American Christmas Card 2004

Kurt Vonnegut

As a spe­cial hol­i­day treat for its read­ers, In These Times asked Kurt Von­negut for his thoughts on the Christ­mas sea­son. Here’s what he wrote. Hap­py hol­i­days from every­one at In These Times.

I met a man in Nige­ria years ago,
an Ibo,
who said he had three hun­dred relatives
he knew by name.
His wife had just had a baby.
They were going to take it 
on foot
to be wel­comed and mar­veled at
by as many of those relatives
as they could find,
even though
there was a war going on.
Wouldn’t you love to have been
such a famous baby?
I wish I could wave a mag­ic wand
this Christmas,
and give every des­per­ate­ly lonesome
and hun­gry and lost American
man, woman, or child
the love and com­fort and support
of an extend­ed family.
Just two peo­ple and a babe in the manger,
giv­en a heart­less Government, 
is no sur­vival scheme. 

Kurt Von­negut, the leg­endary author, WWII vet­er­an, human­ist, artist and smok­er, was an In These Times senior edi­tor until his death in April 2007. His clas­sic works include Slaugh­ter­house-Five, Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons and Cat’s Cra­dle, among many oth­ers. The last book by him pub­lished before his death, A Man With­out a Coun­try (2005), col­lects many of the arti­cles he wrote for this magazine.
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