by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has bestowed upon governor Gavin Newsom the “Ebenezer Award” for his efforts in trying to dim California’s holiday spirit. Newsom canceled Sacramento’s annual in-person Christmas tree lighting and skipped out on a traditional menorah lighting ceremony this year, which certainly earns him a place in the hall-of-Scrooges.
“In canceling one of California’s most cherished holiday traditions and skipping another, Newsom can rightly be dubbed the Governor who stole Christmas and Hanukkah,” Becket president and CEO Mark Rienzi said. “We hope Governor’s heart will grow three sizes next year, so that Californians can once again celebrate their annual holidays with joy.”
“All Americans should be able to come together in a spirit of joy and hope at the holidays,” Rienzi continued. “While there will always be those who seek to divide us, the Christmas and Hanukkah season serves as an important reminder of our need to live together in peace despite our differences.”
Sacramento is unlike other California hotspots; it’s no destination, despite its political gravitas, and it’s not a particularly memorable cultural hub, either. Its remarkable quality is its small-town community, which persists regardless of political or socioeconomic differences. And Christmas, Newsom’s wife Jennifer said at the virtual tree-lighting, is a time to remember “that what unites us is more powerful than what divides us.”
Sacramentans know that. We know it, because when riots stormed through the city during the summer of rage, the community, and not our governor, kept small businesses open. We know it, because when Newsom shut down schools during Covid, Sacramento educators rallied to teach kids as best they could. We know it, because we host one of the largest charity runs on Thanksgiving and annually generate millions of dollars in support for the homeless, while our government wastes tax dollars on useless housing programs.