The “Ticked Off” section of my local paper had contributors calling others “idiots” and worse.
The murder rate proceeded at a steady pace, with guns being the most popular weapon of choice.
Inconsequential differences resulted in death. In one such case a man shot another as the result of an argument about loud music and in a second the murder followed a disagreement concerning placement of a light.
Snatch and grab gangs broke store windows and made off with merchandise in seconds including one haul of a million dollars in purses, some of which were valued at over $100,000. Of course, purses worth that are a crime in themselves.
Celebrities continued to be accused of sexual assault, probably a tiny percentage of what went on among those not famous enough for news coverage.
Public school students threatened, bullied, fought, and hinted at shootings.
Former President Trump indicated he’ll hold a rally January 6 one year after the insurrection and Capitol breach.
The Bidens, in an attempt to bring Christmas Eve cheer to some lucky kids via NORAD’s tracking of Santa’s worldwide ride, had a pleasant conversation with one family until the father said, “Let’s go Brandon” and hung up.
I think it was this last incident that upset me the most. It just seems so indicative of the depths to which we as a nation have sunk. Whatever happened to common decency and respect for others?
Of course, thank goodness, there still was plenty of that.
Neighbors wished you a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year or Happy Holidays.
Dedicated volunteers and employees worked hard to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and cure the sick.
Salvation Army Santas rang their bells and offered holiday wishes.
Harried store personnel tried, for the most part, to convey the holiday cheer.
The James Webb space telescope successfully launched to initiate an incredibly complicated series of events that must all work perfectly for the mission to succeed.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas continued to light up our screens, along with It’s a Wonderful Life and a multitude of other holiday classics.
Parents sacrificed and did whatever they could to bring the season’s joy to their children.
Given the good as well as the bad, I found myself wondering if the conditions I’ve described are really different from the way they’ve always been, or am I just becoming a disgruntled jerk. After all, there always have been obnoxious people and criminals during the holidays.
My conclusion, though, is that the current situation is different from the past. It is a significant step backwards for our communities and nation. I have been reading a biography of Kurt Gödel, a brilliant logician who proved an amazing result when he was 24. A significant part of his life occurred between the two world wars when Austria, where he lived, transformed from a democracy to a fascist state.
Those times included hatred and violence against the Jewish population, fascist groups willing to physically attack current standards, disruptions of schools and universities for not thinking “right,” and a denigration of science and learning in general.
That description of Austria reminded me all too clearly of the same lack of respect and thinking and brutality that occurred over the recent holidays. I have been convinced for some time that our democracy is in danger. I have seen nothing to alter my view.
Too many people these days eschew the holiday spirit with a willingness to confront, disrespect, and physically harm.
I dread to think where we will be in December 2022.