Merry Christmas in a tough, tough time

When the going gets tough this Christmas, the tough get going to make sure as many as possible have a pleasant one.

We are spending Christmas at home, away from the winter storm. Our gifts to each other were our love, support, and thanks for our lives. Christmas 2020 comes at the end of a difficult year of hardship, struggle, and survival for most in Floyd County, Virginia, the nation, and the world. We’ve lost too many friends and relatives to COVID-19. Each death leaves a loss and an emotional scare.

Like far too many, we have struggled this year to meet our needs. Cancellation of high school athletics, which provided much of my job-related income for media photography took a large slice out of earnings. So did cancellations of large-scale music festivals and events where my video cameras provided coverage for television stations and other news outlets.

Before COVID-19 became a known entity, Amy almost died from a mysterious respiratory condition that drove her body temperatures and blood pressures to incredibly high numbers. Then came serious back surgery in March to correct what was not done in earlier surgeries and procedures to get her back on her feet.

The pandemic delayed her start of physical therapy for two months but her recovery by this Christmas is the best gift we could ever have.

But our problems seem minuscule to others who face the loss of homes, eviction from rental properties, and lingering medical problems from a virus that our government ignored for too long as hundreds of thousands of Americans died.

Needed, partial relief from Uncle Sam appeared to be on the way earlier this week with a bipartisan agreement in Congress to provide direct payments of $900 per person for most Americans, an extension of jobless benefits, and a halt to evictions and foreclosures, but a pissing contest started by the president defeated in the Nov. 3 election, threatens to hold it up.

Outgoing president Donald Trump also vetoed a defense policy bill that holds up necessary support for our military as well as needed pay for those who wear the uniform and serve our nation. The House and Senate return Monday to overturn that veto and work to get the relief bill back on track.

Stunts like this have become commonplace in our government and blatant attempts to overturn democracy to reject the will of the voters have been turned back again and again by courts and our Constitution since the decisive election on Nov. 3. Yet the sorest loser in the history of the Presidency continued to fight with no concern for our system of government that has stood for more than 200 years.

Through this madness, we still see an America where one helps others, works to get food and heat to the needy and help preserve the spirit of Christmas.

Let’s hope and pray that those things that have made what we and this nation continue to survive and we can start a new year with hope. Vaccines are arriving daily to innoculate all Americans and residents in other parts of the world. A new president provides hope for a return to the basic civility and human needs that this nation can, and should, be once again.

With that in mind, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good fight.

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