Christmas, in 2019 America, is as much a secular holiday as it is religious. It caps the annual era of good feelings that starts with Thanksgiving and lasts until 11:59 pm on December 25th. We’ve often taken the interstice between Christmas and New Years as a celebratory dead zone—a time to recover and prepare for the seeing-out of the old year. History has proven that December 26th has been a date with ups and downs, ranging from the Revolutionary to the mundane. It was the Day after Christmas in 1776 when Washington crossed The Delaware to deliver a punchy Revolutionary War victory over the British in Trenton. And there’s the day after Christmas in Year Zero, when hungry shepherds loitered around a crowded stable, a young mother picked hay-straw out of a child-king’s swaddling, and Jesus’s stepfather huffed frankincense while imploring an innkeeper to let them stay another day in the manger.
Washington crossed the Delaware, ok. Baby Jesus is a day old, ok. Meh. I’m taking a nap.
Some cultures around the world, including our Canadian friends to the north and our greatest allies across the pond, celebrate December 26th with vigor. Most United Kingdom countries refer to the day after Christmas as “Boxing Day.” This celebration started as a time for the gentry to provide servants and workers with gifts and gratuities in “boxes” as rewards for their hard work on Christmas Day. Boxing Day has since, in many of these countries, evolved into a legal day off for engagement in conspicuous consumerism.
Other nations have designated a single day to celebrate what we, Americans, have ingrained into our everyday activities for that period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every holiday, really, from Memorial Day to Easter to Independence Day to Thanksgiving to Christmas, is an opportunity for Americans to take a day off and conspicuously consume. Every day, holiday or not, in America is an opportunity to give gratuities and display generosity.
So, we, the wealthiest and most generous people in the world, don’t need a Boxing Day like our friends in other countries have.
But maybe, this year, we should consider our own Boxing Day, with a uniquely American twist that nods to our special institutions and our fanatical approach to civics. In 2019, we can have an unofficial “American Boxing Day.” It can mark the end of the good feelings with which the Christmas spirit coats the land. Glitter, bows, and twinkling lights will give way on this American Boxing Day to something more pugilistic. December 26, 2019 is the day when the gloves will come off in the 2020 national political contest. The Democrats have been, except for some whispered homophobic and ageist insinuations coming from the fringes, respectful and mostly reserved in their broad-fielded primary campaigning. They’ve been more consumed with their eventual general election foe (who, by the way, is a full-time, year-round bare-knuckler) than with each other. That is about to change.
Expect the boxing to commence.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas this year—the theater of impeachment, notwithstanding—the American people have seen fit to be on their better behavior. Yes, this has been Americans at our best-possible given the polarizing forces that are constantly ringing bells around us. But on this American Boxing Day in 2019, expect the free-for-all to commence. The Fringes will come swinging for the Centrists who know deep down that floating like butterflies must be matched with bee-like stinging.
Get ready to duck, Mayor Pete, and to hear, “You aren’t gay enough.” Set your feet and swing back with reasonable policy and steady, sustainable jabs.
Get ready to weave, Mike Bloomberg, and to hear, “You’re too rich.” Swing back with a proven record of executive leadership, entrepreneurial genius, and active philanthropy.
Get ready to counter, Joe Biden, and to hear, “You’re too old and white.” Swing back with a long career of public service and alignment with good ol’ Barry O.
More rough-and-tumble will be the radical progressives swinging at each other as they fight for the same insular set of ultra-vocal voters who will prove to be much smaller, more intransigent, and less given-to-compromise than pollsters have let on. Watch the punches fly wildly and without a view to the fifth and sixth rounds.
On this American Boxing Day, 2019, we will see what little bit of restraint the current President has exhibited fly out of the ring. There will be blows below the belt and sucker punches. We will see a rumble—rowdy fans throwing chairs and fighting amongst themselves in the stands—unlike anything we’ve seen since the Jacksonian Era.
This American Boxing Day 2019 will be less a celebration of American generosity and neighborliness than it will signal the first round of a big, nasty fight: brothers against brothers, neighbors against neighbors, Americans against Americans. Be ready for the media-elites to hype and instigate from their microphone dangling at the center of the squared circle.
The traditional Republican and Democrat Parties will fight amongst themselves while also trying to fight against each other. Fists will fly without account, and the nation will endure eleven months of bruising, scraping, jaw-crackling fighting. Don’t count on another Electoral College TKO; the winners of Election 2020 will need to deliver a legitimate, Battle-of-Trenton-like knockout: quell this discord, baby-Jesus-like, and end the fighting.
But for now, let’s get ready to rumble!
Happy American Boxing Day.