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Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2001 / 3 Teves, 5762

Michael Long

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Politics and Holidays -- The Christmas season has slowed down things considerably, especially my ability to process a single idea for a sustained amount of time. There are important matters occurring in the world just now, but with the irresistible smells from my wife's kitchen drifting into my office (and "drift" really is the word, by the way; I have just now tried vocabulary ranging from "roll" to "slam" and nothing else fits) it is difficult to focus on much besides anticipation.

Our little twin daughters are playing around my feet and have thus far made no complaints over my use of one of their plastic play chairs as a footstool. They are singing "Rudolph" and when they get to the last line, they segue back into the middle of the song, and keep going around and around. Our son, decamped before the TV, is waiting in his Redskins jersey for a football game to begin -any game will do. He has just now taken a break to ask for the first of what will be many times today if we are about to wrap Christmas presents.

You would be surprised if I told you how many times I have started this particular paragraph only to delete what I wrote. Osama bin Laden will almost certainly be captured or killed before Christmas. That is good news any way you slice it, but the relief of threat is not the same as pure, positive joy. After so much hate and death these last three months, and after so much demanding focus on the Justice portion of the Love and Kindness equation, thinking about the end of bin Laden - even the possibility of his form in, shall we say, lifeless repose - is not the kind of all-encompassing joy I'm hungry for just now.

That is not to say there isn't some good news out there. In particular, there was some wonderful thumb-in-the-eye stuff last week at a dinner for the too-cutely-named People for the American Way (PFAW) awards and fundraising dinner. Rocker Neil Young stood up in front of this head-in-the-sand crowd and, after accepting their twentieth annual America Is Sooo Evil But We Really Like Money and Power So We Live Here Anyway and Bitch About It award, said something that needed saying. Not only did he defend America's war on terror and our right to defend ourselves, he told the liberal crowd that they were wrong to bash John Ashcroft. That a little sacrifice is called for in these times. That temporary impositions on our rights are sometimes a necessity in a war. That sometimes it's not only impudent but also dangerous to bash every move made by the American government.

Then he sat down and ate their food.

Neil Young has just recorded a song called "Let's Roll," in tribute to the heroes of the September 11 flight downed in Pennsylvania. (Click here to listen to the song in Real Audio.) Recall that the makers of the TV show "The West Wing" produced a post-9/11 program lecturing us on how Terrorists Are People Too. I suggest you buy a few Neil Young CDs and turn off "The West Wing."

My other favorite December news also came at that People for the American Way As Long As It's Not Conservative Stuff dinner. Trey Parker, the co-creator of "South Park," declared that he and partner Matt Stone are Republicans, proving once again that liberals choose their friends based more on surface than substance - and this time their lazy habits turned into a most embarrassing moment for them.

Of course, anyone who has watched more than a few episodes of "South Park" knows that Parker loathes liberal "values." He and Stone have blasted casual (and not so casual) divorce, lefty spelunking in the Constitution for special rights for gays and ethnic minorities, and parents who are too busy with other things to teach their children right from wrong.

It says a great deal about People for the American Way As Long As It's My Way that they automatically assumed that a program with a lot of profanity in it was one of theirs.

As predicted a few paragraphs above, my son has just returned to ask if we will wrap presents anytime soon.

What matters, as you and I know, has little to do with politics and lots to do with little boys and Christmas gifts. You want some good news? Little children and a pretty wife in your house at Christmas is good news. Family, friendship, a little hope, a little peace and the greatest Good News of all: these are my Christmas wishes for you, and for the world.

JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


12/07/01: A war bigger than we know: Changing the future, slowly and surely
11/28/01: A Mid-Winter Night's Dream: A play in one fun act
11/20/01: A Lot of War Left To Fight
11/13/01: Guess who Clinton's apologizing for now: I'll bet you guessed right
11/02/01: Rules for Wartime: Rule Number One: Remember what's true
10/26/01: The Moral Case For Torture: Dirty hands don't always mean dirty souls
10/19/01: Questions for the Anti-War Crowd, Part II: What if someone took them seriously?
10/16/01: Questions for the anti-war crowd: If they question you, ask these back
10/12/01: The Jason Problem: Sometimes they only look dead
10/08/01: A little hindsight: A letter for readers in the future
09/28/01: Calling Bono: A plea to the pop culture elite to speak out
09/20/01: Encouragement from the Heartland, by mail
09/13/01: Bleeding time
09/07/01: The trailer-park taste of the public radio catalog
09/04/01: BRAVE NEW FREUD: Internet-based psychiatry may mean relief for those who have shunned treatment
08/17/01: First Amendment: Chickens home to roost
07/27/01: Dispatch From The Front: The Gun Control War
07/20/01: Summer song
07/03/01: It's a Wonderful Recount

© 2001, Michael Long