The New York Times’ Christmas Day editorial, “Moments of Grace in a Grim Year,” got off to a wonderful start with a tribute to the astronauts of Apollo 8, the first humans to orbit the moon. On Christmas Eve 1968 Apollo 8 sent a now-iconic photograph (paid tribute to in a Times graphic) of “earth-rise” -- a shot of the Earth from the astronauts’ vantage point over the surface of the moon.
But after that zenith, the editorial quickly fell back to, um, earth, as the liberals on the editorial board took advantage of the season to interpret peace on earth and goodwill toward men as a Christmas wish list for the left wing, celebrating Black Lives Matter, gay marriage, the climate change accord, and Syrian refugees, while putting America on the naughty list.
Germany agreeing to take in massive amounts of Syrian refugees and thus rebuking American-style “nationalist bigotry.” In a striking example of the Times embracing religion when it suits its ideology, Pope Francis was compared to his saintly namesake for greeting an immigrant girl who approached his motorcade in Washington (no mention that it was a scripted publicity stunt a year in the planning -- the liberal media lapped it up).
Humanity being what it is, the world remains a place of suffering and calamity. In 2015, catastrophes in the Middle East spread misery and terror the world over. The United States was brutalized, as ever, by the tyranny of gunfire. Our coarsened politics, so expert at keeping the populace fearful and distraught, got ever louder and cruder in the heat of a presidential race. The strutting and fretting promise only to get worse in 2016.
But the Times somehow rose above such and found “reasons to believe in the persistence of better values: humility, conciliation, kindness, dignity and reason.”
The evidence was all around in 2015, nearly everywhere you looked.
The nations of the world came together in Paris to reach an agreement that may yet halt the march toward an overheated, unlivable planet. It offers the best chance for meaningful global action to avert catastrophic climate change, and 195 countries promised to seize it.
Pope Francis, like the saint he took his name from, a messenger of humility and peace, visited the Americas. He challenged the wealthy and powerful in the name of the poor and the weak. When he spoke to Congress, prayed at ground zero, and greeted, with a smile and a hug, a little girl who jumped a fence to approach his motorcade in Washington, he set a vivid example of welcome for children, immigrants, the forgotten.
Next, it was up to Germany to remind the United States what true “humanitarianism” looks like -- bringing in as many Syrian refugees as possible, and never mind the “nationalist bigotry” of security concerns.
As the Syrian crisis swelled and a human tide poured toward Western Europe, tens of thousands of refugees found open doors and hearts in Germany and other countries. The overall global response remains far from adequate, but the Germans sent a message that rebukes nationalist bigotry, defends human rights and reminds countries like the United States how to confront a humanitarian emergency.