I hear the throes of a dying nation, and I feel the pain of a fractured union as I go through the motions and feel the emotions of the holidays, and as I remember my cherished memories of Christmases past. I think about my childhood, and about my parents and my family, and all those aunts, uncles and cousins who made Christmas and the holidays such a magical and wondrous time of year.
I remember the animation and the exhilaration of all the days before Christmas. The Christmas tree, the lights, the ornaments, the brightly-wrapped gifts under the tree, the aroma of freshly baked cookies, tamales and the warmth and affection that only love could disperse at this time of sharing and of caring.
It is that miracle on that silent night so long ago that still lives inside my heart and is a part of the soul that explains me and defines me. I am still the child, the boy, the young man, who lived and learned and dreamed of the promises of the stars when the world heard heaven and nature sing. I remember growing up in a world that embraced hope, inspired the imagination and inflamed the passion of the ordinary to become extraordinary. Those were the days that made me believe in tomorrow.
The joy once heard this time of year is fading, as the cheer and gaiety of the season is replaced by the solemnity and gravity of the words and conduct by those determined to destroy the foundation of our nation. I hear the rhetoric and self-serving pomposity of misguided and imprudent legislators and politicians, tossing denigrations, slurs and mendacities at each other — like tossing a grenade into the maelstrom of a crowded room.
I am left dazed and astonished at the sight and sound of the wounds our leaders are inflicting on each other and on our nation.
Already gone is the third rail of our democracy — the Justice Department. Now, I watch and wait as our Congress talks and votes itself into irrelevancy as well. And I ask myself, is that all that there is?
I hear the throes of a dying nation, and I can’t do anything but watch in horror as our leaders continue to dismantle the very fabric of our lives. And I ask myself, where has our greatness gone? Where are the patriots who have always come to our rescue? How did we lose the spirit of the America that once inspired the world? Where are those who still believe in tomorrow?
And I look around the house at the Christmas lights and the Christmas tree, and I cannot feel the joy or the glee that this season is supposed to bring. Instead, there is now an emptiness that has replaced the hope that Christmas used to bring. There is an insipidness that has overtaken my imagination, and a banality that has dampened my passion and my furor, as I continue to hear the rancor and animosity that has replaced the candor, decency and integrity that once explained and defined America.
And I hear the throes of a dying nation as Christmas carols begin to play, and children wonder whether they’ve been good or bad, and while others like me try to remember and to believe in tomorrow — despite the faltering echoes of the fracturing pillars of our democracy.
It is so hard to hear the throes of a dying nation — especially when that nation is my America.
Al Garcia lives in Palm Valley.