"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Joe Biden's White House Christmas - A Black Santa And Unionized Elves

Joe Biden often talked about his childhood Christmases in Delaware.  Presents under the tree, caroling, candles in the windows, church, and a corned beef Christmas dinner with all the fixings.  It was an Irish Christmas with lots of blarney 'round the fire, pints of Guinness, Jameson's, and tall tales from the Old Country.  By dinnertime, all bets to the Baby Jesus were off, Uncle Paddy pinched Aunt Rose's bottom, the O'Rourke twins got out of hand, and Bridget Farley got roaring drunk. 

The kids were sent off to the basement to play, little Joe following the lead of his Cousin Bertie sneaking nips of 'the good stuff' stored in the coal cellar - bottles of 40 yr whisky, dusty and laid on their sides, brought up only when a good toast to Ireland was to be made, was good enough for the Biden and O'Connell boys.

It was these Delaware Christmases that the President mentioned in his home-spun homilies, far off message, but from the heart.  He went on and on about his mother's cream puffs and Aunt Margaret's gherkins, his toy soldiers, and the scent of pine needles and candle wax until his aides intervened.  The time for the old man's reminiscences were over, shelved for the ladies tea, and time for the real message of Christmas was due.  

The teleprompter, on hold during the President's happy talk  was restarted.  The prepared text made no reference to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, for just the sound of the names of the holy family put the President in mind of Uncle Tilly who, as the Jameson's was emptied, yelled, 'Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph, get us another bottle'; or 'Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph, Cassie, you're gettin' better lookin' every year'. 

Besides, this was to be an inclusive holiday celebration, with nods to St. Aloysius - Joe's patron saint whose statue was on the left flank of the altar, looking out over the congregation - but a more enthusiastic embrace of the new rainbow caucus of America.

Those gathered around the President for his Christmas speech to the country looked like America, or at at least what the President was told it looked like.  The choice of attendees was fiercely debated, for all shades and stripes of the new cultural rainbow should appear by the President's side. His chief aide, orchestrator of the discussion and final arbiter of choice, was quite judicious.  The swishy La Cage Aux Folles clone, straight from the clubs of New Orleans to the West Wing as special liaison to the LGBTQ+ community along with LaShonda Roberts, Deputy Liaison with a special brief for the transgender community, needed to be there, but how could he tame their look?

There was Pharoah Jones, straight from the Detroit ghetto, silver-grilled, gold-toothed, platinum chain and mail, tats up to his goatee, who wanted front and center; and Loco Rodriguez, South LA homeboy, recently of Mara Salvatrucha, gone straight and former counsellor to Salvadoran asylum-seekers, now Biden's link to the Hispanic community but challenged by Madame Ocasio-Cortez in the House who claimed he was an imposter and side show freak. 

'But where is Jesus?' asked a member of the Vice-President's office, a woman whose fundamentalist credentials had been overlooked during vetting, lost in her community service and farm allegiances; and of course Jesus was the elephant in the room.  It was Christmas after all, and at least some acknowledgement of his presence was called for; and yet for all intents and purposes Jesus and all references to him had been expunged. It was the America of I-95 rest stops ('All Americans have to take a leak'), not of mangers, virgin birth, and salvation. 

Just like the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn at which there was not one reference to Jesus. Christmas at the Biden White House was as secular as could be.  In a nod to the real Christmas there was a black Santa on Wednesday afternoons,  a rotation from Wards 6, 7, and 8 of the city - deep ghetto country but loyal to Biden; but because they had been chosen by Pharoah Jones, there was something scary about them and their gold teeth; and few children, warned since pre-school about predatory old men, wanted to sit on his lap.


Despite all this, the President couldn't shake the notion that he was missing something - the holy water, the palm fronds on Palm Sunday, the Stations of the Cross, communion, and the sheer joy of the Mass.  True enough, he had spent so long in the political trenches that he had lost touch with his faith, but he was convinced that the Lord would approve of his efforts for social justice.  At the same time, he felt twinges of guilt when he read the sanitized, approved, spiritless texts prepared by his staff; and so he decide to override the teleprompter, and talk about Jesus. 

The nuns, Sunday catechism classes, and his early days in parochial school had never left him, and he was still able to recite the answers to 'Who made you? Where is God?' and much more.  He went on about the virgin birth, the boy and his father, the moneylenders in the temple, the Via Dolorosa, crucifixion and resurrection.  Once he got started, he couldn't stop.  He knew he was being sectarian and very Catholic at that, but it was about time.  Black  Santa, hah! Take that! He would return Christmas to the White House and bring Jesus back home. 

No matter how they tried, his handlers were at a loss.  Perhaps the old man's religion is fungible, they said, crossing borders into faith without ignoring secular limits; but they knew that the one thing the American public could not abide was a deranged street corner preacher - a mad zealot, a crazy man - and that was what their president looked like at the pulpit. 

And they were right, but not so much about religion.  Most Americans still believed in one thing or another if not God himself, so that part of the president's message was OK.  It was the demented part that played right into the hands of the growing number of voters who had decided that Uncle Joe was around the bend or very close. 

After than impromptu sermon at which the gay men, transgenders, pimps, and farm workers fidgeted, the President's aides kept him even more under wraps.  The President, muzzled as he was, felt good about what he had done - at least as much as he could remember which was now all misty and glowing with Jesus and his Apostles.  He would go to confession and once and for all come clean. He would become a simple, good Catholic and maybe Jesus would forgive him for all his errant ways. 

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