Friday, December 25, 2015

Of Sad Snowglobes and Crestfallen Advent Calendars

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. (I've covered that silly tempest in a teapot many times before.)

Among the many commercials that have blasted us over the past month, two similar ad campaigns have been for cars I can't afford. One of them explains that there is a snow globe for every family, and we see a few examples of happy families or of children experiencing the joy of Christmas. Another shows tabs of an advent calendar being lifted, and similar happy holiday scenes on the other side.

Those scenes might not be as happy for some other people, though. People can feel sadness or disappointment at any time of the year, but Christmas somehow has this amplifier effect. When I see the snow globes, I'm picturing someone alone at her kitchen table on Christmas Eve, looking at pictures of her siblings and their families and children, and wondering if she'll ever get to experience that herself. Behind the tab on the advent calendar we find someone spending his first Christmas without the spouse who has just divorced him, or without a parent he's recently lost.

Have a season filled with cheer, but leave some place in your hearts for these people who aren't as fortunate. Or as jolly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Judging Many for the Actions of a Few

When terrorists from ISIS killed 130 people in Paris last month, we were told -- rightfully -- that most of those who practice Islam are horrified by the killings, and that they should not be lumped in with the savages who committed the atrocity.
When two NYC police officers were assassinated last December amid several months of anti-police rhetoric, we were scolded not to lump all critics of police behavior in with the killer. That's fine.
So why is it, after a mentally disturbed individual shot multiple people near a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, that some of those same people seem perfectly content to associate all pro-life critics of Planned Parenthood with Robert Lewis Dear?
Apparently, when it comes to smearing entire groups based on the actions of a few, some people need to have their judgment recalibrated and made a little more consistent.