A Christmas message for ToledoWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Having read Michael S. Miller’s Nov. 15 column, “A Toledo Christmas Carol,” I suddenly realized that Christmas was only weeks away and it might be time I penned my own holiday message to Toledo.
I considered in passing my resemblance to Santa Claus (who, I am told, does not in fact smoke cigars, but has been known to indulge in a pipe on occasion), and hoped I might be able to capture some of the spirit of the season because of this. I thought if perhaps I dug down deep in my heart, I might come up with something equally intelligent, erudite and inspiring for the readership of Toledo Free Press. It was then unfortunately, that I realized that I was still an evil Conservative, and therefore apparently without the required circulatory organ in question. As a consequence, this is the best that I can offer; for it will be a difficult Christmas for Toledo in 2009 …
The ghosts of Christmas past have laid a heavy burden on those of us left in “the good old city” today. Much like the main character in the original “The Christmas Carol,” so ably parodied by Miller, Toledo has led far too many years of a life that was less than exemplary; and has begun to reap the rewards of the high taxes, mounting debt and limited resources of that past.
So too do the chains of our past misdeeds, like those of Jacob Marley, bow our backs. Poor city contracts with its unions, profligate spending on decorations and investment in real estate that has proved ill-advised at best and borderline criminal at worst continue to weigh down the city. These chains may yet be broken, but it will not be done without pain.
Our ghosts of Christmas present are unsure. Far from the Scrooge-like tactics of the Dickens tale, however, we appear today to be living in an age where giving to those with less has gone beyond the bounds of good judgment and become almost a government obsession. No longer content with the concept of charity, performed willingly by many and accepted grudgingly by those most in need, we have instead a mandated tithe, extorted at the point of a gun from a working class grown increasingly weary and angry over the process and redistributed to a burgeoning “Oliver Twist” entitlement group, growing at an alarming rate and demanding ever more.
Toledo finds itself with a so-called “balanced budget” that still curiously shows millions in the red. Questionable accounting and even more questionable revenue sources leave little for our leaders to work with than a document more fictional than the Dickens classic itself.
Whether the future is to shine more brightly, however, is up to recently elected leaders who will decide upon either a new path or more of the same. Shall we remain alone, eating a cold and bitter gruel full of increasing taxes, unneeded regulations and unnecessary spending; or shall we accept our nephew’s invitation to dinner and the company of neighbors who see us at present as little more than evil and untrustworthy.
As for the ghost of Christmas yet to come… there is much to be hopeful for as we follow the dread figure pointing to our possible fate. A new mayor, a new face in city council, and yes, even a new dog warden may help to rewrite some of the evil markings on the stone that destiny points to. This year, there are not only Christmas parties, but tea parties, where those of good faith and sound judgment seek actively to write a new future upon the sins of our past and present.
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future provide a warning and an opportunity. Let us hope that, like Scrooge, we have the ability to heed the warning and accept the opportunity presented gratefully. Let us hope we are willing to change and like him be as good as our word. Let us hope that it be may be said of us as Dickens did of Scrooge: “… that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God Bless Us, Every One!’”
This not-so-tiny Tim couldn’t agree more …
Tim Higgins blogs at http://justblowingsmoke.blogspot.com/.