I know it's not really a holiday song, but lately it has been playing on a loop in my head. Every time I walk past the Salvation Army bell ringer at Wal*Mart, every time someone mentions the recession we are finally able to acknowledge we are in, every time someone mentions a food pantry (which is often when you work at a church during this time of year) That phrase immediately fires up in my brain:
I hate those people who love to tell you
money is the root of all that kills.
They have never been poor,
They have never known the joy
Of a welfare Christmas.
I generally don't appreciate being lectured at by rock stars, but Everclear got this one right way back when. They got a lot of political activist type things right, actually, in their music, which I can always appreciate.
Another song I heard recently for the first time is from P!nk, Dear Mr. President.
Wow. She doesn't usually do it live on tour when in the US, which I can understand. It's pretty clear to me that if the Dixie Chicks had said what they did now instead of at the beginning, there would have been no backlash, because now we all know what a crock of shit it all was, and economically we are paying the price.
Years ago, my grandfather told me something important about Presidential politics. I don't remember him being a very political person, he was kind of quiet and sweet and didn't really get into controversial current event topics much, preferring instead to dig into historical tomes. But one time he told me, no matter what happens, you don't knock The President of the United States. You don't talk bad about the person leading the country. You don't have to like him, but you support him, he is our leader.
I've tried to stick to that, believe it or not. For the past 8 years I have tried not to engage in conversation beyond that I think George W. Bush is an absolute idiot. There have been many times when I really could have gone off about how crazy and embarrassed the man makes me feel, but I haven't. Partially out of respect for the office, and partially because I get so angry it's hard to have a decent conversation with someone who wants to defend him, although at this point even the most ardent conservatives I know are sighing in total exasperation.
But, back to Christmas. So many more people will have a welfare Christmas this year than last. And probably next year, too, it will get worse before it gets better. I'm thankful that we are comfortable, if not a little tight, personally. I'm thankful for the chance to teach my children about poverty and food pantries and soup kitchens and how important it is to help others without experiencing it first hand, like this afternoon when we're taking Drew's cub scout den down to sort donations at Harvesters. I am thankful for stories like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Polar Express to show them what it means to love, to give, to help.
I'm thankful to be outside looking in at that life, today.