Ho-ho-ho, wait till you hear about the gifts I gave to some of America's power elites for Christmas.
To each of our Congress critters, I sent my fondest wish that from now on, they receive the exact same income, health care and pension that we average citizens get. If they receive only the American average, it might make them a bit more humble — and less cavalier about ignoring the needs of regular folks.
To the stockings of GOP leaders who've so eagerly debased themselves to serve the madness of President Donald Trump, I added individual spritzer bottles of fragrances such as "Essence of Integrity" and "Eau de Self-Respect" to help cover up their stench. And in the stockings of Democratic congressional leaders, I put "Spice of Viagra" and "Bouquet du Grassroots" to stiffen their spines and remind them of who they represent.
For America's CEOs, my gift is a beautifully boxed, brand-new set of corporate ethics. It's called the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Going to pollute someone's neighborhood? Then you have to live there, too. Going to slash wages and benefits? Then slash yours as well. Going to move your manufacturing to sweatshops in China? Then put your office right inside the worst sweatshop. Executive life wouldn't be as luxurious, but CEOs would glow with a new purity of spirit.To the Wall Street hedge fund hucksters who've conglomerated, plundered and degraded hundreds of America's newspapers, I've sent copies of Journalism for Dummies and offered jobs for each of them in their stripped-down, Dickensian newsrooms. Good luck.
And what better gift to the Trump family — Donald, Ivanka and Jared, Eric, Donnie Jr. and the whole nest of them — than to wish that they live with one another constantly and permanently? No, really, each of you deserve it.
Yes, I have finally mastered the art of finding perfect gifts for people on my list — gifts that rise above crass commercialism and are genuinely appreciated by the people who receive them. I wholeheartedly recommend such gift-giving to you.This holiday season got me thinking about America's spirit of giving, and I don't mean this overdone business of Christmas, Hanukkah and other holiday gifts. I mean our true spirit of giving — giving of ourselves.
Yes, we are a country of rugged individualists, yet there's also a deep, community-minded streak in each of us. We're a people who believe in the notion that we're all in this together, that we can make our individual lives better by contributing to the common good.
The establishment media pay little attention to grassroots generosity, focusing instead on the occasional showy donation by what it calls "philanthropists" — big tycoons who give a little piece of their billions to some university or museum in exchange for a building named after them. But in my mind, the real philanthropists are the millions of you ordinary folks who have precious little money to give but consistently give of yourselves, and do it without demanding that your name be engraved on a granite wall.My own daddy — rest his soul — was a fine example of this. With half a dozen other guys in Denison, Texas, he started the Little League Baseball program, volunteering to build the park, sponsor and coach the teams, run the squawking PA system, etc., etc. Even after I graduated from Little League, Daddy stayed working at it, because his involvement was not merely for his kids ... but for all. He felt the same way about being taxed to build a public library in town. I don't recall him ever going in that building, much less checking out a book, but he wanted it to be there for the community, and he was happy to pay his part. Not that he was a do-good liberal, for God's sake — indeed, he called himself a conservative.
My daddy didn't even know he had a political philosophy, but he did, and it's the best I've ever heard. He would often say to me, "Everybody does better when everybody does better." If only our leaders in Washington and on Wall Street would begin practicing this true American philosophy.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
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