Friday, December 23, 2011

How Occupy Stole Christmas

Dr. Suess was the first author many of us learned and loved.  This time of year it is the Grinch.  I remember how I looked forward each year to seeing the Grinch on t.v. and hearing that wonderful deep narration by Boris Karloff and the singing voice of Thurl Ravenscroft (also Tony the Tiger for my generation t.v. viewers and cereal munchers).  It was the highlight of the Christmas season.  I've often wondered why that show, of all Christmas shows, was the one that was a must see for me.  Charlie Brown was cute, but not that interesting.  Rudolf was downright sexist (have you seen it since the 70s?).  There was Frosty and the others, but none captured my attention the way that the Grinch did.  Recently, I was asked to do a reading for a group that would help blend the message of the Occupy movement with the season and I immediately thought of my favorite childhood Christmas show.  Here's what I read:

It was quarter past dawn...
All the Whos, still a-bed
All the Whos, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode to the tiptop to dump it!
"Pooh-pooh to the Whos!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"The all the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"

"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

What was the Grinch's complaint after all?  He was disgusted by the materialism of the holiday.  I feel this same disgust each and every year.  It's only exacerbated by the fact that I now have a 7 year old that thinks Santa should bring everything her heart desires. 

So what would happen in the US if families woke to find their homes "robbed" of all the Christmas loot?  I doubt we'd all join hands and sing in the streets.  You could probably even determine a person's political leanings by their reactions.  The Republicans would be looking in all the nearby neighborhoods and stealing what they could to make their own Christmas seem a little better (aided by the US Military naturally).  The Libertarians would form a well armed posse to seek out the sneakly 'ol Grinch and then they'd shoot him and mount him over a fireplace.  The Democrats would wait to see what everyone else did and then try to do what the Republicans are doing all the while smiling and assuring everyone that all is well.  There would be the idealistic folks that hold hands around the city tree downtown and sing - and they would be happy.  Then there are those of us who would be busy researching all the activities, blogging about it, tweeting it out, posting on Facebook, flash mobbing, and having a protest about it, but once we're certain that the Republicans are not behind the whole thing we might join hands and sing too.  The young, the visionaries and those who can see into tomorrow because it belongs to them, they would bring a tent and set it up by the tree, and they start singing loud enough to scare the Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.  Those of us busy networking the event feel our hearts grow at least three times larger watching their courage and loving the sound of their voices rising up.  They are the Spirit of Christmas and of the Rebel Jesus.  They are the ones feeding the homeless.  They are the ones acknowledging the true worth and dignity of each living being.  They are the ones experimenting with real democracy at each General Assembly, sitting for hours to make sure even the smallest Who has a say.  It is their voices that soften the Grinch in people like me this season.  Merry Christmas Occupy!

1 comment:

Tom H. Hastings said...

Showing me once again why yours is my favorite blog. This one belonged on the pages of The New York Times! I wish you and Dr. Seuss could have collaborated in real time, but this collaboration works too.