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Chris Carpenter
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The Great Christmas Gag Order

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - I don’t consider myself a crusader nor do I actively seek out confrontation. But when it comes to debating the issues of the day you will find me at the front of the line.

I suppose it is a character trait that developed in me as a young child. Invariably, alright I will be honest, most of the time, I delighted in questioning my parents decision making process in relation to my personal development and comportment.

If the answer was no I wanted a reason. A simple discussion of how they arrived at the N-word would suffice. There was nothing more frustrating to me than being told I could not do something without a valid explanation as to why.

For example, when told I needed to be in at 9pm on a school night my first response was always, “Why?”

The answer never changed.


“Because what?”

“Because I said so.”

What kind of an answer is that? “Because I said so.” To parents this phrase is perceived to be one of authority and finality. When said with a powerful, bellowing cadence, “Because … I … said … so …” it is as if a voice from on high has ruled on the matter. But to a child and especially to a teenager, this four word sentence is more like a four letter word. It is offensive. “Because I said so” is perceived to be nothing more than a stall tactic, a clear indicator that there is no logical explanation behind the decision at all. To a pimply faced 15 year old, it is a decision made without clear thought or the consideration of all factors.

This Christmas season, I feel like that 15 year old all over again sans pimples. This time, I am being told by the slightest sliver of the population that my friendly pharmacist, florist, or frozen food manager at a host of big box stores cannot wish me a “Merry Christmas”. When I ask why, the answer my ears keep hearing is all too familiar … “Because we said so!”

Sure the politically correct secularists will tell me that as Americans we must respect our neighboring atheists, agnostics, and various religions scattered in between by not offending them with the dreaded C-word. Instead, we should greet these folks with something a little more paradoxically pleasing. Something like, “I hope you have a happy non-denominational cold season and supporting holiday.”

To that I say bah humbug! You are offending me and the other 84.99999 percent of people in this country who claim some form of Christianity as their religious preference.

An acquaintance of mine, who shall remain nameless, recently questioned whether critics of the movement (people like me) to remove Christmas from the public square have ever stood in line at a post office or sat in a public school classroom. He suggested I would find the answer to my Christmas conundrum by seeing many of the 35 million residents born outside the United States.

Being a responsible journalist, I did just that over the weekend. I journeyed to my local post office and found something very interesting. As he suggested, I did see several faces from every corner of the globe but I also observed something that has gone largely unreported. To my astonishment nearly 90 percent of the people I encountered had no problem with “Merry Christmas” being uttered in the public square. I am not a professional mathematician but in a land that is ruled by the majority I would say 90 percent beats 10 percent every time.

Here are the facts on Christmas. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law making Christmas a holiday for all American citizens. This is why no businesses are open, why no mail is delivered, and why an overwhelming majority of people will be sleeping in on Monday morning December 26th this year. I don’t hear anyone complaining about time off to celebrate this late December silver bell soiree. This “Christmas” law has worked splendidly for the last 134 years. Why should it stop now?

Despite the many examples I have cited, a host of corporate executives still believe they must cater to an overwhelming minority of holiday shoppers rather than the huge, teeming mass of Christmas shoppers.

For instance:

Starbucks wants us to “Pass the Cheer”.

Sears suggests we “Wish for it All!”

Dillards extends “Season’s Greetings”, a message that would be appropriate at any time of the year if you really think about it.

L.L. Bean gives “Warm Holiday Wishes” to its customer base.

And Target?  They have some nice, festive looking holly berries on their Web site but no greeting of any sort.

For the record, I am not seeking exclusive territorial Christmas greeting rights. I have absolutely no problem with my Jewish friends wishing each other Happy Hanukkah in my presence. If you want to say Happy Kwanzaa in front of me have at it. But do not hide behind the banner of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and tell me I can’t say Merry Christmas. It is my religion and my right as an American.

A popular plea this Christmas season has been for people to embrace and accept the religions of others. What a wonderful idea. Let’s start with Christianity. After all, it is the religious orientation of more than 200 million people who call the United States home.

Merry Christmas to all!
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