True to my customary seasonal procrastination, I am now forced to once again participate in the American tradition known as last-minute shopping.
Last year, I got for then President-elect Barack Obama, Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities". My thinking was, it may be the best of times for Obama, but it was mostly likely the worst of times for a number of Americans.
This year, I've decided to pre-order for the president Robert Caro's fourth and final volume on the life of Lyndon Johnson. Given the book is scheduled to be released in 2012, the timing might be perfect for the current president to read about a former president who also attempted to marry major domestic policy legislation while escalating a war that he had inherited in a country already known for thwarting the occupation of foreign powers.
For Joe Lieberman, along with his Republican colleagues in the Senate, a copy of the movie, "Pay it Forward." It could serve as instructional viewing before the conference on health care between the Senate and House of Representatives.
I got the Republican Party a copy of that little known self-help booklet "When the tax cut looks like a hammer and every problem looks like a nail, it's probably time for new tools."
To disappointed Obama supporters, no longer enthralled by the chants of "Yes we can!" I got copies of "His Excellency: George Washington," "1776," "Lenin: A New Biography" and "Fidel Castro." Though these books are very different in their content, there is one strand of undeniable similarity: Leading the revolution is vastly different from governing day-to-day.
I got South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford a recording of the song "Don't Cry for me, Argentina" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. I think this one is self-explanatory.
For the "tea baggers," a copy of the Declaration of Independence (unedited version), the Constitution and Federalist Papers so when they feel compelled to emotionally rant about the original intent of the Founders, they can at least have some idea of what that could possibly mean.
For Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity et al, a different flavor Kool-Aid from the one they're currently drinking. On that note, I got the "birthers" two months of group sessions that help individuals let go after the truth they've myopically clung to has been categorically debunked.
For Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a copy of "Liar-Liar." Ridley-Thomas seems to think his constituents will believe his justification that refurbishing his office to the tune of $700,000 is an economic stimulus/job creation project.
If he gets away with that story, I might have to also buy him a copy of the "The Great Escape," starring Steve McQueen. But as I recall, not too many in that movie actually got away.
For Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, I got Mitch Albom's bestseller "Have a Little Faith" because that's what will be required if he thinks voters of Oakland will forget his exaggerated laissez faire approach that became the hallmark of his first term, especially if he plans to run for re-election.
Since I was running low on money and I did not want to max out my credit card, I decided to create documents suitable for framing for those banking executives whose companies accepted the federal government's bail out and were still rewarded with handsome year-end bonus packages. On them, I printed the following self-justifying soliloquy from the movie "Wall Street" in the unlikely event they experience some sleepless nights:
"The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind."
The problem with last-minute shopping is the inevitability of omitting someone from the list. I didn't have time to purchase gifts for Sarah Palin, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Vice President Dick Cheney or former President George W. Bush -- all were on my list last year.
Oh well, there are always those post-Christmas bargains.
Byron Williams is an Oakland pastor, a syndicated columnist and blog-talk radio host. He is the author of Strip Mall Patriotism: Moral Reflections of the Iraq War. E-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site: byronspeaks.com.