You may think the title of this article presumptuous as I’m not a Christian. Nevertheless, most of the country still observes Christmas is some form. Jews have taken an obscure holiday, Hanukkah, and packaged it into Xmas Lite so they can partake of the holiday fun. Pagans had a holiday centered on the winter solstice. This time of year has always been an opportunity to spout off. So here goes.
My best advice and desire is for everybody to shut up. If I took my own advice I’d stop here. But it is better to give than receive. Social media has become carnivorous monster devouring the minds, such as they are, of people too young to remember a typewriter. Links to Facebook and Twitter appear on the home page of this site, but only because I’m too lazy to take them down. I’ve closed my Facebook account and haven’t looked at Twitter in years. Instagram remains terra incognita.
The ease of communication and the transmittal of coherent information seem inversely related. Everyone has a lot of opinions, but almost no one knows anything. Ask a random person who the 4th president of the US was. Try to find a person who can name three justices of the Supreme Court. Finding someone who can name all nine or who even knows there are nine is harder than locating a unicorn.
Daniel Moynihan said we were entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. He was both right and wrong. He should have remained silent. Opinions based on ignorance are not yet an entitlement. Gresham’s Law applies to opinions as well as economics. As with coins, bad opinions drive out good ones. There’s a reason that the greatest Christmas song is ‘Silent Night’. The best holiday gift is by far noise canceling headphones.
My message is: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt (Often attributed to Lincoln). Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding (Proverbs 17:28). Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation (Ben Franklin). Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact (George Eliot). Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal your own (George Bernard Shaw). I have found out in the course of a long public life that the things I did not say never hurt me (Calvin Coolidge). Speak only when you feel your words are better than silence (Anon). In other words Shut Up! This admonition will prevent you from having to eat your words. Also don’t be a turkey when you’re in front of your holiday dinner.
I’ll also throw in a New Year’s resolution. Stop watching the news. It will only depress and/or agitate you irrespective of your political persuasion.