Even in this rapidly changing world, we can always count on a few annual events — swallows returning to Capistrano, back-to-school sales, and the annual Fox News whining about the War on Christmas. According to their complaints, godless anti-religious socialists are trying to ruin the American way of life by asking that governments, schools, and even, gasp, retailers try to be inclusive. Pundits point to some horrid city council that decides to replace its annual Nativity scene with a “winter” scene, or stores that use “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in their advertisements.
Look, I get it. 77% of the country identifies as Christian, Christmas is a national holiday, and I expect to be bombarded by it for at least a month. And I’m not offended when a Target clerk wishes me Merry Christmas even as she rings up my Hanukkah candles and cards. But I also appreciate the occasional “Happy Holidays,” which acknowledges that some of us — in fact, 23% of us — don’t observe Christmas, at least as a religious holiday.
And as for the whining about political correctness in schools, try to imagine what it’s like for Jewish or Muslim kids in a class making Christmas ornaments and preparing for a Christmas concert. Would it be so hard to teach them “Winter Wonderland” or “White Christmas” and save “Away in a Manger” for church?
Sarah Palin is making a whole career move out of this manufactured controversy, with a new book and a major book tour, all the while insisting that we need to have MORE Christmas and more religious observances in public. In a recent interview, she answered a question about other religions being offended by saying, “In my family, we have the Menorah out through December on our kitchen table because I want to teach my children about the Jewish faith.” Which shows just how little she knows about the Jewish faith: Hanukkah only lasts eight days, and Menorahs get lit and displayed in a window, not left on the kitchen table like a bowl of fruit. Besides, that type of comment sounds an awful lot like, “Some of my best friends are…” But I digress.
Anyway, no matter what holidays we observe at this time of year, it’s a good chance to stop and think about what’s important in life and to count our blessings. So I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly et. al. for frequently making my job so easy.