Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tom DeLay's Christmas Stocking

What would you give Tom DeLay for Christmas? No, not the ebola virus. I mean seriously, in the spirit of the season.

I pick DeLay only because he represents for me the most reprehensible and irredeemable U.S. political figure on this side of a guilty plea. If I can find something to put in his Christmas stocking that he would appreciate—and that wouldn't make me want to puke—then I figure there's still hope for the world. Or at least hope we can understand our opponents more fully as human beings.

Some of you may already have adopted the holiday tradition shared in my extended family. Instead of swapping Harry & David baskets, we trade charitable donations. For families widely dispersed geographically and politically, this is a great solution for what to buy.

You don't. You give—to a charity of their choosing.

The benefits go beyond solving the shopping problem with a tax deduction. You'll obtain a glimpse into what's important to the other person, and because your name is now on the donor list, you'll likely receive mailings about that organization's mission and good works throughout the year.

Now, if Tom DeLay selects the Society for Herding Democrats out of Texas, you might have to grit your teeth, but read and you'll learn something you wouldn't have otherwise. And if he chooses Heifer International, an organization dedicated to ending hunger and caring for the earth, you'll learn a lot more—about the individual as well as the cause.

Why limit the application of this principle to holiday giving? By seeking out those places in our lives where we can agree, however momentarily, with our opposites, we each take one step closer across the great divide.


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