- 12/10, Mark Potok, Salon, FBI: Anti-Muslim hate crimes still up
- 12/10, Sandy English, World Socialist Web Site, New York City police arrest artist who created drone satires
- 12/10, Kimberly Dvorak, Washington Times, Homeland Security increasingly loaning drones to local police
- 12/10, Glenn Greenwald, Guardian (UK), Zero Dark Thirty: new torture-glorifying film wins raves
- 12/10, Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare, CRS Report on “Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents”
- 12/7, Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times Opinion Pages, An Appeal to President Obama’s Better Side
Archive for December 11th, 2012
This commentary was written by John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. It was originally published on December 10, 2012.
“Christmas—an aspirin for the soul or cold-turkey celebration of the birth and life of Christ? It has to be a measured bit of both, doesn’t it?”—Ian Anderson, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
What a year it’s been. We’ve had kids getting micro-chipped in the public schools. Congress, the courts and the White House working in cahoots to erode our privacy rights. The Transportation Security Administration fumbling its way through national security. Hurricane Sandy ravaging the Eastern shore. The police state merging with the surveillance state to keep us tagged, tracked and under control. The military industrial complex lobbying to keep the nation at war and defense contractors in the money. Individuals getting fined and arrested for violating any number of vague and overreaching laws. Homes getting raided and innocent Americans killed by rampaging SWAT teams armed to the hilt.
After endless months of being mired in gloom and doom, we now find ourselves just a few weeks away from Christmas, struggling to latch onto that spirit of joy, excitement, innocence, magic and hope we had as children. Even if one is successful in momentarily blocking out the political gloom and doom, it still takes a monumental effort to get past the Grinches and Scrooges who can you make you feel like yours is anything but a wonderful life. And then there’s Christmas itself, which has become embattled in recent years, co-opted by rampant commercialism, straight-jacketed bypolitical correctness, and denuded of so much of its loveliness, holiness and mystery.
Despite all of this humbuggery, however, there are still a few steps you can take to reclaim the magic of Christmas and enjoy the season. For a start, do something nice for someone else—whether it’s a family member, a neighbor or a stranger on the street. Turn off the news and turn on a Christmas movie, one of the oldies but goodies—something full of good will, sweetness and heart. And then, to top it all off, add some Christmas tunes to the mix, whatever fits the bill for you—be it traditional carols, rollicking oldies, or some rocking new tunes. What I love about Christmas music is how the sacred and irreverent meld into an atmosphere of joy and wonder.
Listen to them over dinner, in the car, on your iPod. Hum them under your breath as you do your shopping. Belt them out in the shower or while gathered together in a group setting. Before you know it, you’ll start feeling like it’s Christmastime again.
Out of the hundreds of Christmas albums I’ve listened to over the years, the following are ten of my favorites, covering a broad range of musical styles, moods and tastes, but each in its own way perfectly capturing the essence of Christmas.