The Christmas season at Georgetown comes at a fast pace. Tinsel and large wreaths are everywhere on M Street, and on-campus holiday festivities are mixed with the stresses of final exams and papers. In a sense, the holiday season provides us with the best of human spirit and perseverance, but it also gives us reason to reflect on what has happened over the past year. Maybe the relationship you longed for finally came into fruition or the friend you had been praying for pulled through their struggles. One way or another, we have all been blessed with something great, and attending Georgetown, we have a unique opportunity to be active in our community. On Capitol Hill, however it seems as though common decency has passed by many politicians. Congress seems to have lost touch with Middle America, and not even the holiday season can help them.

I went shopping with my mom early on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, hoping to catch the great sales. Despite the cold, we were drawn to the store at 4:45 that morning not by a need to knock people out the way for a $199 laptop, but for the quality time spent together. In the Circuit City store we went to, there were moderately long lines, but everyone was generally courteous and though some people were frenzied, I witnessed little pushing, shoving or hollering.

Compare that to Washington two weeks ago. The House Republican leadership – known for outrageous games and politics as usual – decided to put up a House resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a decorated veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam War and critic of U.S. actions in Iraq, asked President Bush to set a timetable for withdrawal. The Republicans knew this nonbinding resolution would not pass; it was merely a way to see how many Democrats they could paint as “anti-military” if members voted for the resolution. The bill failed 403-3. This season is a time to be thankful for those who have sacrificed for us, and to be grateful for the people we love in our lives. Why would the GOP leadership use this vote to play dangerous political games? Instead of uniting our country, this vote creates a huge fault line between the two sides – something that just isn’t good for America headed into the New Year.

During the holiday season, I can also see the sad faces of those in need. Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims still taking shelter in hotel rooms had to fight for the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to extend their room stays. Many of these American citizens lost everything in those devastating storms. They are living in hotel rooms far from their familiar neighborhoods that were once filled with familiar faces. I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow that they have faced, but they represent everything good about living in America. They are fighting for their livelihoods. Though many do not have much, they still say there is much to be thankful for. We cannot forget about those affected by the hurricanes, or about the elderly who need assistance with rising heating bills or about our troops fighting overseas. Middle America can sit and discuss issues, and even if we do not agree on them, we listen to others.

In Washington today, many members of Congress are afraid to say what they feel is right because of leadership intimidation, threats of fundraising withdrawals or challenges from within their own parties. Our government has broken down, but can Christmas save it? Can the warmth of hugs and the sentiments of friends at home and at church make Congress a better place? Most likely, no. Egos are a dime a dozen in Washington, and no one will deflate his or her ego without a scandal or two knocking them down. Ask Tom DeLay if you don’t believe me.

For me, the holidays are a time to relax and to reflect. The final exam period at Georgetown is intense and very demanding, so many of us will look forward to finally getting real sleep and doing simple things when exams end. I like my regular routines at home. I like to read the paper in my living room, drive my car and eat dessert with my mom, dad and sister. Sound simple? Well, many things in life are simple even if we don’t realize it. It took me a little while to figure that out too. Of course, we all have other things we do at home, but Christmas and the holiday season in general bring out the best in many people. Congress has to go a long way to be saved – according to a Time poll released last week, 55 percent of respondents disapproved of Congress while only 33 percent approved. A Wall Street Journal poll last month had the disapproval a little higher at 57 percent, with only 28 percent approving. Middle America is waking up to congressional game playing and they are not happy about it.

With all the problems Congress may be having, most people will enjoy their lives and their holiday season. Bitter vitriol and name-calling will not be tolerated at a Christmas dinner table in America because people want to appreciate their blessings and they want the respect that comes from having real morals. Real morals come from courage and the struggles we overcome, not from the self-aggrandizing morals served up by congressional speechwriters.

Unlike many Washington politicians, we will have our holiday season to be grateful for.

John Dorman is a senior in the College and can be reached at dormanthehoya.com. The Inside Edge appears every other Tuesday.

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