NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 15, 2012

Column: Desperately seeking ‘wise men’ in fiscal cliff negotiations

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

Though St. Nicholas tried to secure the red sledge,

It just weighed too much, and went over the edge.

Paraphrasing Clement C. Moore, “The Night Before Christmas”

Somehow Christmas isn’t the same this year. The colored lights brighten my upstairs windows, the little tree is on a shelf in the living room, Christmas music is playing as I address cards to family and friends I won’t see during the holidays; but something isn’t quite right.

As I work my way through my address book, I find myself wondering if the prospective card recipient voted for Obama and if he or she did, should I save the cost of the stamp? However, some of the known Obama voters are family members I can’t just ignore.

This year my Christmas newsletter begins: “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Winter Solstice, unless as predicted by the Mayans, December 21st is the end of the world as we know it, in which case, might not be too joyous. Maybe they were just referring to the election ...”

Another thing that seems “off” this year: that annoyingly naive “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” greeting. There’s been peace in our own history’s part of earth only once that I know of: the so-called Pax Romana of roughly 200 years, between 27 BC and 180 AD.

The definition of Pax Romana by the Collins English Dictionary: “an uneasy peace, one imposed by a powerful state on a weaker or vanquished state.” Republicans and tea party activists: nothing to carol about here. Peace just means giving in and giving up.

Here’s an example of Pax Obama: the president wants “to ask the rich to contribute more.” Well, what happens if the rich, when asked to “contribute more”, respond “no thanks”? Does Obama say, “OK, didn’t hurt to ask ...”

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