Time to toss ‘Happy holidays’ down the chimneyby Jeff Smith on Dec. 21, 2007, under Opinion
Generic, politically generated horse effluvium should be banished
It’s OK to be a Jew. And if you’re black and proud, say it loud. It’s even acceptable (PC buzzword) under appropriate (ibid) circumstances to be a Christian – both the simple Catholic or Protestant kind or the new code-word definition meaning right-wing, crypto-Bush political flunky.
This here’s America, the land of the free and the home of religious weirdos of every denomination. As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us every one.” Atheists included. They shop the malls, too.
And isn’t that what the season is all about? Shopping for something to put under the tree or the menorah or whatever?
And it doesn’t represent ugly materialism; it represents paychecks for every Wal-Mart clerk from Boca Raton to that damp, dismal place up in Washington, the one that may actually be part of Canada. And the clerks in all the mom-and-pop stores in between.
Maybe if we get materialistic enough, Mom and Pop can keep their doors open one more year. With any luck they’ll pass away in their sleep, peacefully, before having to face another fiscal season in the red.
But enough frivolous happy-time sentimentality. What I want to talk to you about this Friday before Christmas (or as it is sometimes said south of the border, Chuy’s birthday) is honesty.
I am fed to the gills with this generic, politically generated Happy Holidays horse effluvium. True, this is the season of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well as Christmas, but does this necessitate any kind of one-size-fits-all, uni-creed fare-thee-well?
Is it too much trouble to offer a season’s greetings that is what you truly – and I mean truthfully – mean? If you’re standing at the cash register with a Red Ryder BB gun for your nephew and a Betsy Wetsy doll for his sister, a wreath for the Christmas tree and a fruitcake for their mom and dad, and if the check-out clerk has a crucifix on a chain at her neck, feel free to wish her a Merry Christmas.
And if an alarm sounds and the PC police charge at you with pepper spray and butterfly nets, let ‘em have it with the BB gun. Just be sure you don’t put anybody’s eye out.
But if the clerk is wearing a Star of David, urge her to have a Happy Hanukkah, or if she’s wearing a djibouti, offer her and her near and dear the best of Kwanzaas.
Just quit it with the neutered and neutral “Happy Holidays,” won’t you? Save that one for every Friday after 5, when 99.9 percent of Americans are looking forward to Friday night, followed by Saturday, followed by NFL football for 12 straight hours after they’ve returned home from the church of their chosen faith and slipped into something more comfortable.
After an unpadded wooden pew, a rocker-recliner with electro-massage, lumbar support, deep heat and quad cup holders would be considerably more comfortable. Then again, after the pew, a piano stool might suffice.
We get plenty of holidays through the year, and weekends come 52 times a year. Christmas comes just the once. As does Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. Which is as it should be: They’re very big deals, and I don’t mean in the retail sense of the term, which clearly they also are, but in the sense of celebration, of lifting your face and your heart unto the lord of you own divining, and saying a heartfelt and truthful: Whoopie.
I was raised in the Congregational Church in Maine. These parts these days, the Congregational Church is something of an evangelical group, but when I was a kid in Dover-Foxcroft, after the folks spirited me out of Tucson and moved the family back where they hailed from, you either were a Congregationalist or you were a Baptist. Aunt Hazel was a Baptist, but that’s as far as it went. I never felt ashamed to be a Christian, a Protestant by the blueprints of the place and people who raised me up.
But over the past couple of decades, lots of limp-wristed ideologues have done their best to make me feel ashamed. And I ain’t having any of it.
So Merry Christmas, damnit. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa. I will kneel to alphabetizing, but to no other graven image that denies me my First Amendment freedom of speech and religion rights.
Jeffygoy wishes you a Happy Holiday of your choice, but especially Merry Christmas, despite whatever tragedies may befall you. He may be reached at (520) 455-5667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT’S THE PROPER GREETING? WHAT YOU THINK
Here are some responses to a recent letter to the editor by Tucsonan Mike Waling, who wishes people “Happy holidays” unless he knows that they’re fellow Christians. “It’s about consideration and respect for others,” he writes.
• “It’s polite not to force your religion on others. . . . Be polite instead of intolerant.” – Jared H.
• “The only people who are offended by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ are the radical ACLU nuts who want to force no religion on the rest of us and get God out of everything because it will be easier to push the radical liberal agenda.” – Brian H.
• “There are many holidays this time of year, and . . . it’s common courtesy to not assume everyone is Christian and celebrates Christmas.” – Talulah M.
• “Where in the world is the world that was depicted in “It’s a Wonderful Life’? The true grinches in the world are the PC fanatics.” – Dewey B.
• “Any time anyone wishes me well, it makes my day. The words – or even the language – doesn’t matter. The acknowledgement and the smile are what counts.” – Steve H.