The Season of Getting Part Four
Perhaps more than any other Christmas season in recent memory, this one has been a season of contrasts: it has been a season of extreme opinions, of extreme politics, of giving and getting - mostly on one side. But perhaps the biggest contrast is between the heartened and the hardened.
Tough To Take Heart
It's been tough this Christmas Season to find things that would make you take heart - give you hope. So very many things have surfaced regarding the hardened. For example: yesterday a discarded 10-week-old apricot poodle puppy was found barely alive on a conveyor belt in San Francisco's city dump. Animal Control named her "Gem" because they considered her a "diamond in the rough."
"Gem" actually serves as a symbol of the kind of throw-away, trickle-down economy we have. Instead of tending to her wounds and giving her up for adoption (or to a poor family who wanted her), she was cast away into a recycling bin. Maybe whoever threw her away thought some homeless person might rummage through the trash and find her. After all, they eat dogs in undeveloped countries, don't they?
Yes, that last was a cheap shot at the rich, but Gem's apparent worthlessness warrants a lot of cheap shots.
The Economics Of Limbaugh Scrooges And Pope Francis
Speaking of cheap shots, the pope continues to take them right and Right by personages such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity this Christmas Season because of his "trickle down economics is tyranny" statement. They called him a Marxist.
"The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended [to have been called a Marxist]. There is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church... The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor."
Or the poor get meager scraps from the table - like dogs.
Rich Kids - Love, Poor Kids - Guilt
The saying is true: Santa gives more to rich kids than he does to poor kids, and it's not just because the presents are too small to fit down drainpipes. It's because giving to the poor at Christmas time is merely a luxurious, gratifying pleasure resulting from a year-long guilt trip. The contrast to their own children is embarrassing. In the back of their minds, they come to realize that Francis is right: "trickle down" economics doesn't work. Time to make up for it. Just this once.
The Beautiful Ones
Francis also called the bombastic Christians (aka the Christian Right) "ugly." They undoubtedly have food drives and canned good bins "for the needy" placed prominently in their churches, but the way they have been trumpeting their Christianity ("There's a war on Christmas!") not only during the season, but all year long ( "We're so persecuted!"), tarnishes their Christian-ness. Their Tea Party liaisons and plethora of prosperity gospel preachers belie their true interests.
By contrast, Francis' statement implied that many progressive, social justice Christians are "beautiful". It also implied that "beautiful" people/souls need not necessarily be Christian. Francis has met "good" people full of heart from all races, creeds and ideologies. He probably has met some good atheists (shock!).
So the "beautiful" ones are those in which we must take heart. They are the ones the poor must depend upon - all year round. Depending upon people like Rush Limbaugh might lead you to finding your Christmas present in a recycling dumpster.