Thursday, November 28, 2013

Merry paranoid Christmas


War on Christmas, my ass.

Hell, Labor Day was barely over before the big box stores started setting up the tinsel and candy canes. We're not exactly inundated with menorahs. Americans spend $3 trillion a year on Christmas. It's pearl jam in the Big Pants of the commercial industry. Nobody's coming after Christmas with an Abrams tank or M110 sniper rifle. Not even with liberal propaganda.

Not everyone's buying that, though. They believe there's a war on Christmas just as surely as they believe global warming is a myth and Noah placed two of every kind of dinosaur on the ark. No, if that Target cashier wishes them a "happy holiday," it's a full barrel assault on everything they hold dear. The secular clown posse' is pissing all over their Christmas parade.

I celebrate Christmas, love it. But if the clerk tells me "happy holiday," it's the same as if that cashier wishes me a "merry Christmas." I appreciate the sentiment and thank the person behind the counter. Heck, I even say it back.

This is the holiday season. That means there's about 10 different holidays going on. (Isn't it cool - Thanksgivingkah?) "Happy holiday" is simply an inclusive, all-embracing phrase that spreads the joy of the season to people of all faiths, cultures and races.


But the paranoid Christmas-fascist crowd isn't cool with that. For them, their whole world is hanging on those two words. You better wish them a merry Christmas, dammit, and you better like it. They're like the band geek girl from American Pie, exclaiming in a moment of carnal abandon - SAY MY NAME, BITCH!!!

They spot a plot to destroy Christmas every time that innocuous happy holidays phrase is spoken. This Big Tough Thin Skinned Conservative Crowd feels scared and threatened, all their little feelies hurt 'cuz someone didn't wish them a merry Christmas. It's as if all Western culture is hinging on...OMG, they called it a 'Holiday Tree'! You Bastards! They're insecure with their $3 trillion industry. They are spoiled little children who don't want to share their toys.

Of course they fear these other holidays want to move in and destroy them. That's what they - this American Taliban - would do to them if they had the power. It sucks for them that we live in a country with religious freedom - where other religions besides their own are respected, where their religion isn't the only one.

Isn't it interesting how the bullies like to spin it to make themselves out as victims? Oh, they're so oppressed. They have a martyr complex.

There are children living in poverty who won't have a good Christmas. Homeless people. Suicidal people on the holidays. But oh no, you're the victim.

I figure we're all all right so why not have a cup of holiday chill?




Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK


"If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."
John F. Kennedy


Recently I asked someone who was alive when JFK was assassinated if she thought the country would be in as deep of mourning if Obama were killed.

"I don't know, but I'd like to be the one pulling the trigger," she said and laughed, slapped me on the back, grabbed my hand. (She's a handsy person.)

She was an old lady - in her late 80s or early 90s - and I wasn't going to spar with her so I said nothing. Had she been a younger person, I would have felt morally obligated to say something about the inappropriate nature of her comment

That's the climate in America today.

Hatred.

A few years ago, I took my wife and kids to the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas. We looked at the pictures and read their captions along the walls of the museum. The day Pres. Kennedy would be riding in the motorcade along Dealey Plaza, handbills were circulating:

"Wanted for treason" the words read underneath pictures of JFK, resembling a wanted poster. The handbill derided the President for encouraging "communist inspired racial riots" and appointing "anti-Christians to federal office." Does any of this sound familiar?

Not surprisingly, the handbill was printed by a John Bircher who led the resistance to the University of Mississippi's inclusion of James Meredith as its first African-American student.

Is this the legacy that endures 50 years later? Hatred. Racism. Violence. Arrogance. Bigotry.

Nowadays, too many people are revealing their true selves on Facebook and Twitter. The politics of George Wallace prevails. Much of the hatred against JFK was rooted in racism for his support of Civil Rights. Today, this pathological hatred on the right for Barrack Obama, is, regardless of how much they deny it, a product of racism.

JFK was pilloried by "good Christians" with Catholicphobia. They believed that "papist" would be ruled by the Vatican. Today, the Christian Right use Islamaphobia against Obama. He's not Muslim; they just think he is, and if he were, that would be perfectly all right.

In an address before Protestant clergymen - my favorite JFK speech - he made clear that religious freedom was contingent on the separation of church and state. That was the speech that right wing gay bashing 2012 GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said made him want to puke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdgjS5j2po

Forget that Santorum is a Catholic whose road was paved by JFK. But Santorum, like Palin, Rush, Fox "News" and everyone else of that ilk are heirs to the hatemongers of the past - the Dixiecrats, McCarthyites, the John Birch Society.

I know from history that JFK was not the liberal reformer he has been mythologized to be in death.
But if the things he did were not always great, the ideals he expressed were sublime. Kennedy's galvanic power to inspire a generation with those ideals was illustrious. Young people joined the military, the Peace Corps, fought for Civil Rights, fought against poverty and tried to improve their communities on the weight of these words: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLmiOEk59n8

Something was lost the day JFK was assassinated. A lot of hope and optimism died the day.

I guess it was naivete', but in the '60s, people actually believed they could end poverty, racism and war. To try and eliminate those cancers, to have a social conscience, was fashionable. Maybe we won't create the world John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted, but why stop trying?



                          Abraham, Martin and John -- Dion