This Little Blog of Mine

The image from 2018 that remains relentlessly with me this holiday season is a picture of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, caged in chain-link detention on sixty square feet of lawn at the Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis. Here’s the photograph credited to Ebony Cox in the Washington PostHoly Family Detained.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Like my hero Kurt Vonnegut, I was once a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, living about a half mile from that noisy speedway, a banked oval of repetition I never entered. I knew then that Indiana was a slave state pocked with churches and rabid with Republicans, and I could not wait to escape.

Still, some people I knew in Indiana were, and are, fine people. Education had not yet been crippled by narrow thinking and hidden agendas because I actually attended a Civics class at Northwest High School, where I first learned of the threat to democracy posed by the Electoral College.

Everywhere I go, I'm gonna let it shine.”

Sitting here on the eve of my favorite holiday, I’m dreaming of the only wall that matters to me: the one between church and state. As Christopher Hitchens used to say, “Mister Jefferson, build up that wall.”

That fenced family haunts me. I remember my youthful religion well. I remember thinking, with snow and night beyond my window, how terrible travel would be in a snowy winter and what a shame that a man and a pregnant woman would be offered only a stable as shelter.

And then, again, that image of the fence around our favorite Western mythical figures returns to me, and I remember, that was in Indiana. Indiana, for God’s sake! And I think to myself, there’s still light in the world.

All up in my house, I'm gonna let it shine.”

The nation I love is a house divided against itself by our fellow citizens. Our government is in chaos as the GOP sells branch after branch to the rich, who, wrapped in the flags of church and state, believe only in wealth, recalling their crime boss Don Johnny Dump once said, “Money is how you keep score.” Youth waves the flags of losers defeated by our and theirgrandparents and great-grandparents, cheering the return of the good old days of racism, sexism, slavery, and the Gilded Age. And now, many misled citizens are willing to make every American pay for a five-billion-dollar-plus border wall between imaginary fears and imaginary safety after swallowing the orange lie that construction would be financed by the poor brown nations of elsewhere. And all of that just to say, “Merry Christmas.”

Out there in the dark, I'm gonna let it shine.”

My favorite holiday? The Winter Solstice Cosmic Revival. For me, this season is all about celebrating the sun. From winter to summer, every day will be brighter. Stand up. Look with me toward the light. Do the bright thing. And now, may this little blog shine.

Eric Shaffer