Why I don’t wish you happy holidays

(Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Why I don’t wish you happy holidays

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Erin Aubry Kaplan

Dec. 29, 2023

I don’t feel like going on holiday. As 2023 draws to a close, celebrating feels completely wrong, one more distraction at a time when we can no longer afford any distractions, even legitimate ones. I don’t mean to be a grinch; Those are Christmas and New Year’s Eve


observations, no media distraction, but could the timing be worse?

We must focus all our attention on what is happening in Israel’s merciless war on Gaza, the dangerously stagnant international efforts to combat climate change, our terrifyingly partisan justice system, and the reasons why. The inflection points are piling up, and so are we

can’t avoid what’s going to be a terrifying 2024, even for the week between December 2024. January 25 and January 1.

Just hearing people wishing each other happy holidays, which has always cheered me up in recent years, feels like shouting so much into the wind.

The latest turning point to emerge in the past month is the realization that Donald Trump could win a second presidency. A man lacking moral character and empathy, charged and possibly convicted and/or imprisoned for serious crimes, including attempting to overthrow the government he was entrusted to lead, could return to power. That would put an end to the very idea of ​​a government elected to act as an instrument of the public interest, which is at the heart of democracy.

Think about it: After hundreds of years and then a few intense decades of agitation for the rights of all people, in 2016 the United States was still a country that had come to terms with the idea of ​​itself as pluralistic. A majority of voters across a swath of the political spectrum more or less agreed on all kinds of abortion rights, voting rights, fair wages, and the right to say no to war. There was a consensus that inequality, as well as other glaring failures of our government, was something that affected us all.

In a Trump second act, there will officially be no “all of us.” The nation built by a fanatical, committed minority will ignore the pluralistic consensus, the entire arc of history that is bent, however winding.


towards justice. The goal will be, and has been, to turn away from it. And it cannot be persuaded to do otherwise, because it is now so merged with it


religious zeal that is literally out to win.

Evangelical Christianity, which has always been an undercurrent in right-wing politics, is now its driving force; her fanaticism is unleashed, just like the corrosive power of racism and xenophobia

rises and redefines, continues to rise and redefine normal

political dynamics. This


no accident.

The belief in racial superiority has always had a religious slant, a tendency to regard the most oppressive traditions as sacred,


something that must be defended even to the death. Violence, represented in the fanatical protection and proliferation of weapons, is

crucial part of

both the religious right and the “anti-woke” crowd are determined to use any means (and any law) necessary to win.

As difficult as the big picture is, this is personal. That 30% to 40% of my fellow countrymen actively support or are willing to accept such a dark vision of this country, our country, is deeply depressing. Trump is terrible, but he has the base support that has always been more terrible to me, and is least addressed by the Trump-obsessed media that is finally waking up to impending Armageddon.



The base


the Armageddon. Trump has simply given white people with grievances rooted in race a reason to find each other and unite. The audience, not the artist,


the crisis. Without the adoring crowds and Republicans


sycophants who follow their example, he turns back into what he is: a clownish, petty, whiny, completely irrelevant fake celebrity.

In the season of good

want and a new start, I have become cynical against my will. Who wants to venerate the birth of Jesus when Christianity has become a destructive force in this country? Who wants to ring in a new year?

I hear people protest: but the holidays are about love, family, affirmation, things that have nothing to do with Trump and an ailing democracy. You can’t let a burning world (and it will always be on fire to some extent) steal your joy. In times like these, the holidays are especially important for reflection, disconnecting and recharging a weary soul.

That’s true, in theory. But here’s what I feel more strongly than the need to recharge: the long campaign to dismantle pluralistic America requires no


vacation, and neither do I.

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a contributing writer for Opinion.


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