Turning Points Rotating Header Image

Where is Charles Dickens?

I came across this article on Sam Smith’s site – he’s a veteran journalist who doesn’t suffer the fools we have in this country lightly. We really do need another Charles Dickens to say, “Bah, Humbug!” to these moral cretins in the GOP.

The GOP’s campaign of Scrooges

Sam Smith

I thought there was something familiar about the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, but I couldn’t quite place it until I attended an excellent recitation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol by Hudson Valley storyteller Jonathan Kruk.

Within minutes, I realized that I had been observing Rick Scrooge, Ebeneezer Gingrich, Humbug Herman and Miserly Mitt playing out a selfish, mean and narcissistic ideology unlike any we had seen in modern American politics, one that dates back, in fact, to the 19th century capitalistic excesses against which Dickens aimed his tale.

Certainly, we have not seen in the past century as nasty a crop of GOP candidates as in the current race. These are not merely corrupt politicians of convoluted ideology and prostituted loyalties; they are also the self-obsessed voices of those who, like Scrooge, can see no reality beyond the financial ledger and what they mistakenly view as their own welfare.

Unfortunately, however, like many metaphors this one eventually collapses because, while Scrooge was rescued from his failings by a trio of ghostly spirits, there is today no similar emergency rescue squad from America the past, America the present, or America the future. We lack the education for the first, the media for the second, and the leaders for the third.

And so the party of Ebenezer Scrooges plays out its self-serving yet self-destroying politics of selfishness and cruelty promising nothing but certain misery for the Bob Cratchits of the land and their crippled sons as the White House, major media and other purported spirits of America remain afraid to even look them in the eye and say “Bah Humbug” right back to them.

Update, 12/5/2011:

Jonathan Kruk commented and I updated the post to include a link to his site. I’m also including parts of his comment, which were spoken by the ghosts of Marley and Christmas Present:

“Business!, cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence, were, all my business.”

And from the Ghost of Christmas Present, to the wealthy Scrooge: ” It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.”

Take note, those of you who idolize Gingrich, Cain, and Perry.

2 Comments on “Where is Charles Dickens?”

  1. #1 P. Higgins
    on Nov 29th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Just today, when asked about the Occupy movement by an elder, “Why ARE they demonstrating?” it occurred to me to suggest to this family member (a Republican) that perhaps we all need to re-read “A Christmas Carol” during this holiday season. In doing so, we should ponder who may be our present-day Ebenezer Scrooges, our Bob (and Mrs.) Cratchits, and most important of all, our Tiny Tims. As a great observer of the underclasses, Dickens used his pen and his imagination to prod his contemporaries out of their comfort zone. Oh, how we need to do the same thing today! This story has come into its own, again, in our American society.

  2. #2 Jonathan Kruk
    on Dec 5th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for your compliment on my performance! Several people, after my “A Christmas Carol” shows, noted to me, how timely the tale is now. The unprecedented income inequality coupled with calls to cut aid to the poor while support low taxes for the rich, all to be done in the name of fostering business move me to include this quote from Marley’s ghost to Scrooge. “Business! Cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence, were, all my business.” And then this from the Ghost of Christmas Present, to the wealthy Scrooge. “It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”

Leave a Comment