By Dr. Jim Ferguson
They say Christmas is for children, and I would agree, unless being around kids at Christmas makes you younger at heart. I have four grandchildren ages fourteen to one year old. The teenager is in a “galaxy far, far away,” and a bit too cool for Christmas morning exuberance. And the one and two year olds are too young to comprehend Santa Claus as the Spirit of Christmas. But the five year old is in the zone of wonder, and he brings me into his magical kingdom as I experience Christmas vicariously through his eyes.

I remember magical Christmases such as Ralphie in the quintessential Holiday movie, A Christmas Story. It’s never quite the same when you grow up, at least not until you have grandchildren and you get to relive childhood experiences through them.

I was eight years old when I first questioned the existence of Santa Claus. Sitting in the school lunchroom among other urbane sophisticates of Mrs. Thompson’s third grade, I was informed that Santa Claus is my parents. I can’t remember what my mother said when I confronted her with this revelation. However, I soon received a gift that surpassed the bazooka which “Santa” brought me that year. You see my parents arranged for a man dressed as Santa Claus and carrying sleigh bells to come to my parent’s Christmas Eve party. My eyes and ears told me Santa Claus was real, and I believed again – for many years.

Togetherness during the holidays, contributes to what I call the “Christmas crud.” I’m not referring to “Humbug,” but to one of the numerous viral “bugs” already so prevalent, and the year is barely begun. In the last few days I’ve treated three patients with cough and congestion, my wife with the same cold symptoms and another patient who undoubtedly has influenza; and my dog just threw up on the floor in front of me. Fortunately, my grandkids, aka the cute ones, have thus far escaped, but they go back to preschool tomorrow. You realize that “younglings” go to school to learn social skills and to stimulate their immune systems.

I am ordinarily not a fan of year end retrospectives, but 2017 was like no other for me. Becky and I built a smaller retirement home, sold our homestead of thirty-seven years, gave away lots of cargo and then moved only what we really treasured. We further simplified by selling our rental property and the land contiguous to our small farm in South Knoxville. And if I include the fall of 2016 and the birth of my fourth grandchild, the last fifteen months have been a whirlwind.

Of course the world does not revolve around me, so I’ll include November 8, 2016 in this retrospective because the election of Donald Trump changed everything. Whether you love Trump and his Make America Great Again campaign, hate him or just wish he were more genteel with his Tweets, the direction of our country and the world is experiencing tectonic shifts.

In the last year even our lexicon has changed. We were introduced to terms such as “snowflakes,” and The Swamp (aka The Sewer) of Washington DC. We learned of the embedded Deep State led by non elected bureaucrats in the myriad government agencies who, despite their oath, act politically. Examples are James Comey, Jim McCabe and Peter Strzok who have sullied the reputation of the FBI. Bruce Orr tarnished the Justice Department by colluding with his wife who worked for Fusion GPS, the agency hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to create the scatological and fraudulent Trump “golden shower dossier.” If you’ve never heard of this screed while watching CNN or reading the NY Times, Google it, and do your own research. As agent Mulder says, “The truth is out there.”

Hillary Clinton and the elite media (and the rest of us) learned of politically motivated polling data which is often wrong. The unprecedented election of Donald Trump against all odds (and polls) proved this. We learned that the media is no longer to be trusted and the notion of fake news came into everyday usage. Donald Trump did not coin the term “fake news,” but he has showcased dishonest reporting by the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and a host of others. George W. Bush was pilloried by the elite media and did nothing to defend himself or his administration. Trump takes his case directly to the people in his Tweets.

Wikipedia defines fake news as propaganda or deliberate misinformation spread through traditional print or broadcast media or through online social media. Perhaps the media has always been dishonest and politically motivated, and I was just unaware. I used to listen to and support NPR, but not anymore. And I resent that NPR is still subsidized by my tax dollar. Adolf Hitler in his book “Mein Kampf” said that the average man will believe a big enough lie if told boldly enough because the average man cannot conceive that someone would be so disingenuous. Joseph Goebbels took that perspective and made propaganda an effective and negative term.

The word of the year for 2017 was collusion. After more than a year of searching by thousands of people, even the Democrats have given up hope of finding that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hilliard Clinton (HRC). Actually, the only collusion was the Democrat party and Clinton coordinating efforts to deprive the socialist Bernie Sanders the party’s presidential nomination. Since collusion is now passé, the tainted special counsel, Bob Mueller now seeks to indict people on process crimes rather than collusion. Recall that it was a process crime that sent Martha Stewart to jail. HRC’s unsecured server and her conflict of interest arrangements at the State Department to enrich The Clinton foundation are far worse than General Flynn’s process crime of lying to the FBI.

I was ready for 2017 to end. How interesting the passage of one day changes one’s perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t believe a sense of comity will return to our country in 2018, yet I still have hope. Hope is the focus of my New Year’s resolution based upon Hebrews 11:1 which I’ll share with you: may we all live in the assurance of things hoped for.