‘Tis the season to be jolly, so I’ll try. But it won’t be easy. For one thing the news out of Washington is not what you would call up-lifting.
The constant focus on the effort to impeach President Donald Trump is a major downer, and it’s hard not to think that the Democrats are overplaying their hand.
They are trying hard to nail Trump on charges he made a quid pro quo deal with the Ukrainians to embarrass his leading political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in a questionable deal involving his son Hunter.
But the issue will be resolved in an election year when the Democrats could have simply embarrassed Trump with accusations, then backed off and put him at a disadvantage in the November balloting. But by trying to get him kicked out of office they create a double-edged sword.
On one edge is the possibility that they will lose the fight when it gets to the U.S. Senate and give Trump added momentum in his campaign for re-election. On the other is the likelihood that, if they somehow win the Senate vote, Vice President Mike Pence would become president — quite possibly a popular one — and the Republicans would nominate as vice president somebody both qualified and hugely likable such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
That could leave the Democrats whistling in the wind for the next eight years, a jolly thought to my way of thinking.
In the world of show business there was a most happy occasion last week when country music great Dolly Parton did a two-hour celebration of her 50 years on the Grand Ole Opry. The show ran on NBC and had a slew of top-name guest performers but by far the most wonderful part was Dolly herself.
Her great voice did wonders for memorable songs like “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Dolly joined the Opry cast in 1969 at the age of 23 and has been one of its most-loved performers for a half-century. When she sings “I Will Always Love You,” as she did in the anniversary show, she makes a guy believe she really will.
But the days are dwindling down to a precious few — and those are getting very short. The good news is that the days start getting longer just three weeks from tomorrow. And that, for many of us, is the beginning of spring. Very early spring, for sure, but once you turn the corner on the winter solstice, it somehow seems all downhill from there.
And let us not forget that Christmas is coming and Christmas lights are springing up in all their usual places. Brightening our midwinter days we have, among others, those great traditional light displays like the marvelous Christmas tree that AT&T strings on its transmission tower high on Government Hill, and the equally cheery multicolored tree on the Glenn Highway.
Its many friends were worried about the Glenn Highway tree this year because the huge spruce that bore the lights died and was taken down. But the man behind the much-loved project, longshoreman Jason Tolstrup, built a new one with rebar. And in a decidedly modern touch, the tree has 1,400 Facebook friends, probably more by now.
I haven’t seen them yet, but at this time of year we can usually count on the bright white star the military builds on Site Summit, the old Nike missile site above Anchorage, and the great string of fish-like lights that the Bristol Bay Corporation mounts on trees outside its Anchorage offices.
When all these things are counted, I will admit to being jolly after all. Yo ho ho!