A 2020 White House Christmas

Over the last few years at Christmas time, I have written about the return of elegance and good taste to the White House, not to mention the timeless honoring of its religious significance. 

As usual this year, legacy media outlets took their shots at First Lady Melania Trump. HGTV runs an annual Christmas special, and this year, a significant part of the show was dedicated to the decorations of past first ladies—as if they could not wait to receive back into the White House their globalist masters to afflict us with their modernist decorative Hindenburg. 

This year, the decor is elegant for its simplicity. While there are the typical emotive rooms dedicated to children (Be Best), and first responders, the theme of “America the Beautiful” stands out and deserves our attention.

And just what is so beautiful about America? Her deeds. 

The East Room is where American greatness resides this year and it is arguably the most patriotic, though it is also the room where the traditional nativity scene exists. The room is dedicated to the theme of innovation and technology. The planes, trains, and the muscle cars of yesteryear leap from the room as if to call back to our consciousness just what made America great.

Setting the tone in the center of the room is a scene dedicated to the first transcontinental railroad. A train circles a table adorned with greenery around two large golden candelabras. The train labeled, the “White House Express” also has “America the Beautiful” adorned atop the box cars. The railroad, dramatically featured in the rather fictional Netflix series “Hell on Wheels,” is not celebrated for the personal foibles of the characters—Dr. Thomas C. Durant developed the structure that led to the Crédit Mobilier scandal after all—but for the expansion west connecting what would be a great country. 

To the uninitiated, this piece of American ingenuity would be a nice footnote of the Industrial Age. However, the creation of the line came in the midst of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln signed an 1862 bill to develop a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. Its construction was a massive feat of human ingenuity. A majority of the Union Pacific line of the transcontinental railroad was built by former Union and Confederate soldiers. It was overseen by General Ulysses S. Grant’s military intelligence chief, Grenville M. Dodge.

Amidst the personal corruption that afflicts mankind in all areas of life, the construction of the railroad was a marvel. Modern technology of industrial means would stitch together a nation, and provide opportunity to those who lived here. Its construction was a wondrous testament to what men could accomplish, especially for a young nation. One of the significant testaments to our ingenuity was that the railway passed through imposing mountainous regions. According to historian Stephen E. Ambrose, we were the first to build a transcontinental railway by decades and over all other countries.

Impressive to say the least.

Also located in the East Room is a tribute to the automobile. While many autos are prevalent, the striking ones celebrate the golden age of design. One of the most striking is an ornament of what is likely a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. While we might find other models hanging in the trees, the theme or message is the same. We built these things. Americans did. This country built better cars than anyone. And when snobby Europeans said we could not beat their sports cars, Ford decided to hire a team of people no less lacking in ingenuity than those who laid the Transcontinental Railroad. For a taste of this triumph, in spite of personal obstacles thrown in their way by enterprising and selfish men, see the excellent film “Ford v. Ferrari.”

We could continue by noting the conquering of the air celebrated by the hanging ornament of the Wright Flyer. That 1903 accomplishment came when men slipped the bonds of earth without a balloon. It would go on to make another industry that connected our country to the far reaches of the globe in a more expeditious manner than by ship. Aircraft would go on to carry our Airborne to France on D-Day saving the world from a maniacal despotism.

There is something different about this holiday season. In all likelihood, we will have a new administration that cheated its way into office. If that is likely, expect the Chinese Communist decor from the Obama years to return. Because of this sober reality, there is a somber, perhaps lamenting, atmosphere that pervades this year’s Christmas celebrations. 

Our political landscape is entering the dangerous territory of regime politics. Yet, the East Room transcends these perilous times by combining two themes of humanity—reason and revelation. 

The East Room is the source of our salvation in soul and mind. From the nativity scene celebrating the birth of Our Lord, to the monuments of human greatness, we find in these poles a confidence and rest. Human beings can do great things, and we have the blessings of God to thank for that. We have Him to revere for the enduring idea of the beautiful.

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