Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa's Looking for Some Help

This morning, back in Chicago, I ventured outside to get the papers. It sure looked like Christmas time--the whole street was white, snow was everywhere.

But the front page of the Chicago Tribune brought some un-cheery news, echoing news that circulated DC last week: charities that usually receive increased donations around Christmas time aren't getting the usual donations. It turns out this is actually a national issue.

[Here's some links: Tribune's story, Post's story, and DCist follow up.]

Of course people will look towards the economy, skyscraping gas prices, etc. for an explanation of this missing altruism. But I dare posit the idea that the lowering donations simply represents the realization of years of our administration's selfish activities. The lack of official global participation and "cheer" from our country's representatives is obvious and widespread. I believe it might be setting an example for the people.

Consider the Tancredo doctrine and our xenophobic immigration debates of late. Consider the political infighting on Capitol Hill, where selfish earmarks help take down important issues and despite all the democrats' so called reform, earmarks continue to take ridiculous amounts of money. (BIG Post story on earmarks here.)

Anyway, I realize it might be a bit of a stretch to say that the government is responsible for our misdeeds, but it's certainly true that the official discourses and attitudes up there aren't doing a whole lot to make us feel connected to one another.