Freaky Family Christmas is my refuge
Another Christmas Day is just around the corner. For the most part, the Christmas spirit has always eluded me until Christmas Day arrives. Despite the fact that I’m inundated with TV commercials and Christmas Carols for a month and a half prior, it’s not until I am surrounded by my family — the Freaky Family — that I finally get into the spirit of the occasion. When I walk over the threshold of my mother-in-law’s house and enter the lovely world she has created, I am instantly transformed.
First of all I call them the Freaky Family because they’re perfect. They’re always hugging and kissing. There’s nothing pretentious or phony about any of them. They’re always building up and never tearing down. The only fussing and fighting I’ve witnessed in the Freaky Family is over a football game. They’re inherently aware of the world’s problems and may disagree sometimes on this and that, but in their family, love conquers all.
Christmas is a very hard time for me. Yes, I’m transformed when I enter the world of the Freaky Family, but it’s always right there in the back of my mind that at some point, I will go back outside into the real world. If I was depressed when I went over the threshold, I’m twice as depressed when I leave. When I leave the fold of the Freaky Family, the cool breeze of reality brushes against my face and I once again carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
There’s so much violence and poverty in today’s world, and the latter is caused by the former. Our systems of policing and courts have been set up to protect the government from the common people rather than to protect the common people from crime. The wealthy and powerful have withdrawn from the public justice system and are building up a parallel private system of security. A criminal justice system that will actual help poor people can be found nowhere in the world.
The poor of the world are fully capable of rising above their circumstances, but without a criminal justice system, they have not a chance. What we call everyday violence in poor communities is not the result of armies or massive conflicts. It’s actually the result of daily violence perpetrated by criminals in poor communities. It’s stronger people in the community who commit sexual assaults, businessmen who hold poor people in perpetual slavery, local police officers who extort money, and this violence is unleashed by the absence of any functioning law enforcement to restrain these perpetrators.
The problem is not that poor people don’t get laws; it’s that they don’t get law enforcement. As a result, that neglect of law enforcement has meant that people with wealth and power across the globe have set up private security systems to protect themselves and left a vast class of billions of poor people vulnerable to violence.
“There are billions of people in the world who actually find that their struggle to get out of poverty is relentlessly undermined by violence and their chronic vulnerability to being imprisoned, enslaved, beaten, raped and robbed. So even if you have some capacity to improve your life and to increase your income and to increase your human capital, if there are bullies in the community who can simply prey upon you and take those things away, then you’re going to find yourself continually thrown back down into poverty.” ~ Kira Zalan
Widows trying to take care of their children may use a little plot of land to shelter and feed their families, and often find that the land is stolen from them by violence — then there’s no way they can avoid destitution. Recent killings by uniformed police ruled as justifiable are just wrong on so many levels. If there is no justice for the poor in law enforcement, then the only other avenues for survival lie in violence.
Yes, Christmas Day is just ahead. I am distraught and ashamed that I yearn for the distraction that most will never know — the love and warmth of my Freaky Family. For that one wonderful day, I can shed the weight of the world and replace it with the love of the Freaky Family.