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Tomorrow's day of hope

Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.

There is no solace for the national wound of Newtown, Conn., save, perhaps in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the story of the birth we celebrate tomorrow.

Certainly the shooting deaths of so many children bring to mind Matthew, 2:16: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof …”

The slaughter of the innocents more than 2,000 years ago could not block the message that was born with Jesus Christ and carries still – as the carol says – “a thrill of hope.” It was this message of hope that John Donne expressed in his famous sonnet, “Death Be Not Proud,” which I include below:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sickness dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Now, let us contemplate the thoughts of our president following the killings in Connecticut. He said, with perhaps true emotion, that now is the time to do something about gun violence.

But Barack Obama does not strike one as an introspective man. Self-analysis – or self-criticism – is not his forte.

Did he not happily receive campaign funds from purveyors of cinematic violence, like Quentin Tarantino? That would be the Tarantino whose latest offering, “Django Unchained,” is so blood-soaked that studio heads felt it in bad taste to stage its premier in the wake of the Newtown massacre.

“Mother Jones” reported that Tarantino, “the acclaimed director (‘Reservoir Dogs,’ ‘Pulp Fiction,’ the upcoming ‘ethnic revenge flick’ Django Unchained’) … contributed $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 to the Obama campaign.”

The article goes on to suggest that “maybe the political ideals of his dear friend and frequent collaborator Robert Rodrigues (director of ‘Desperado,’Sin City,’ and . . . ‘Machete’) have rubbed off on him.” It notes that “in just the first quarter of 2012, Rodriguez contributed $30,800 to the DNC, and $40,000 to the Obama Victory Fund.”

Kudos to “Django” star Jamie Fox for agreeing that mayhem in film and other media tends to desensitize viewers to violence. Shall we hold our breath while we await a similar condemnation from our chief executive?

Then we have Barack “Mr. Civility” Obama’s employment of character assassins like David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter. This pair slung some of the most scurrilous campaign mud in the history of the republic. They were surrogates for the president, who never foreswore them, so his hands are not clean. (By the way, Axelrod has shaved his mustache. At least now he doesn’t look like a Nazi gauleiter.)

And how about the Obamas welcoming a writer of misogynist rap songs to the White House and designating him a “leading poet”? Further, let us not forget the “Fast and Furious” gun running, to which we may attribute uncounted deaths in Mexico.

Introspection? Self-criticism? Don’t look for them from this president.

On a lighter note: One department store chain announced a great promotion: “Running thru (sic) December 24, we will pay for one shopper’s receipt every day in every store and online! No purchase needed.” Pity the “winner” who hasn’t made a purchase.

And finally: In this dark winter, may you recall the true meaning of Christmas, and may it warm the hearts of you and yours with that “thrill of hope.”