(Ed Note: we continue to host guest editorials from time to time. This guest op-ed is from Max Holland. Max, aka Birdpilot, is a retired former business owner who also spent a number of years in the corporate and academic arenas. He is a pilot and sailor, who has been active in politics since the Goldwater-Johnson election in 1964. Having been born in South Carolina and lived a number of years in California, he now is a Texan by choice.)
A week from tomorrow, many Americans will be working in restaurants. Many Americans will be working in hospitals. Many Americans will be working at airlines, at hotels, in gas stations and mini-marts. Many Americans will be working at other service industry jobs and in numerous other industries. And more than a few of these Americans will be working not because they want to, but because they have to. Because they have to feed their families, provide shelter, and hopefully get a few Christmas gifts for their kids and friends. And there are many more who want to work are not able to through no fault of their own.
Still more Americans will be working to protect the rest of us. They will be in the police and fire stations around the country. They will be at military outposts in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, and other locations around the world, serving in harm’s way. They’ll be away from their families and loved ones and friends, because they are doing the job they were asked to do in service to our country.
All of these Americans will be working on Christmas Day for their families and their country.
We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful. What’s going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year. They kept everybody here until Christmas Eve [author’s emphasis].
So said South Carolina Republican, and Tea Party favorite, Jim DeMint about the possibility that he, a United States Senator, might have to work through Christmas to complete the business of the nation in the job to which he was elected.
It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing—frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff [author’s emphasis].
So said Arizona Republican Jon Kyl about the possibility that he might have to work through Christmas to complete the business of the nation in the job to which he was elected.
Two of the Republican Senators who have done more than most any other to implement the Republican Senate strategy of obstruction and delay are crying crocodile tears because they might be held to task and stay overtime to complete the work they have spent so much time obstructing. Even worse, they’re somewhat shamelessly using the tactic of playing the religious card to protest working through the holidays.
They don’t mind at all that they have had a major hand in creating the economic climate that causes so many American to have to work on “one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians.” They are oblivious to the fact that those serving overseas during the holiday are there because their votes sent them there.
This sense of entitlement causes them to believe that Congressmen and women are above the other Americans who will work through Christmas. The people who elected them to serve their country. The people whose labor and resultant taxes pays their salaries and all the perks of their office. The people who are protecting them from the enemy at their far flung outposts.
To the credit of many religious leaders, and some fellow Republicans, DeMint and Kyl have received criticism for those statements. But it does open a window on how they feel about their fellow Americans in relation to themselves.
(Editors update: Kyl and DeMint’s remarks have received considerable blowback and pushback, particularly on the Senate floor yesterday from Harry Reid who said [paraphrasing] ‘many fortunate enough to have a job don’t get a week or two off for Christmas’. Vice President Joe Biden also weighed in saying [again paraphrasing] ‘Don’t tell me about Christmas. Sorry to interrupt your Christmas shopping but this is the nation’s business. These are matters of national security. Do your jobs. Act!’)
- Senators Jim DeMint And Jon Kyl Call Democrats “Sacrilegious” For Pushing Legislation During The Holidays (alan.com)
- The Caucus: In Senate, a War of Words Over Christmas (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Kyl and DeMint Think Baby Jesus Doesn’t Want Them To Vote On START During Christmas (crooksandliars.com)
- Sen. Reid: “I Don’t Need To Hear Sanctimonious Lectures” From GOP On The Meaning Of Christmas (mediaite.com)
- GOP Senators Call Christmas Senate Session “Sacrilegious” (outsidethebeltway.com)
- DeMint, Kyl and McConnell Fight the War on Christmas (dailykos.com)
- Jim DeMint Pulls the “It’s Christmas” Card to Block Legislation (shortformblog.com)
- GOP Senators Invoke Christmas In Order To Pointlessly Obstruct The START Treaty (huffingtonpost.com)