The Holidays: an expanding waistline, pretending to know all of my relatives names, playing Barbies with my nieces, watching Love Actually and recommitting myself to Hugh Grant (even though I am much better matched with Bill Nighy, sigh…), and going to church to celebrate the magic of the season and realizing I should spend much more time there.
Recent national events also made me recall the religious teachings I received when I was a young child, specifically the lesson taught in John 5: 1-47. In this passage, Jesus travels to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with all the other Jews and happens upon a lame man who is laying next to the Bethesda fountain. As Jesus often did, he spoke to those most disadvantaged and posed a question to the cripple. He simply said, “Would you like to walk?”. After a short time debating Jesus’ question, the man “yes”. Jesus responded, “Pick up your mat and walk”. Without questioning the possibility of walking after more than 20 without the use of his legs, the man stood up and walked- a true miracle! Stories like this are many in the bible and we as a nation witnessed something of a similar magnitude very recently….
The last Congressional session before the non returning members exit and the newly elected ones enter tends to produce as many results as my friend at the gym who runs at 4.3 miles per hour and doesn’t understand why her legs aren’t slimmer. Duhr, results requires effort!
Well it looks like our leaders (I am being quite generous with this term as it is the holiday season) actually got some laws passed. Here are a few highlights:
1. Bush Tax Cuts Continue: Oh goody, we all get to keep more of our money for now and pay for it later as this new legislation will add another trillion or so to our deficit within the next two years. I hope you all know how to say hello in Chinese, as we will all be singing their, soon to be our, national anthem when they call in our debt.
2. Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Finally, those who sacrifice their lives for our country are allowed to be honest about who they are. It’s about time. However, let’s hope they can contain their elation, until next year when the bill is signed into order.
3. America Competes Act: Basically our leaders are seeing that we are falling behind the global standards for economic and scientific leadership and this is our official federal effort to get back in the game. Yawn- this is sounding like my gym friend again.
4. Finally, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act will provide $4.2 billion in compensation and long-term health-care benefits for first responders who became ill from working at Ground Zero in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Although the bill had to be scaled back significantly from the original $7.4 billion because of concerns of how to pay for it, at least those who selflessly acted to save the people attacked that morning will now be able to get their medication, Dr. visits, etc. Then again, if our health care system wasn’t broken, this wouldn’t be an issue.
So, it seems that while dreaming of a nice long holiday break filled with sun drenched beaches on the tax payers’ dime (do those holidays get scaled back since we have our extended tax breaks?!), the Congress found time to actually get some work done! Mazel tov, a Christmas miracle indeed!