Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Christmas, belief, and political correctness

I got a lot for Christmas this year: an Inuit sculpture and the complete series of Barney Miller from my sister, a sketchbook from my parents, as well as a few other CDs, DVDs, books and things.  Christmas dinner was exceptional: the traditional turkey, potatoes, squash, carrots, beans and gravy.

This is the time of year where people wish each other “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, and “Season’s Greetings”.  More and more, especially in the opinion pages of the news people, some people are fighting against political correctness and saying things to the effect of “I don’t care if I offend people, I’m celebrating CHRISTmas, not Holidays”.   That whole line of posturing  just comes off as extremely defensive and condescending to me.  Wishing people well is not a competition.  Some people believe and some people don’t, and I have no problem with people saying either.  A simple “Merry Christmas” is fine: the process of adding those other words about fighting the political correctness and secularization seems to add the implication of “I couldn’t care less if your Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Yule is good or bad”.   You’re not going to know who celebrates Christmas just by looking at them.  I’m fine with Happy Holidays because not only is it inclusive of other beliefs, “holidays” can be the entire Thanksgiving to Epiphany timeframe: either way, Christmas is included.  The whole idea of a “war on Christmas” makes less sense when the holiday as it is celebrated today is largely comprised of re-appropriated traditions.  It’s not like athiests are forbidding a private celebration in the home or completely outlawing the sale of anything that actually says “Christmas”.  The Puritans were more opposed to Christmas than whatever the most vocal of the right-wing evangelicals say is opposing it these days.

I have a problem with some forms of political correctness, particularly when it ends up being more patronizing than anything (“handi-capable” or “differently abled” come to mind), or when it ends up making a concept so abstract with its over-deliberate choice of words.  I don’t doubt the whole concept was noble in intention, but with so many things, it gets corrupted by our own shitty human nature.

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