Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Spirit, American Politics, and the Sub-Arctic Heatwave

It is the early morning, pre-dawn, here in Lakeside, Montana. Di is at work and I came along for the ride and the excellent WiFi connection. I also have a fear of winter road conditions and would not be able to rest knowing that Di was on those roads alone in the middle of the night. Some would call me over-protective; others would call me sweet. Di calls me most helpful, though she feels a little guilty for my getting up at 2:30 am. It is no bother. We’re on the same schedule. This morning began at a balmy 37 degrees. The snow is melting, then re-freezing, then melting in a schizophrenic water world that leaves the walkways treacherous and the roadways a combination of slushy and possibly icy. I’m glad I drove Di to work. Saint Nicholas Day was a great success for us. Feedback began almost immediately that the kids were all excited that Santa came to give them cadotjes. I think they realize this is a good omen for their Christmas treasures to come, and they feel particularly lucky that Santa comes to their house twice. It pays to know a Dutchman, let me tell you. You may have noticed that I have studiously avoided politics in my last few blogs. That is mainly because I don’t see much happening in that world since the last election, or for the foreseeable future. I must comment: the Republican Party will claim this election as a mandate from the people, a mandate for change. In reality, it is a mandate for the status quo given largely by not showing up. Only 36.4% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the midterm election, the lowest percentage since World War Two (when some voters were slightly distracted). The fact that the Republicans won both houses only shows that they remain better able to get their core out on election day. The rest of us are either lazy or disillusioned, ignorant or apathetic. I don’t know, and I don’t care. The people have spoken and the Silent Majority is back, if it ever left. And if the Republicans think their victory shows how poorly the President is doing, I would remind them that he has an approval rating of 43%. That is not good. But Congress has an approval rating of only 15%, roughly a third of his. I would act cautiously if I were them, and seek cooperation. If you’re climbing the mountain of public opinion, it is better to do so with a lifeline firmly attached to all members of the climbing party and a pretty good idea of the correct footholds on the mountain face. Democracy itself hangs in the balance, and the world is watching. As for me, I’ll be watching a plethora of Christmas movies in the days ahead. Not even American politics can dampen my Christmas Spirit as I await Santa’s second visit – Ho Ho Ho!

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