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Today on Context Florida: Holiday service, homegrown threats, Christmas wishes and what’s wrong with the GOP

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Today on Context Florida:

Terri Susan Fine says the Thanksgiving season brought interesting discussions about “the holidays.” Many holidays are celebrated by people of different cultures, religious backgrounds and nations of origin. There are some who may celebrate both holidays such that they wish each other “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy Hanukkah,” while others include Hanukkah decorations on their Christmas trees or add the traditional red-and-green Christmas colors to their Hanukkah menorahs, the eight-light candelabra used as part of the Hanukkah observance. There is so much wrong with this picture, she says.

After careful study of the latest debate-cum-Beauty-Pageant-in-Hell, Diane Roberts may have finally figured out what’s wrong with the Republican Party. They think real life is just like a movie. A bad, cheap movie, possibly starring Chuck Norris, she says.

Julie Delegal offers her Christmas wish for Florida, which includes a new electoral map, open primaries, gun insurance, and – above all – peace on earth. She also asks Santa to leave us a little bread to break and share with our families, friends, and communities. Maybe when we put down the mirror – and our idolatrous beliefs – and look at each other instead, she believes we will see the face of God.

ISIL and its acolytes are a real threat, but according to Martin Dyckman, they are far from the worst form of terrorism we face There has been and remains greater danger from the sort of non-Muslim terrorists who massacre children and college students in classrooms, patrons in movie theaters and worshipers in church, and who torch and shoot up Planned Parenthood clinics. These unorganized atrocities are terrorism. We should fear above all the fear-mongering gun lobby that makes such crimes so convenient and we should fear the despicably cowardly politicians who kowtow to them.

Chester Spellman reminds us that this time of year is when many will reflect on the things that make us grateful: our family, friends, good health, and meaningful work. With that in mind, Volunteer Florida’s theme for the month of December is “service over the holidays.” While we promote service and volunteerism year-round, the holiday season is a time when many of us are most acutely aware of how fortunate we are.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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