While many grow less merry, Trump brings tidings of great joy for just a few
Christians today light the candle of love in celebration of the second week of Advent, a season of getting ready for Christmas. Each Sunday for the four weeks preceding Dec. 25, purple candles symbolizing hope, love, joy and peace are lit and special prayers said in anticipation of receiving the most sacred of gifts. This year, that gift is a tax cut for fat cats.
Many but not all find comfort in the ritual of an Advent wreath and the retelling of the story about the miraculous birth of a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, but love – as in the benevolent concern for humankind – is universal. All major faiths aspire to cultivate compassion and loving-kindness.
Donald Trump would have you believe that under the presidency of his predecessor, Barack Obama, Christian Americans were prevented from celebrating Christmas. Trump claims to recall a bleak season of tyranny by liberal atheists who strictly enforced political correctness and marginalized white Christians for the sake of diversity.
Trump would have us forget the eight years the faithful and beautiful Obama family graciously opened the doors of the White House to the Holy Spirit and all other forces for good during the holiday season – on top of implementing policies that fought poverty and increased economic security. “Happy holidays” was hollow Obama diktat, Trump’s tweets suggest.
For years, Trump would also have had you believe – contrary to all evidence – that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
In the Trump-era Christmas story, Donald Trump is the savior. He saved the great-again American Christmas with tax cuts. Big, beautiful tax cuts.
“With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again, and it’s going to be done with a big, beautiful tax cut,” he said recently in Missouri.
It’s true many Americans are not celebrating as much as they used to and becoming less and less happy over time. Citizens of the most powerful and richest country on Earth also experience more pain compared to people in other countries. Lower-income families in particular have little hope their plight will improve – the first Sunday of Advent notwithstanding – according to a recently published study of Carol Grahanm’s book “Happiness for All?”
The big, beautiful tax cut in Santa Trump’s bag will increase the divide between rich and poor families and decrease access for many to health care and a ladder for social mobility. Taking away programs that support the health and security of children is contrary not only to fundamental Christian principles but to universal mores.
Americans of all faiths who profess love of humanity and this country should take note during this season of reflection – especially so-called Christian conservatives who profess being pious but act and vote profanely – too many of God’s children in the United States are hurting.
The BBC reported last week that children living in inner-city neighborhoods in America are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in rates higher than soldiers returning from war. Constant exposure by these kids to gun violence is causing physiological changes to their brains. Hypervigilance is becoming hardwired. The lack of ability to feel safe makes it hard if not impossible to learn useful skills, build trusting relationships and otherwise thrive and develop as contributing citizens. Gun murder rates in places like Atlanta and Chicago are off the charts, while rural children are going without adequate food or shelter.
Poised to increase the deficit by over a trillion dollars to pay for tax cuts that largely benefit corporations and very wealthy people, Trump and Congress are saying “Merry Christmas” by putting the Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides health care to 9 million kids on the chopping block.
In this season of brotherly love wouldn’t you love to see what policy solutions President Trump might propose to deal with the crisis of hunger and violence sickening and weakening American kids other than saying “Merry Christmas” again?
It’s the height of hypocrisy for the president and his Christian conservative friends in Washington to boast of their alleged righteous and superior Christmas credentials as measured by decorations at the White House or words uttered in speeches and embossed on greeting cards. The true Christmas story is one of good tidings of great joy for all people.
No child has ever wished for a big, beautiful tax cut under the tree.
While President Trump and conservative Christians get ready for Christmas during Advent they need only ask a simple question before casting a vote to further harm already vulnerable American kids by making it harder to live, love and learn in peace: what would Jesus do?