Friday, December 16, 2005

Tennessean Weighs In On the Yuletide Culture War (Is It Okay To Say "Yuletide"?)

Christmas should be in churches, in the hearts and souls of men.
Christmas is with Easter, one of the two most precious and sacred days of Christians, Catholics and Protestants. It is a day that has special meaning to me, where I attend Mass and spend time with my family.

And I don‘t think we need to defend it. What, I think, we need to do is to practice it.

--U.S. Representative John Dingell (D), Michigan, last night on MSNBC


The writers and editors at Tennessean obviously failed to catch Rep. Dingell's comments on Christmas or to pay attention to his riff on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas yesterday from the well of the House (after some anti-Holy Day Republicans in the House introduced a bill to promote Christmas instead of holidays). If they had paid some attention, they could have avoided their bi-polar (and I mean that in every sense of the term) distortion of the views of those who even care to consider the question:
The debate is dividing ... communities. One camp says political correctness has already gone too far, making a religious holiday secular. Others say using a neutral phrase such as "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is better because it includes non-Christians.
Yeah, right. Two diametrically opposite sides locked in mortal combat over God's rested, merry gentlemen. Everything can be cut to fit simple black and white distinctions. Nobody nuances his or her views. There is no third or fourth position. Yeah, right. Anything for paper sales and higher ratings.

This is further indication that what drives this controversy is not a lunatic fringe of conservativism (which nonetheless is the spark) but the mainstream media itself simply itching to report an assault that does not even exist beyond the minds of a few cultural cleansers who always convince themselves that they are attacked. Is it too much to ask that the Tennessean give equal time to those of us who are conscientious objectors to this fake war? I know it can be difficult when you've got Metro Council members making self-serving, self-aggrandizing comments like,
It's the birth of Christ .... Christmas is the name of the season. I don't want to offend any other group or any other religion … but I celebrate Christmas. I think council members felt like we were getting away from (things like) the Christmas tree. For me, it was an important aspect of growing up.
Hence, celebrating Jamie Isabel's childhood development joins Jesus's birth as the "reason for the season." As if there were no pressing civic matters to consider on Tuesday nights in Council chambers.

But to Mr. Isabel, the Tennessean editors, and all those who would save the Christ in "Christmas" (does that not sound sacrilege to anybody else?) without saving the "Mass," too, I would recite part of Mr. Dingell's own riff:

We will pretend Christmas is under attack. Hold a vote to save it and pat ourselves on the back. “Silent Night,” the “First Noel,” “Away in the Manger.” Wake up, Congress, they‘re in no danger. This time of year, we see Christmas everywhere we go, from churches to homes to schools and, yes, even Costco.

What we have is an attempt to define and destroy. When this is the season to unite us with joy. At Christmas time we‘re taught to unite. We don‘t need a made-up reason to fight. So on O‘Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, on those right-wing blogs. You should sit back and relax. Have a few eggnogs.

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