AP File Photo/John Minchillo / Police and protesters tangle on South Washington Street in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

On a recent visit to Atlanta, it occurred to me that, as a newly single man, I need to do my own Christmas shopping this year. My situation got more urgent when Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reminded her voters that there are only 15 smash-and-grab looting days left until Christmas.

So, I had to make a decision. With the supply chain chokepoint and not knowing what to buy for Christmas and for whom, do I not write a column this week and not shop for Christmas gifts, or do I fake my own death?

Thus, I arrived at a midpoint, and will quote a great recent piece by a former California judge, Keith Alber. His honor's poignant missive is concise and elegant, unlike my writing.

"I am a student of law whose age is 85. My first year of college was 68 years ago. One class I took was political science. A half-page of my textbook essentially outlined a few steps to overturn a democracy:

— Divide the nation philosophically.

— Foment racial strife.

— Cause distrust of police authority.

— Swarm the nation's borders indiscriminately and unconstitutionally.

— Engender the military strength to weaken it.

— Overburden citizens with more unfair taxation.

— Encourage civil rioting and discourage accountability for all crime.

— Control all balloting.

— Control all media.

What was printed in 1954 as a possible diabolic nightmare has become an emerging reality. I hope that Americans will unite enough to pen a good finish."

Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed satirist, author and TV/radio commentator, at or Twitter @RonaldHart.