Santa's gone, again. Whew ... hallelujah, just in time. I was about given out. Holidays are hard work.
Still, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and always will it be so. Even without small kids, even with the apprehensions and doubts of experience, even with the takings of time, even through the dour gaze beneath my ever more chiseled brow, it stands Shakespeare on his head. It is grand theatre well past imagining every hidden corner and surprising turn of the heart; it charges the heart to imagine its own mystery.
When it's gone, considerations of the present remain. So, what have we got? Herewith a quick rundown on what we've been trying to ignore and what it is time to face:
--- Republicans finally "lost" a high-profile showdown of sorts in the Congress. Never mind that their public complaint of dissatisfaction with a two month tax relief deal was obviously spot on correct from any logical standpoint. That was not the actual reason for the brief holdout. Alas, it never is. What they wanted was another pound of flesh out of the hides of the poor and the working class. This battle comes on. Stay tuned.
--- The Eurozone turmoil has gone into a period of relative quiescence. But the brutal moans of widespread pain and suffering by working people across the continent are about to sound forth. The temporary Christmas truce, like the famous one day battlefield event during WWI, will give way to raw struggle again as the hard facts of the ECB bailout of the eurozone banks in exchange for more economic contraction and hardship for the people is recognized.
---Then, there are the stunning and growing street protests in Russia. Not to mention Egypt. And, oh yes, the OWS campaign is not dead.
Meanwhile, the consumers here seem to be acting like the characters in the shopworn joke about campers stalked by a bear. One camper quickly laces on his boots, explaining to the other that he need not outrun the bear, just his fellow camper. Right now, those who have managed to avoid the shock of unemployment or its near term likelihood are behaving as though they have outrun their fellow workers. Now they can go shopping. It's human nature. Heaven help us all.