In addition to good little boys and girls, there are all kinds of
people out there who have been nice this year.
There are teachers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, law enforcement
officers and military personnel.
Not to mention school bus drivers, the men and women who restore our
power after a storm, road workers, secretaries, retail clerks and
Plus snowplow drivers, postal workers, delivery drivers, truckers,
pilots and flight attendants, cabbies and window washers.
We cant ignore sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives,
grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins
Then there are factory workers, assembly line workers, ditch diggers,
roofers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, small business owners and
public employees who must implement the nonsense enacted by
Lets not forget artists, singers, actors, house painters, roofers,
farmers... and volunteers.
There are more, of course. Despite our constant bitching and moaning,
to which I contribute a fair share, there are worthy people quietly
doing worthwhile things all around us every day.
Unfortunately, there are also those who have been naughty. We focus
our attention on them, the twits and ninnies in Washington and Lansing
who bray and trumpet the loudest, because their behavior can have a
direct impact on our lives. The worse their behavior or actions the
more intense our focus. (That we conveniently ignore those elected
officials who are honorable, decent people doing the best they can to
represent the interests of their constituents is a shame.)
Some of that naughty behavior has led to a difficult year and difficult
decade. Few are likely to mourn the passing of either. Weve had
terror attacks, are still engaged in two wars, are in the midst of an
historic economic mess and are looking at annual deficits and national
debts that are beyond our ability to comprehend.
We dont have to look far to find new incomprehensible naughtiness.
Weve now learned the Federal Reserve, which functions as our national
bank, sets monetary policy and establishes interest rates, has loaned a
truly staggering $12.3 trillion to the usual domestic bank suspects and
foreign banks in a dozen different countries. Thats
$12,300,000,000,000 for those of you who enjoy outrageous numbers. The
loans are nearly interest free and, in some cases, the Fed accepted
junk bonds as collateral. Congress was not informed nor was anybody
else, save the seven unelected members of the Federal Reserve Board of
Governors. Congress did not intend for the Fed to be the World Bank.
The money theyve spread around is, of course, our tax dollars, now
resting comfortably in places like Deutsche Bank in Germany and
Switzerlands Credit Suisse.
Very naughty, indeed.
Having said all of that, there are signs of political niceness. It
appears both President Obama and Speaker-to-be Boehner have recognized
the need to behave like grown-ups and are trying to be nice. That
their first legislative partnership an extension of the Bush tax cuts
for two years, a 13-month extension in unemployment benefits and a 2%
cut in payroll taxes for Social Security will cost somewhere between
$700 billion and $1 trillion is a little troubling but at least they
stopped kicking each other in the shins.
Regrettably, Harry Reid, who has yet to receive the lets-be-nice
message, continues his highly ineffectual leadership of Democrats in
the Senate, and Republican Mitch McConnell, who refuses to hear the
lets-be-nice message, continues to be way more interested in
partisanship than leadership. Naughty, naughty. Never mind well
work around them no matter what they do.
The essential greatness of our country has rarely been generated from
the top down. Its the other way around. Those of us at or near the
bottom, or maybe creeping toward the middle of the economic and
political food chain keep plugging away, working hard, paying our
taxes, keeping whats left of the economy alive.
More to the point, we do it fairly well regardless of the obstacles put
in our way by politicians and others who arent very nice. And there
have been obstacles aplenty.
Some of us have given our children or spouse or parent to war. Some
have lost jobs or homes. Others savings or pensions.
Still, good men and women of every socioeconomic, racial, religious and
ethnic stripe keep pushing forward. We support each other, both
knowingly and unwittingly. We give a dollar here or there to a
charitable cause. We volunteer. We help a neighbor or a friend with a
meal or a needed odd job. We drive someone to a doctors appointment.
We caress a babys cheek and comfort a stranger.
One of the beauties of this season is most everybody is nice. Whether
we honor Christmas as a holy day marking the birth of Jesus and
Christianity or a secular celebration of gifting and family gatherings
or both, we look for the good in each other. Well even offer some
good cheer to those we know have been naughty.
In the end, there are way, way more of us who are essentially nice than
there are those who are essentially naughty. So we move over, around
and through the naughty folks in our way and often with a smile on our
faces. We always have.
Santa knows whos been good or bad but so do we. And we dont need a
list to know there is more good than bad.