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Harris Blackwood: Rekindling goodness at Christmas
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In the Broadway musical, “Mame,” one scene takes place around Thanksgiving 1929.

Auntie Mame has lost her fortune in the stock market crash of 1929. So, she decides she and her household need a Christmas celebration.

The resulting song, “We Need A Little Christmas,” has been popular for many years.

This year, in my estimation, we need a lot of Christmas. This has been a tough year and I’m ready to get beyond it, hoping 2017 is better.

I was getting ready for our Christmas musical at church when I learned two police officers in Americus had been shot. One was dead. The other died a couple of days later. I was taking in Christmas joy of good news while having it washed away with bad.

One week in this state six police officers were shot. Two of them died. Earlier in the year, we lost four others to gunshot wounds in confrontation with bad guys. There was a time, not so long ago, that bad guys lived somewhere else. Now, they are right around the corner.

Our nation has also experienced one of the most divisive elections in our history. I don’t know that we have ever been so bitterly divided as a country in modern times.

Some people have said they would take their own lives or move to another nation if a particular candidate was elected. I think those were veiled threats, because I haven’t seen a mass exodus to Canada or anywhere else.

I want our country to succeed, therefore, I want President-elect Trump to succeed. I have seen a few people who have been very statesmen-like and wished the new president well. Other people have done otherwise.

Some people say they are scared of the future administration, and their children are afraid. This country is not going to fail. There is no need to curl up in the fetal position and fret.

I’m not anti-gun, but I am against criminals with guns. We have allowed music videos and other media to glorify the image of bad guys with guns.

A video piece on TV in the past week showed two underage boys in Atlanta brandishing guns while in a car. We have created an environment where some kids think the only occupations available are professional athlete, drug dealer or gang member. Putting a pistol in a teenager’s hands and instructing him to “pop a cap” into someone is a poor excuse for admission into a band of thugs.

A little or a lot of Christmas won’t necessarily fix these ills, but we need a starting point on the road to better days. I wish we had a magic pill to cure all the bad stuff, but that’s just not going to happen.

Perhaps, if we can reach deep inside ourselves and rekindle the goodness that has been smothered out by layers of fear, hatred, skepticism and worry, we might set this listing ship on a better course, if not the right one. We need to reinvigorate our neighborly compassion and use it to help and encourage those around us. Let’s start by telling police officers how much we appreciate them.

Our need for Christmas, or at least the good sentiments of peace, joy and love is great. I hope we can find it soon.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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