Happy Birthday, or Something

In the Hawaiian Islands, the first birthday is a very big deal.  The celebrated “first baby luau” is a coveted invitation in social circles and has been for generations.  The first birthday is important throughout Polynesian culture and elsewhere – Korea, for example.  The importance of the first birthday has its roots in much earlier times, before advances in medical science reduced a heartbreaking frequency of infant mortality.  Contemporary Hawaiians use the first baby luau to celebrate and honor a new life with a view to the future.  Their ancestors celebrated because the honoree still inhabited the planet.  The earliest first luaus were focused less on optimism and celebration than survival.  Congratulations, you’re a year old and still alive.  That’s worth celebrating all by itself.

Which brings us to the first anniversary of the Czar’s administration, which was more like the ancient first birthday celebration than the modern one.  Congratulations, you’re a year old and still alive – barely.  On anniversary day, January 20th, the federal government was shut down by political infighting after the self-professed master dealmaker proved incapable of actually making one.  There was nobody there to blow out the candle.

 


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