Happy Christmas!

I got this email a while ago from my grandpa, who forwards on jokes and stuff, and I used to find his right-wing jabs funny, and they’re still funny sometimes, but sometimes they annoy me a bit. For example, this:

Subject: A seasonal message to my friends on “both sides of the aisle”


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress,
non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice
holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious
persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for
the religious/secular persuasion and/or tradition of others, or their
choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you
a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated
recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007,
but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures
whose contributions to society have helped make America great. (Not to
imply that America is necessarily greater than any other nation.)

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

Now, I do agree on the main point: political correctness has been taken too far. People who have started saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” (and who have forbidden people from saying “Merry Christmas”, say in a school or workplace or whatever) because they think that someone might get offended are missing the point on a couple of different levels. I mean, who’s to say that it’s even a holiday season? What about, say, Hindus and Buddhists, who don’t have any holidays around now? (they don’t, right?) Should we say “Happy Holidays if it’s a holiday time for you”? Of course not!

(I would like to know, though, if it is obnoxious to those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas. Do you celebrate it anyway, because it’s become sort of a national festivity time instead of a Christian holiday? Do you just ignore it? Does it bug you when people just assume you’re celebrating Christmas, because, you know, this is a Christian nation? Do you get cheesed off by “Merry Christmas”?)

Also, people think “We better be ‘diverse’, so we should say ‘Happy Hanukkah’ and ‘Happy Kwanzaa’ too” (some people have even thrown in ‘Happy Ramadan’) as if this: a. makes sense, b. covers everyone, and c. allows them to be insensitive otherwise. You know, Hanukkah isn’t the “Jewish Christmas.” It’s not even a big deal, compared to other Jewish holidays (right?) (although, Christmas wasn’t originally a big deal…). Kwanzaa is as fake as Sweetest Day (although with a nobler purpose, and I guess when I say “fake” I mean “recently created”, but the guy who created it was kinda nuts, and it’s still only celebrated by 13% of African Americans). Ramadan is a month of fasting, resolution, and spiritual growth… which seems to be just about the opposite of feast-month Christmas. (when’s the last time someone wished you a “Happy Lent”?)

Umm… this argument is all over the place. Back to the email. Nobody has a problem with “Happy New Year”, first of all. I don’t think even the most politically-correct Democrats have a problem with the Gregorian calendar. Or the word “happy.” Surprise- what we know as Christmas originally WAS the celebration of the Winter Solstice holiday, appropriated by the Christian church. And, by the way, “implied” and “implicit” mean the same thing.

I realize this is just a good-ol'-boys Republican joke, and it’s not that offensive. The main problem exists not here, but elsewhere in actual debates, where Republicans have painted Democrats as politically-correct goofballs. (Gerrit can tell you more) It’s tough to argue when people automatically assume you’re coming from an extreme point of view, or at least act as if you are. You know what I mean:
“Bush’s policies on Iraq are not so good.”
“Oh, so you want to go back to the days of Clinton, where terrorists attacked us all over the place, and we did nothing. You’d rather we just sat back and let terrorist attacks happen, and said ‘oh well.'”
“No, I’m saying Clinton made the right call not to invade a country that was only spuriously linked to terrorist attacks”
“So you’re a fan of this moral relativist. Remember Lewinsky?”
I guess the right call is to avoid arguing with these people altogether.

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