EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 8, 2013

Column: Season prompts thoughts on how we are all connected

The Christmas season began officially for me on Thursday, the feast of good St. Nicholas, or as we call it back home in western Pennsylvania, “Belsnickle.” Time for my annual insistence that “Peace on earth to men of goodwill” is a better slogan than “Peace on earth, good will to men.” The better version assumes the recipient has been nice, not naughty, and is therefore deserving of peace instead of incarceration, or at least removal from elective office.

While it’s very jolly to watch the Obamacare debacle -- for those of us who haven’t yet lost our health insurance -- mostly, politics won’t be so merry. Next week the latest bipartisan congressional committee has a deadline for the latest plan to head off another government shutdown/debt ceiling crisis. Here’s a cheery holiday message for you: Bloomberg reports that “Negotiators have little chance of breaking this string of futility.”

Meanwhile, here at home, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts reports that the bipartisan “Tax Fairness Commission” definitely seems to be defining fairness as a graduated income tax, but it’s looking at everything including Proposition 2 1/2. And Gov. Deval Patrick has already declared war on the initiative petition to stop automatic gas tax increases. Just push those taxpayer activists over the cliff on a sled, Gov. Grinch. I predict that Christmas will come anyhow.

Yes, it’s time for the annual battles on removing Christ from Christmas, lighting “holiday trees” for some reason having nothing to do with the centuries-old celebration of the birth of Jesus. And look, there are sales at the mall, people standing in line, wait, are they fighting over the 50-inch televisions? Peace on earth indeed.

I could never understand why some people didn’t love Christmas as much as I did, but if it wasn’t for the lights in the neighborhood windows, the cards/newsletters from old friends, Celine Dion singing “O Holy Night” and of course the recurring lessons learned by Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch, I might be starting to dread the month of December myself.

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