The first twenty-four days of December are Advent, the official Christmas season. There is an old tradition of marking the days of Christmas with a special “calendar” of small gifts, pieces of candy, a set of Christmas ornaments to be hung on the tree one by one. To mark the days of the season. To ease the anxiousness of young children curious about what Santa will bring.
This year, my Advent Calendar is buried in a storage container. Instead, I will mark the days of Advent online, recounting the gifts of democracy, as I see them.
No spoilers, no preview of what you will see, but a bit on what you won’t. You won’t find material wealth guaranteed. You won’t find a right to cars or houses or fine furniture or clothes or TVs. You won’t find jewelry or vacations or vacation houses. Government handouts, actually, are few and far between. Neither corporate or personal. Neither defense industry or civilian side. No home mortgage interest deduction, no public housing, no food and nutrition programs. No Social Security. No public schools. No transit, no interstate highway system.
In a year when many Americans have less money, less stability, less security, when our political leadership can’t decide what it wants, when we have more and more People living on the edge, on the streets, not knowing what will pay for the next few months or weeks, yet a noisy group of privileged few complain about the sanctity of their lifestyle, perhaps it is time—as they say in the World of Science—to go back to first principles and review “what America is about.” Focus on what we do have, and not on what we don’t.
So every day for the next twenty-four I will open a new gift, a little piece of Democracy, and ask you to enjoy it with me.