “This Day of Good Cheer.” They called it “the most joyous and the most richly seasonal.”
“Christmas can seem, somehow, outside the sequence of the ordinary year,” they said.
How can it be when billions endure poverty, unemployment, hunger and homelessness? Millions more suffer the scourge of war.
Festiveness doesn’t top their agenda. Survival matters most. Christmas is no different from other days. It’s not a day off from human misery. It doesn’t stop mass slaughter and destruction.
Not according to New York Times editors. It’s “a day of good cheer,” they said. It “comes to life on just this one holiday.”
It’s “enough to be here today,” they claim. How can it be when unprecedented human misery overwhelms it?
Washington Post editors headlined “The Christmas story, still captivating the world.”
A decades earlier radio program was called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” It related biblical narratives. It was popular at the time. It inspired a Hollywood film by the same name.
One Bible story remained popular, said WaPo editors. It’s “a tale of universal appeal.” It’s “a story of love and triumph over adversity and also of humility, of the good to be found in the most modest of circumstances.”
It reflects the spirit of Francis of Assisi, they said. He preached “reverence for all living things.” He created the first manger creche.
His “living Christmas story was taken up in many towns and villages.” They created their own manger scenes. They reflect the seasonal spirit.
“Their basic appeal lay in their warmth, humanity and simplicity.” It’s an “enduring reflection of…’comfort and joy,’ ” said WaPo editors.
For whom they didn’t explain. For billions it doesn’t exist. Human misery is their daily reality. WaPo editors substituted illusion for unconscionable human suffering.
Chicago Tribune editors headlined “As Christmas dawns.” They published the same Christmas day editorial since 1988.
Perhaps they have no original thoughts. Maybe they don’t care about what’s most important. They asked:
“What is this day, this Christmas, that dawns with a chorus of joy? What river of love and magic speeds the message from that moment of wonder in Bethlehem across the cold darkness of centuries long forgotten?”
“How does it warm us this morning as we awaken in a world the Wise Men could scarcely imagine to a radiance that once each year makes it all just a little bit better?”
For whom, Tribune editors didn’t say. For America’s 1%, it never was better. For most others, it’s lump of coal harshness.
Joy didn’t arrive Christmas morning. It won’t appear later in the day. Or the next one. Or throughout the holiday season.
It’s absent throughout the year. So is the “Prince of Peace.” No “(s)ing(ing) out the praises of Christmas… (No) sing(ing) them in shouts and whispers.”
Tribune editors support the worst of imperial harshness. They deplore peace and good will. They claim otherwise.
They hypocritically said “remember…the pain of others…the Christmas joy of sharing out humanity.”
“We are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers…Rejoice in the accumulated sights and sounds of the season that fill us this Christmas Day.”
…”(W)e praise this day, this Christmas, that dawns with a chorus of joy.”
Tell it to Chicago’s homeless. Imagine sleeping outside in sub-freezing temperatures. Imagine having to beg for nickels, dimes and quarters. Imagine needing them to buy bare bones food.
Imagine having nowhere to go when sick. Imagine no one able to change things caring. Imagine suffering out of sight and mind.
In July 2013, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated around 116,000 affected Chicagoans.
It’s 10% higher than year ago numbers. It includes nearly 19,000 students. Around 98% are children of color. An estimated 20% have disabilities and development delays.
On December 13, the US Conference of Mayors Hunger 2013 Homelessness Survey said Chicago homelessness increased 11.4% year-over-year.
Perhaps Tribune editors didn’t notice. Maybe they don’t care.
Los Angeles Times editors headlined ” ‘Miracles’ of 2013: Some of our favorites.”
Christians annually commemorate Christ’s birth. LA Times editors call it “one of the central miracles of the New Testament.”
No peace and good will miracles arrived Christmas morning 2013. Expect none throughout the holiday season for billions worldwide.
None appeared throughout 2013. Expect none next year. LA Times editors turned a blind eye to what’s most important. They ignored Obama’s war on humanity. They said nothing about global human suffering.
They focused on trivia. They highlighted NASA’s Voyager 1 mission. It’s “ventur(ing) out of our solar system.” It’s “a singular achievement in humanity’s quest for knowledge,” they said.
How about waging peace, not war. What about alleviating human misery. What about prioritizing right over wrong? How about replacing dismissiveness with caring.
Times editors expressed angst about not intervening directly against Syria. They said eliminating its chemical weapons may “solidify” Assad’s hold on power.
They called Republicans and Democrats “compromis(ing)” on 2014’s budget “amazing.” Both parties agreed on deeper lump of coal harshness for millions.
They gave bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America’s super-rich virtually everything they wanted.
They’re waging war on social justice. Perhaps Times editors didn’t notice. Maybe they don’t care.
They discussed a meteor “the size of a small building.” It “hurtled toward Russia…in February.” It crashed near Chelyabinsk in Siberia. Miraculously it didn’t kill anyone, they said.
Imagine calling temporarily switching off LA billboards a 2013 highlight. They called ending city mayoral debates another one.
They claim Washington began negotiating with Iran in good faith. They ignored Obama breaching Geneva terms straightaway. His notion of good faith is none at all.
Times editors’ 2013 highlights are ill-chosen. Why is LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art quadrupling its endowment more important than millions of city residents struggling to get by?
Why is a so-called “layaway Santa” initiative? An anonymous benefactor is involved. He visits stores. He pays for toys parents had on layaway. He does it in LA County.
What about sheltering its homeless. How about feeding its hungry. What about employing county residents without jobs. How about giving underemployed Angelinos better ones.
What about freeing lawlessly imprisoned county inmates. What about doing so much more to relieve area human misery.
Why is it ignored? Why is it allowed to fester? Why is it permitted to deepen each year?
Why don’t city and county officials change things? Why do they do nothing? Why don’t Times editors hold them accountable? Why not on Christmas day? Why not throughout the year?
Wall Street Journal editors did Tribune counterparts one better. They’ve run the same Christmas day editorial since 1949.
Vermont Royster (1914 – 1996) wrote it. He was WSJ’s editorial page editor from 1958 to 1971.
He headlined “In Hoc Anno Domini (in this year of our lord).” He discussed ancient Rome. “There was oppression,” he said.
He highlighted Rome’s “tax gatherer.” It took “grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people.”
There was “persecution” and “enslavement…Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”
“…Paul of Tarsus…spoke to his brethren.” His words would be remembered. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Royster won two Pulitzer Prizes. His editorials and other writing reflected lump of coal harshness. He deplored social justice.
Dow Jones & Company began publishing the WSJ in July 1889. In August 2007, Rupert Murdoch bought it.
Throughout its history, hard right opinion shut out progressive fairness. Under Murdoch, it does so more than ever.
Royster championed free markets over fair ones. So do current Journal editors. They believe whatever government does, business does better so let it.
They want every one left on their own sink or swim. They believe whatever is good for business is good for America.
They support corporate and super-rich privilege over social justice. Power and profits matter most of all.
What would Jesus say today? What would he think about today’s America? What would he do?
How would he address ideological extremism? What would he say about neoliberal harshness? How would he contest destructive dark forces?
He preached nonviolent resistance. He lived it. He taught it. He deplored injustice. He urged “go(ing) the second mile.” He said “love your enemies. (D)o good to those who persecute you.”
He spread revolutionary ideas. He opposed exploitive imperial harshness. Today he’d preach peace, equity and justice. He’d oppose war. He’d resist it.
Doing the right thing is its own reward. Doing it every day matters most. Imagine if everyone felt this way. Imagine a world at peace.
Imagine wars consigned to the dustbin of history. Imagine loving thy neighbor having real meaning. Imagine doing unto others responsibly.
Imagine a world fit to live in. Imagine it with liberty and justice for all. Imagine it on Christmas. Imagine it throughout the year.
John Donne was a poet, lawyer and cleric. “No man is an island,” he said. We’re all part of humanity.
“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
“(N)ever send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
It does so most in times of war. It bears repeating. It doesn’t take time off for Christmas. It doesn’t do it throughout the holiday season. Mass killing and destruction have lives of their own.
Hemingway‘s novel discussed “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Its background was the Spanish civil war. In times of all wars, it tolls for thee.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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