Sunday, January 19, 2020

Banish politics for the holidays

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 18, 2019)

The Holiday Season is the main time of year when traditions come alive. Everywhere you look, someone's tradition will be on display; from house decorations, to clothing, to food and music. These are the ones visible to the world-- many more traditions are practiced at home among family and friends. Almost everyone has some sort of holiday tradition they've passed down through the generations.

Holiday traditions can be a lot of fun. They provide a common thread running from the past to the present and into the future and they give people something familiar to anticipate. Even kids who complain that a tradition is silly might be secretly disappointed if it were skipped.

My family looks forward to our old traditions, and we've gained a few new ones over the years, too. I miss the traditions which have died out during my lifetime, but some were so tied to family members who are no longer with us that there's no way to revive them.

Traditions don't have to be the same for everyone. If you enjoy it, keep it up.

Holiday traditions remain a positive experience because they are voluntary. Even if you don't particularly enjoy one or two specific practices, no one in your family is likely to hold you at gunpoint to make you participate. They may use guilt, but you can always opt out and deal with any fallout later. It's still your choice.

And if it isn't your choice, maybe you need less controlling family members.

One thing I find sad is when people mistake stagnation for tradition. "This is how it has always been done", so there's no reason to look for a different or better way.

Political traditions are of this sort. Not only are they stagnant, but those who follow them want to use force to make everyone else follow them, too. Sometimes this force is in the form of legislation; other times it skips that step and goes straight to physical force to encourage compliance. Imagine a tradition so weak it can't survive without being forced on people. I have no use for this kind of thing.

If you want to follow coercive political traditions, at least go into them with your eyes open. And respect those who don't wish to participate.

I hope you are able to banish politics from your holiday season... and from the rest of your life. It could be the start of a worthwhile tradition.

Thank you for helping support

1 comment:

  1. A cruelty of modern American politicians is that they have gotten into a habit (or addiction) of either procrastinating some horrendous spending bill or budget bill to Christmas Eve, or creating mindbending divisive controversy to the last week before Christmas. It's happening every damn year. As if they are consciously yelling at us, "Look at me, "Give me power for Christmas", fight among yourselves, division is strength, peace is evil. Oh, hell, I hate them with undying passion.