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Wed Dec 25, 2019, 09:38 PM

Suppose they had a War on Christmas and nobody came.

I wanted to wait for Christmas to wind down before discussing an encounter I had on Tuesday at a local hobby shop.

My primary hobby is birding, but if I can’t get out for whatever reason, I also like to build model aircraft. Right now, I’m building a 1:48 P-47D Thunderbolt, and I plan on printing decals to match the markings of a plane my grandfather was photographed flying in 1945. He was a flight instructor and would presumably have flown trainers most of the time, but flew a Jug at least once. I want to make this as accurate as possible, which meant getting the right shade of yellow-green for the wheel wells. That, in turn, meant going to the hobby shop to buy a small jar of it because yes, I’m that picky. (I’m not the only one. They sell paint that precisely, or so we’re told, matches the interiors of the fighters for pretty much every nation involved in WW2 and, if appropriate, each branch that operated aircraft.)

So, anyway –

Somebody to my right said something. That’s the side where my ear doesn’t work very well, so I didn’t know if he was talking to me. Evidently, he was, because he repeated it, loudly and, I could sense, with some annoyance – “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas,” I responded.

Evidently, he was one of two people in that hobby shop who considered themselves front-line infantry in the imaginary “War on Christmas,” and that this particular hobby shop was going to be a new front.

“It’s the liberal left that won’t let us say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore! We have to say ‘Happy Holidays!’ What a bunch of politically correct bullshit!”

The other fellow sat nearby, nodding along with his friend’s tirade.

I’m serious about this whole “War on Christmas” thing being imaginary. I’m constantly reminded of the Vietnam-era peacenik slogan, “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” That nobody burst into the hobby shop to drag this enemy of PC off to a FEMA camp should have revealed to this particular culture warrior that he was the only one there fighting some sort of pretend “war,” but it didn’t. He kept yammering on about it. About how people who don’t celebrate Christmas should just get over it. About how “Happy Holidays” is actually offensive to Jewish people – or should be, if they’d pay attention to their own traditions – because Hanukkah is a season, not a holiday. About how this run-amok political correctness is destroying America. And so on.

I kept my mouth shut through this. I really just wanted my jar of Tamiya XF-4 Yellow Green, and maybe a few minutes to browse the aircraft kits for sale.

Then he said something that called for a response: “You know, teachers and professors aren’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore. Not that it matters, since they’re all a bunch of liberal Marxists who want to destroy America from within.”

I'm a professor at a public university. I do say “Have a good holiday” when responding to a student at this time of year, but it’s not university policy, and it’s not a sense of moral arrogance. It’s a matter of courtesy. Yes, most of my students celebrate Christmas, but not all of them. Some celebrate Hanukkah. Others may celebrate something else. I don’t want to presume to guess which one. So I say “have a good holiday” on the theory that the student will either be celebrating some sort of holiday or enjoying winter break, and that my statement will be understood not as political correctness, but a wish that the student has a good holiday.”

So I spoke up. “Actually, we’re not forbidden to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Many of us do prefer to say ‘have a good holiday…’”

“Because you’re worried you’re gonna get sued,” he said.

“No,” I replied. “I’m not afraid of getting a nasty email, either. But I think it’s polite to be as inclusive as possible. Don’t you?”

He started back on his list of reasons for wanting to be offended. People need to lighten up! It’s meant as a good thing, don’t they know! Pretty soon, we won’t even be allowed to celebrate Christmas!

I didn’t say anything after that.

I would have told him some people actually do find “Merry Christmas” somewhat offensive, and that they have a legitimate reason to feel that way – they dislike the assumption that the majority applies to all, especially when there’s been a long history of their traditions being suppressed. We could brush it off with “don’t be so sensitive,” or we could try to understand why some people might feel strongly about this.

I would then have told him that I had a choice – I could decide to make my holiday wish into a political statement, knowing that I might offend some people and feel offended when the other person expresses offense (or even has the audacity to respond with “Happy Hanukkah” or whatever). Or I could express a genuine wish that someone have a nice holiday, whichever holiday is involved. Which wouldn’t offend anyone and would actually reflect the spirit of goodwill and kindness this season is supposed to embody.

But the best part came as he left the store. “I’m still going to say “Merry Christmas!” And it’s my Second Amendment right to say it!”

Anyway – I got the paint.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 09:44 PM

1. Wow. Did he mean he wanted to enforce it with an AK-47?

Some people can be so bizarre.

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 09:45 PM

2. No - I think he just didn't know which amendment was the right one.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 09:49 PM

3. I hate when they keep harping on whatever the issue is.

I have found myself in a few situations, where it benefited me to keep my mouth shut, such as lunch with my husband's potential customers, etc. I find it incredibly difficult, especially when they bring up Obama.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:00 PM

4. Sounds like one of those people that it's not worth wasting the breath to talk to. So let's don't.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:07 PM

5. years ago, my Republican father taught me to say "Seasons Greetings"

and "Happy Holidays" when I wanted to buy religious Christmas cards--that was back in the days when you sent cards to everyone you ever met (and enrolled your daughter to hand-write addresses and messages). He told me he was sure that some people on his list were Jewish, and it was best to go with something indeterminate, because Christmas cards were supposed to make people feel good.

I don't think he'd be a Republican today.

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Response to catrose (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:25 PM

7. Same with my Republican parents.

I was taught to address people as they wish to be addressed, and to not presume anything about someone you've just met.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:22 PM

6. Ive had heartburn over this bullshit since it started in the 90s

All I want is to cover all the bases, its that fucking simple.

But, this was early in the process of conservatives gas lighting the brains out of this country. LONG before Trump was a thing.

Why this country puts up with this shit is beyond any reason.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:25 PM

8. I think I posted on here the first Christmas Trump was president about Ivanka's web

site. It just had "holiday" gifts. Not a mention of Christmas or anything Christmassy at all during the holidays. That reminded me of Olbermann busting O'Reilly the first year he started in with the war on Christmas. Freakin' Factor "holiday gear! Not Merry Christmas gear. The same with Hannity and whoever else was selling their shit on there. Then they took the store part of the web site down if I remember right. Billdo and Hannity lost all their holiday sales over that!

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:26 PM

9. If you have to say 'Merry Christmas' out of spite...

you do _NOT_ have the Christmas spirit, for starters.

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Response to PghTiny (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 01:19 AM

13. Yeah, you really haven't experienced the love of Christ

until you've had some Christian, upon hearing the word "holiday" spoken in December, rise up in a self-righteous rage and snarl at you, "It's CHRIST!!!mas! Say CHRIST!!!mas! Merry CHRIST!!!mas!"

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 11:06 PM

10. I wished my mom a "Happy Christmas" today when I called her.

And, she said “Why don’t you say Merry Christmas?”

I didn’t tell her that in the UK that “Happy Christmas” is the standard greeting.

She was also unhappy that there is such a thing as a doggie advent calendar, when I mentioned that our dog had just enjoyed her Christmas Day treat from her Aldi Dog treat Advent Calendar.
I told her it was just a fun, secular treat for dogs.

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Response to CottonBear (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 08:47 AM

15. My husband says Happy Christmas too

He loves that it confuses people!

Yeah, that's why we're still married after 43 years...

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Response to Maeve (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 10:29 AM

16. Congratulations on 43 years together!

Happy Christmas and New Year! ⭐️ 🌲 ⭐️

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 12:42 AM

11. Oh, dear. Not sure where to start.

I'll just say this. As someone who is very secular and not at all religious (I was raised Catholic, married a Jewish man, raised our two sons within Judaism and neither one thinks of himself as Jewish) I do find "Merry Christmas" greetings a bit odd and off putting. But I recognize I'm the one here who is taking them as odd and off-putting. And that those saying "Merry Christmas" to me are intending to convey good tidings for the season. And so I say "Merry Christmas" back. The same with any other seasonal greetings. I respond in kind.

We don't need to tell everyone our particular take on these things, nor do we need to know anyone else's. We just respond appropriately.

Oh, and in my experience, it's not that hard to be nice to others.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 12:59 AM

12. One way to avoid getting into stupid arguments

over it is to just say, "whatever," and go on about your business. Just dismiss the whole thing for the nonsense that it is. Sure, they will likely try to continue it but shrug it off. A non-combative attitude of "you do your thing and I'll do mine" attitude, as your first amendment right.

They want a fight. I don't give it to them. I just act like the whole thing is silly and I really don't care to discuss it.

When I was a kid looking over the cards my parents received, I thought that Happy Holidays was just a short cut to include New Year. We got the HH cards from relatives as well as from businesses and acquaintances whose religion we didn't know. When I realized that it was a holiday season for Jews, and that some Xtians celebrate New Year but not Xmas , it just semed like the considerate phrase to use when not sure. Nothing in Xtianity makes rudeness a requirement for holiday celebrations.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Thu Dec 26, 2019, 07:55 AM

14. "Second Amendment right"

Wingnuts who cite the Constitution usually reveal their ignorance when doing so.

If they were really concerned about preserving our Constitutional rule of law they wouldn't support Trump.

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