Ever since I was old enough to remember Christmas, I’ve loved this time of year. To paraphrase a classic old holiday song, Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It is a time when we gather as family and friends and share the warm feeling of giving. As a child I can recall fondly the magical feeling that the holiday season would bring me and my brother, as we anxiously counted down the days to Christmas, hoping that we would see our favorite toys under the tree. Sometimes we got all of what we wanted; sometimes we didn’t but, to quote the great legendary singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder, “we were happy with the joy the day would bring.”
Today, as an adult with children of my own, I now understand a lot of the financial strain that the Christmas holiday must’ve put on my poor single working-class mother, who sometimes worked two jobs just see to it that her boys never saw the kind of barren Christmases that permeated her own impoverished childhood. And on those Christmases when we complained about not getting the latest toy or as many gifts as we’d like, my mother would always remind us that we weren’t the only ones; there were kids who didn’t have any of the things we had. Therefore we should be thankful for what we did get. It was mama’s kind, loving and giving spirit that cut through all of the crass commercialism that my immature mind was being bombarded with and taught one fundamental thing about this holiday—it’s not about getting, it’s about giving. And if you got it to give, do so with a joy in your heart. Most importantly, don’t wait or limit your generosity to holidays—give what you can, as often as you can, all year round. To whom much is given, much is due.
This is the essential message that I wish the wealthy of our nation, the so-called 1 percent who collectively own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. This is the same small group that has benefited from 20 or more years of GOP-inspired tax breaks and government policies that contributed to an unprecedented income gap between the rich and the rest of us. But instead of giving with an open heart, as billionaire Warren Buffet and others are willing to do for the greater good, the Rich and the Republican cronies would rather play Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead of offering help by sharing more of their vast wealth in the form of paying more taxes, they’d rather pass the buck on to the working and middle class, dismantle unions along with our nation’s social safety net and let the majority of us suffer.
So this Christmas I wish that the ghost of Christmas past, present and future visit the 1 percent and their Republican friends and show them the error of their egocentric ways.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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