People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The W In Christmas

A wonderful Christmas story:

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old.

For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is.

Written by Candy Chand of Rancho Murieta.

It is a Merry Christmas.

Roanoke Times Opposes ... Me

I came out strongly in favor of democracy the other day (read it here). It is my considered opinion that the citizenry in the USA is smart enough and well-educated to the point where they - we - should be allowed to decide for ourselves how we are going to govern ourselves. We should make those decisions by direct referendum.

The Roanoke Times disagrees. The folks there prefer that we maintain our permanent, full-time, professional class of politcians and bureaucrats to make decisions for us in this "complex" world of ours.

An editorial:
Reject referendums for Roanoke
The city is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.
Boy, I hope they come up with a stronger argument than that. We can't do it differently because to do it differently would be different from the way we do it?

Actually, the Times editorialist is concerned that the referendum process allows for our elected officials to run from the tough decision-making. While that's probably true, it misses a bigger point. I think we can do away with the numbskulls all together. Or at least drastically curtail their activities. And cut their pay. And administrative budgets.

And there's a much larger point. We own this thing we call America and yet, too often, we come away feeling like we're powerless in our own country. Flag burning, the mere mention of Christ in public schools, and the seizure of private property through eminent domain are just a few of the issues today about which we share a sense of hopelessness.

This need not be. We should be allowed - by God, we demand the right - to set our own course. To shape this nation in a manner that we deem most appropriate. Let's put it to a vote.

It's time to unleash the masses. Take the shackles off. We'll be slaves to the system no longer. Rather than give me state senator Phil Puckett's website address (he is still alive, right?) and suggest that I send him an email voicing my concern about these things, how about if we ask Phil to go out and get a real job; that we're going to deal with OUR issues OUR way. The democratic way.

Power to the people!

Lowlife Executed In California

For those of you who argue that capital punishment doesn't serve as a deterrent, I submit that Tookie has been deterred from preying on any more innocent victims. Forever.
Gang Founder Is Executed in Calif.
By Evelyn Nieves, Washington Post Staff Writer

SAN QUENTIN, Calif., Dec. 13 -- Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a gang leader-turned-peace advocate whose cause drew worldwide attention, was executed in San Quentin's death chamber Tuesday morning after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied his last-ditch plea for clemency and the Supreme Court refused to block the execution. (
"Peace advocate." That's amusing. If I were about to light up like a Christmas tree in an electric chair somewhere, I'd be in favor of "peace" too.

Tookie had a chance to make good with his life. Instead he chose to destroy the lives of others. He's gone. And will soon be forgotten. Good riddance.

A Portent

It's not just Southwest Virginia that's feeling the pinch:
China moves past the U.S. in tech exports
By Jeffrey Sparshott, The Washington Times

China last year surpassed the U.S. as the world's top exporter of high-tech communications and information products such as cell phones, laptop computers and digital cameras, according to a study released yesterday.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report highlights China's rapid rise as an economic power and a manufacturing hub for sophisticated electronics. (link)

While our elected leaders concentrate on the next entitlement to be handed to the voters and business strategists tout "quality of life" issues as being the key to economic recovery here in the USA, the Chinese focus on producing quality commodities and reducing costs.

There was a time - not long ago - when we did the same. We need to relearn that which our forebears practiced. Before we're all slinging kung pow chicken for a living.

May God Give Me Strength

In my weaker moments (fortunately there aren't many), I think we should just go along with the rest of the civilized world and agree to whatever anti-global warming strategies other countries come up with. None of them have any intentions, it now becomes clear, of adhering to their agreements anyway. So what difference does it make?

And the upside would be that the frightened souls at the New York Times would be able to get a good night's sleep - until, that is, they start thinking of the next crisis that is surely going to end the world - like child obesity or some such.

Today, they run scared. The earth is heating up - again. In the recent global warming meetings just ended in Montreal, where the earth's temperature rose a degree (Celsius) from all the hot air and flatulence emissions, George Bush has told all those signatories of the Kyoto Protocol to go jump in a rapidly warming, insecticide-polluted, mercury-tainted, ebola-infested lake and the editorial staff at the Times is having a snit fit. An editorial:
America's Shame in Montreal

The best that can be said of the recently concluded meeting on climate change in Montreal is that the countries that care about global warming did not allow the United States delegation to blow the whole conference to smithereens.

At least the Americans' shameful foot-dragging did not bring the entire process to a complete halt, and for this the other industrialized countries, chiefly Britain and Canada, deserve considerable praise. (
Here's where the weaker side of me takes over. Just sign the damn thing, George. Whatever the agreement says. It doesn't matter. As shown the other day (here), the signatories to the original Kyoto global warming treaty have done absolutely nothing to meet the requirements of the document's mandates. Heck, we can do that too.

I'm reminded too that people like those who cower behind drawn curtains at the New York Times are easily appeased with such an empty gesture. Remember how they went away triumphant when Congress passed ozone depletion (anti-chlorofluorocarbon) legislation? Why, the problem with the earth's upper atmosphere disappeared overnight.

So maybe we should just appease these morons. And sign the treaty. Maybe a different treaty every day. Shoot, sign the same one every day, George. They won't notice the difference. Bill Clinton made an art out of waging relentless war on all fronts and having - in the end - accomplished nothing after eight full years as the leader of the free world (it says something about the mindset that Little Willy is going down in history as our first black president, for Christ's sake).

On the other hand, perhaps we should (lift the rock underneath which they're hiding and) look these people straight in the eye and say "Calm down. The world is not ending. Now or ever. Daddy won't let anything happen to you."

And drop the rock.