Red state conservatives are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore. Yes, indeed, the so-called secularists have pushed them to the brink by taking the “Christ” out of Christmas by pushing for the use of “happy holidays” as the politically correct salutation for the Yuletide season.
It does seem a little absurd to be bending over backwards to be so correct on this one when roughly 85 percent of the population can be loosely categorized as Christian. Is it truly religious persecution to say “Merry Christmas” to someone celebrating an alternative such as Chanukah, Kwanza or lord knows what else?
Have we gone overboard? At an elementary school winter pageant the other night, the little kiddies dutifully sang traditional Chanukah and Kwanza songs. When it came time for a traditional Christian song, however, there was a dance to the music such that the lyrics were not uttered for fear of offending someone somehow. The grand finale song could have been a “Saturday Night Live” parody as it regaled the audience with the message that it would be wonderful if we had just one big celebration as we’re all the same. No doubt this would have brought a tear to Rodney King’s eye as the gymnasium rocked and rolled to the message of “why can’t we just all get along?”
Bill O’Reilly rampages about the retailers. Jerry Falwell resurrects his image to go on point in the ever present and ever tiresome values battle, claiming to be kicking the secularists squarely in the behind.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert turn around and mock the battle on Comedy Central in their respective shows. They point out the various “Christian” traditions pre-dating Christ that were melded into our current ritual in order to broaden appeal when Christianity was competing with Paganism for the hearts and minds of our forebears. Regardless, neither side really sees nor hears the others’ point given the narrow casting that cable channels afford to media conglomerates.
Every political movement of sorts hits a breaking point where their advocacy backfires. So-called McCarthyism was on a roll in the early 1950s until such time as respected US Army Attorney Joseph Welch confronted the senator in June 1954 by uttering the phrase, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” The rest, as they say, is history, as the phrase pulled back the curtain on Tailgunner Joe, destroying his credibility.
The so-called war on language derided as political correctness may soon be reaching such a breaking point. Language can have multiple meanings, to be sure. It is when individuals assign insidious meanings to harmless utterances that folks can get riled up. Perhaps naïve, but this correspondent has to assume the dominant majority of folks happily uttering Merry Christmas in their travels at this time of year are not doing so to persecute or mock non-Christians.
Upbraided a couple of times and put on the defensive, people have three recourses: Kowtow to the new, elitist group-think; open their minds a little bit and figure it’s not that big of a deal; or get their backs up.
Clearly some who kowtowed in the past have decided to get their backs up this year. This does not mean we’re one step closer to going down a road of religious persecution, either. One has to be a master of hyperbole to translate the “happy holidays” backlash into believing we’re ready to seize non-Christian’s properties or to advocate imprisonment or execution of same.
It’s a nice time of year no matter what you celebrate. We hold doors more often for one another. We make more idle conversation in checkout lines, we sit back and reflect. Whatever God, false or otherwise, to which we pay fealty, we’re all really just trying to have a good time with family and friends.
So go forth and do your part. Overspend, overeat, overindulge. Utter the holiday platitude of your choice while taking solace in the notion that actions speak louder than words. A good heart comes through no matter what you say. Those getting in your face at this time of the year probably need to remove the lemon from their mouth and spend a little time in quiet introspection, regardless of which side of the fight they support.
Mr. Woollacott is president and founder of Renaissance Group International Inc. Contact him directly at email@example.com.