- - Tuesday, December 22, 2020

We’ve all read — or watched — Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The story has so permeated our discourse that characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim are employed as similes for miserliness and poverty. We also tend to remember, and use as metaphor, the trio of ghosts that visit Scrooge, ultimately precipitating a change in his soul for the better.

An instructive experiment is to call forth these apparitions and kindly ask them to provide insight into our current politics. What do we suppose they would have to show regarding, say, the coming Biden administration? Let’s find out.

• Ghost of Christmas Past

We are now transposed back into the 1970s. A young Mr. Biden has recently been elected to the Senate. The thrill of politics, the horse-trading, cigars and punch-ups, stir him. He works on important legislation. He even co-sponsors a bill along with Sens. Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, making it difficult for courts to order desegregation through busing. The young Mr. Biden looks good in a suit. He dreams of the future and knows somehow, someway, he will one day be the center of it all.

• Ghost of Christmas Present

We behold Mr. Biden today. Decades in politics, and the elastic morality it takes to succeed, have taken its toll on the man. After a lengthy career in the Senate, he sits for eight years as President Obama’s vice president. He did not do much, but that’s OK, he intones. Always best to keep one’s powder dry.

He watches as a new man, a man in the opposition, appears on the scene. This man upends the political order, pushes back on the establishment Washington apparatus and is wildly popular with the common man. Mr. Biden sees Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Then he painfully endures four years as Mr. Trump sets about undoing the power structure that had been so painstakingly set by Democrats and Republicans over the last half century. He is especially worried about America’s stand against China. After all, friends in Beijing had been so good to his family.

We behold Mr. Biden now in his autumn years. He yearns to spend time with Jill and the grandkids. He has been through many personal travails and could use a rest. Things are getting cloudy and he often feels confused. But the phone keeps ringing, and the party keeps pushing him to run. And so he does, with a running mate who had, just months before, called him a racist. Politics is strange, he keeps reminding himself.

By some seeming miracle, he wins. He oversees the Cabinet nomination process. Who are all these names, he asks? Why are their politics so radical? This is the new Democratic Party he is told. Better get some rest, Mr. President, someone urges. We will take it from here.

• Ghost of Christmas Future

The apparition does not show us what happened to Mr. Biden. He is simply not in the picture. Instead, we get flashes of future America. A handful of billionaires (and one newly-minted trillionaire) control large portions of the economy. Middle- and lower-class people are essentially serfs in the new digital economy. The Founding Fathers, long deemed racist, are no longer even remembered. Children have been given new idols — comprised of men and women in Silicon Valley — in their schools. China owns massive amounts of U.S. land. Woke ideology is the new national religion. It is enforced at every level.

In the White House, Kamala Harris is nearing the end of her second term. Lawyers are busy figuring out how to make it a third.

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