Christmas And The GWOT

We're rapidly approaching our eighth consecutive wartime Christmas, and I suppose I should be used to the horror of it all by now. But no dice.

I'm not getting used to anything. Instead I'm realizing that I think of Christmas much as I think of the Glorious War On Terror.

You can read the rest here; your comments are welcome below.


Bob in Prague's picture


Cheers, WP! I concur wholeheartedly, and have an eerily similar list of my own. Spending my first Xmas alone since I can't remember when, I can follow my own agenda for a change. One small exception: at 5:00 this afternoon, when the smoking lamp gets lit around here, I'll lift a cup of kindness and take a slug of it to your good health!

Dear Bob,

What is a smoking lamp? It sounds intriguing.

Bob in Prague's picture

Smoking lamp

Dear Tsisageya, as I understand it, back in the square-rigger days a smoking lamp was maintained so crew members could light their pipes and cigars in a relatively safe manner. I continue the tradition by sparking up a fatty at the end of my business day. Works for me...

What about the kids?

You and me are both too far gone, WP. I hope circumstances catch up with both of us, and surprise us.

And I hope you find something - SOMETHING! - to warm your cold, icy soul in the coming weeks...

I'll be watching for the joy in my 3 year old baby's eyes. Even if the world ends next year, that's a moment that makes it all worthwhile. Say what you will.

And if nothing else will work, I'll spoil your non-party by wishing you and your family every happiness, because you certainly deserve it.

You have been a great comfort to me in dark times, over the years, when nobody else understood what I was going through, and I hope you find some hope to hold on to. A huge seismic shift in US society looms ever closer, and who knows what it might bring? Perhaps - perhaps! - people will wake up to the harsh reality.

At any rate, it will be interesting. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

I suspect, gandhi,

that you've been acquainted with Winter longer than I have, however, I would venture to guess that his soul is neither cold, nor icy.

It's Summer Here In Australia

... and he knows what I mean, thanks tsisageya.

it's BECAUSE of the kids

My heart would not be so broken if not for the kids.
If I didn't have kids, I wouldn't care half as much.
I know this because when I didn't have kids I didn't care half as much.

What Do Kids Know about Pessimism?

My own kids have no time at all for my negative vibes. If I get too down, they just avoid me. When I'm back, they are there for me.

The kids are the future. One way or another, they will survive. Learn from them.

I know it's not fair, I know they deserve better. But it is what it is. It's not YOUR fault.

For their sake at least, even if it's just pretend - like Santa Claus - I hope you can find some joy, my friend.

Maybe everything is just pretend. Maybe one day we wake up and somebody says, "You have done well."

It's taken me many years,

but, like Thanksgiving, 4th of July, and Easter, I've managed to give Christmas the heave-ho---for the most part. It really is good to know I'm not alone because it's a lot like living in a world of zombies who are deluded into thinking they have good intentions. Crazy.

My only exception is my four year old grand daughter. I find it impossible to speak of these things to her in a good, constructive way. She's very fortunate and doesn't know anything about war---yet. It's a real challenge.

Also, I hope that Muntathar al Zaidi---the shoe-thrower---is soon released, recovers from his beating, and lives to tell another tale. The same goes for all the victims of violence, war, and Christmas.

Some things will never be redeemed.

How 'bout a Charlie Brown

How 'bout a Charlie Brown style Christmas? A little tree, maybe with intact roots for planting, a big star for hope, a few friends for cheer, to call or write, and some quiet moments for thoughts on immortality and transcendence. If nothing else, Christmas reminds us of how much we wish our values were reflected in the world.
I just looked outside and it's snowing. I think I will take a walk, and reflect on all the goodness in the world that I was able to connect with this past year. One example: Winter Patriot's continued posts. That's a sign of hope for the new year and for times to come.
Peace, Love and Justice,
Laurie Dobson

Christmas: Good in the midst of evil

Conflating Christmas with the crazies' war on the universe is no good. Christmas is a celebration of the return of life and spirit and hope to the world. It is continuity in a world despising tradition and continuity. Enjoy it with your family to the fullest.

By this blog you are a leader of sorts. Do buck up.


and Thanksgiving is about peace with the Indians, 4th of July doesn't glorify war and genocide, and Easter is about bunnies laying decorated chicken eggs in plastic grass in honor of the resurrection of the Messiah who was born on December 25.

Here, have some rainbows and lollipops.

x2. "do buck up"? Alan


"do buck up"?

Alan Smithee? Is that you?


What's to buck up?

If I am a leader in any sense, it is because I have chosen to speak my mind, regardless of whether or not I expect my views to be popular.

If by "bucking up" you mean I should buy all sorts of cheap plastic shit from China and stick it on my house, then I'm sorry but I prefer to buck down.

And the same goes for fruitcake, and alcohol, and so on ...

Maybe I will take a day trip to visit my father -- who made it clear many years ago that politics may no longer be discussed in his presence, but who had the nerve to forward me some pro-war email last spring -- but if I do go to see him it won't be with any joy in my heart.

He's part of the problem. So are all the other people like him. I weep for what they have done, and what they have allowed to be done, in the name of material progress and shabby patriotism and a nasty stack of lies which they have chosen to swallow. I am especially saddened at what it has done to my kids -- his grandchildren. He doesn't even seem to care. And he definitely doesn't want to talk about it. Which always makes for a lovely visit. Talk about continuity. Merry Christmas to you too.

admin's picture

thanks WP

Thanks for making me feel like I'm not the only crazy one for hating this holiday nonsense. This time of year always gets me down, with the limited daylight and endless societal pressures. But THANK YOU for making me laugh today;
"If by "bucking up" you mean I should buy all sorts of cheap plastic shit from China and stick it on my house, then I'm sorry but I prefer to buck down."
I heartily concur Merry Xmas

Go and see your father

and take nothing but love in your heart.

He won't know what's hit him.


Xmas is just a reworked Winter Solstice celebration. Our so-called religious festival is merely a continuation of older festivals. Just another excuse for a party at the most miserable,cold and boring time of the year.Any idea you may have concerning the validity of the Xmas Spirit etc. is a little redundant. It never was real as the gods the Ju-Ju crowd worship are all nonsense anyway. The business world loves xmas,as long as it is profitable and the rest of us go along with it anyway.Especially if children are involved. Every social group on the planet has some form of 'fiesta' as it seems necessary for us humans to have a day off, where the least among us can feel recognized as an individual by the group,and appreciated as an individual,to feel 'special' just for a minute or two.Evil exists in the behaviour of men and given opportunity evil will dominate if allowed by other men. The overall culture of the U.S. is violent and violence like xmas is profitable. So relax and marvel at your own clarity of analysis. Xmas is bullshit and War is Evil. Thank you for all your good work ,here on this site and no doubt elsewhere. We, the readers, know too and consider your work to be important and your sentiments to be proper and worthy of a true man,a Winter Soldier.Regards to all who read this and I must re-iterate the desire we all have for 'Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men. Denis Foley (Nelson B.C. Canada)

Bob in Prague's picture

Xmas (Ahem!)

Xmas marks the end of the shortening of the days and marks the beginning of their lengthening, and, thus, of hope reborn. Living in central Europe (it's deceptive-sounding - were Prague to be slid over to North America it would lie 300 or so miles north of the northern tip of the great state of Maine), I know this well. A week from now it will be DARK at 4:00 in the afternoon, and will stay so until 8:00 the next morning. I'm talking night-dark, not dawn or dusk. Add to that climatic inversions over the deep valley Prague lies in, and the vile air quality, and, well, it doesn't take much imagination to see that hope is a most desirable thing. Winter, I hope you can take the extra leap - a year ago I was watching, helpless, as my dear wife starved to death for about 7 weeks. I vowed to get her to laugh every day, at least once, and, Lord be Praised, I succeeded. I know it made a difference. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic isn't as idiotic an idea as it might first sound. Please find something to take joy in, brother, even it it's nothing more than the love that the denizens of your nonpareil site feel for you and yours...


I understand your sentiments and concern here, and Winter Patriot certainly does not need me to speak for him but I must overstep my boundaries and do it anyway. That is, I remember, at Thanksgiving, this particular post. I think you can rest easy, in other words.

P.S. I trust your wife is doing better now. It sounds as if she is fortunate to have you, and vice versa, of course.
I'm thankful to still have a home. I'm thankful to have a mostly-functional family. Not everyone can say either of these things, let alone both.

I'm thankful to still have a job. Not everyone can say that.

I'm especially thankful to have a job that engages my mind to such a degree that I can occasionally forget, for a moment or two, that we're all still complicit in the most horrible crimes. Not everyone can say that, either.

I'm thankful that my emotions still work. Sad news and sad songs still make me cry -- like a little kid, sometimes. That's rare in adults. But I still have it, along with my thinning gray hair.

I'm thankful to play music. Somehow I left all my guitars in the closet for almost 20 years, but I've got them out again now, and I play them all as often as I can. Last night I practiced acoustic and steel, and taught electric and bass. My classical guitar is in the shop. I am thankful to have all these different guitars, and to be able to play them all. I'm even thankful for the intolerable old man who drilled music theory into my head, against my will, for six long years.

But these are all private blessings. I can't share them with my friends, or my neighbors; some of them I can't even share with my family. And it feels rude -- unconscionably selfish -- to be thankful for so many things that so many other people don't have, and that I can't give them.

After figuring all this out, and settling down a bit, and overcoming some of my anger, I began to realize that I had left something off the list -- something I do share with my friends; something I can share with anyone who wants some.

I'm talking now about my blog, and our community blog, and the group of people, from all over the world, who have congregated around them. It's not the largest group that ever gathered around a blog; and it's not the largest blog either -- so what?

I am thankful to have readers who come back; who care about people they have never even met; who have valuable insights and questions about the world and who value my opinions about it; who leave me comments and send me email and tell me things I never would have thought of myself, some of which make me think, learn, and weep.

Without you, the rest of it would be intolerable. And if my angry post yesterday gave you a different idea, I apologize.

I'm with you . . .


You've bucked me up in the past, so maybe I can return the favor.

In your response to me a while back you said something along the lines of "Things are bad but you get into a space where you feel energized by it" - very far from an exact quote, I'm just trying to draw on the spirit of your comment.

I'm indifferent to most of these concocted holidays too. I think we should be "celebrating life" and gift-giving everyday without being prodded by a massive consumer ad campaign.

I will say that in this historic, tragic time when everything is falling apart we should take every chance to get closer to the other people in our little sphere of influence. "The holidays" in the best sense of the concept is about taking the time to do that. Now is the time - probably more than ever before in our lifetimes.


Amen. It wouldn't hurt the


It wouldn't hurt the poor kids of America to re-examine what "Christmas" means. It wouldn't hurt the kids of America to skip this ridiculous celebration of consumerism and materialism. It wouldn't hurt them one bit to have to buck up and face reality, which means that it wouldn't hurt them to see that America's celebration of consumerism and materialism is not the only way to live as a human being.

Perhaps a bit of stock-taking is in order.

Personally, I feel similar to what WP described in this essay, have felt so since Mr Bush's 9/11. I do not participate in "Christmas" any more. And I ask my family & friends to respect that.


WP, I agree with your sentiments entirely. There is so much irony here in this whole christmas thing. As Denis Foley remarked further up, Christmas is the continuance of the Winter Solstice festival (the birth of the new Sun!). Emperor Constantine included it in his new state religion that he formed when he shanghaied Christianity to form the Roman Catholic Church. (Jesus was born in September some time.) Much else was incorporated from the two other major religions at the time, Mithraism and the other I can't remember off hand. The Old Testament with its violence (genocide) and domination (wars of occupation) was also given a new lease on life. The Gospel of Peace was buried under it all. We are living in the consequences still.
So the irony is that the Christmas Festival, for me, marks the birth of much evil.
For all that though, I have spent Christmas alone and it is not a happy experience. My thoughts will be with you Bob( in Prague).

James, I love this.

The Gospel of Peace was buried under it all. We are living in the consequences still.
So the irony is that the Christmas Festival, for me, marks the birth of much evil.

But this, as well.
For all that though, I have spent Christmas alone and it is not a happy experience. My thoughts will be with you Bob(in Prague).

Bob in Prague's picture

Thank you, James,

for the kind thought. I won't really be alone, at least not all day. I've managed to set a little cash aside and will be handing out modest little grants to some of Prague's unfortunate homeless a week from this afternoon. It really doesn't matter what they spend it on, as long as they derive some measure of comfort from it, although, of course, I'd rather see them get something hot to eat than something cold to drink. Other than that, in the evening I'll spend some time with soem of my in-laws, who lost not only my Anna but her mother as well this terrible year. The world is certainly nothing like it would be were it up to me to design it, but then the fact is that no one can control what goes on around oneself, one can only control one's own reactions to it all. My choice this year is to celebrate the love I feel for my fellow human beings. The fear and loathing will certainly come snarling back all too soon anyway. Peace and love to you all. We're all inexpressibly fortunate to be alive.


I gave up on religion a few years back. But still enjoy Xmas because of the family. I see it as a time when most, if not all, our family gets together and reaknowledges our love for each other. Some of us are in constant contact,others on the periphery (especially on my hubby's side).
Otherwise I agree with you WP. No ornaments in or on this house. Just love inside it and much frustration and anger at the way the rest of 'civilization' continues to act .
I send my best wishes for a brighter future to you and all the people, from around here, who have taken off the rose coloured, tinsel covered glasses.

P.S. Although the Old Testament is not all bad.

For example, in the book of Isaiah where it speaks about fasting...(When you're angry, there is nothing like the book of Isaiah.)...I think Winter Patriot has been fasting accordingly.


Isaiah 58

True Fasting

1 "Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

Speaking of the Old Testament,

If you want to be religious, let's do this.

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9 You shall break[a] them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,[b] lest He[c] be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Gives Me Goosebumps

-and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday. -

Every time I read something out of that book it makes me feel better. And if I follow it's example (such as this one) I feel twice as good. If it were a Led Zeppelin album it would be called "Whole lotta wisdom". In the past I was not able to read it with an open mind and it confused me, but I am older and can read it on my own terms.

I'm right there with you Winter. Don't feel ashamed for the way you feel; you are right. It is like a nightmare witch we cannot awake from. You are just like Solomon; much sorrow to be had. No way in hell can we "unlearn" this stuff. It's there for good, but those people who are closest to you may not understand.

christmas & GWOT

Like you I am very disillusioned with the country I was born in---amerika----I share your feelings right down the line. However, I will go along with the celebratory stuff for the sake of my precious, 20 month old daughter and the rest of my family who haven't awakened yet from their slumber to realize what is going on in the world. But, I am wanting to give my daughter as much of a normal beginning to life as I can; later on I will begin letting her in on what amerika is really all about now, and what it should have been. Hopefully, she will with her generation be able to rescue this country from where it is going---and hopefully won't blame me and her mom for not even trying to change anything---in other words, I can only hope she won't judge us too harshly.
Personally, I think the "jig is up" on amerika and has been since a cold day in November of '63, when hope was murdered, and we as a people allowed the elite few to get away with it....the final nail in this nation's coffin was firmly struck in on a cold day in January '81, when we elected an actor who had an IQ smaller than the monkeys he starred with.
I am begining to ramble....sorry.

best wishes to you WP


I don't come from a tradition that celebrates Christmas. However, I still think its important to have some kind of ritual every year to mark good cheers, family and friends. The commercialism surrounding Christmas is indeed perverse, but it's not all bad.

Fasting Allows Silence

God is best heard in the silence. Silence consists of a lack of sound. It's like a blank page waiting for writing. When you fast, you clear out some of the clutter inside of you because your initial wants and self-interests can get in the way of God's voice. Clear that up a bit and you allow God to speak to you. Happy fasting!
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