WHY WE'RE DOING IT
The shock of the 2016 election result endures, and many of us who dread what 2017 will bring find it hard to muster up much holiday spirit.
The White House is about to be packed with demagogues who encourage the overt expression of racism, xenophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of bigotry. If you celebrate Hannukkah, it may feel especially frivolous to engage in the usual round of compulsory consumerism (as much as we may love giving and receiving gifts).
But remember, the story of Hanukkah is not the story of gifts. It's the story of a battle, of fighters persevering and surviving in the face of long odds.
And here we are again, facing overwhelming forces: a President, Senate, House of Representatives, and even a Supreme Court poised to attack our fundamental rights.
Health research, womens’ health, gender equality, retirement security, food safety, an autonomous press, protection from hate crimes, workplace safety, diversity, education, equal pay, veterans’ benefits, clean water, a stable Europe, due process, a global environment capable of supporting human life -- whatever you care about, whatever makes you feel safe, secure, and dignified, is threatened. Not just conceptually or rhetorically, but directly and immediately.
So this year, we have a suggestion: Forget giving and receiving presents.
Instead, apply the time, money and energy you would spend on buying and exchanging consumer goods to supporting the organizations and candidates who can limit the damage. (We think your loved ones will understand, but here’s a note you can send, or read, or point them to if you need it.)
Hanukkah is as good a time as any to get started, so let’s make contributions on all eight days.
We realize that holiday traditions and family events involve exchanging gifts, but there’s no more important gift to give this year than protecting the people you love from an immediate future full of dismay, confusion, and outright threats.