It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year …
But not for folks like Rutgers University’s David Greenberg.
In an op-ed titled “Trump’s dreaming of a white man’s Christmas – an unhappy holiday for most” (a misnomer if there ever was one; the piece never mentions any Caucasian exclusivity), the history and journalism professor uses the holiday season to, like way too many of his peers, go on visceral anti-Donald Trump rant.
First, Greenberg complains that the president made a pledge “to roll back the freedom to say ‘Happy Holidays.'” It seems during the presidential campaign Mr. Trump had said “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store … You can leave ‘Happy Holidays’ at the corner.”
The prof then details how “such an innocent gesture bec[a]me so politically charged.” In a nutshell, it’s all conservatives’ fault:
“[T]he effort to include non-Christians in the public culture goes at least as far back as the 1930s, when The Depression and the specter of totalitarianism in Europe led Americans to mute their religious (and other) differences to foster a culture of religious toleration.”
Ah, but of course! The inevitable nod to Nazism and fascism.
Things became even more inclusive in the decades to follow as “the once predominantly Protestant nation had made its peace with two other religions.” In the 1950s President Dwight Eisenhower didn’t have a problem using “Season’s Greetings” on his Christmas cards, and Donald Trump himself used “wonderful holiday” and “happy holiday season” just a few years ago.
But … then the GOP “adopted a right-wing populism on cultural issues,” and “it was only a matter of time before this delicate balance was upset.”
This is what has made the country so polarized, you see.
Democrats championed multiculturalism and drew on their civil libertarian bona fides to paint themselves as the natural home for Muslims, Hindus and members of other religions whose ranks were swelling. On the right, Christian leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson led evangelicals into the political fray, forming a bedrock of a new GOP coalition.
The founding of Fox News in 1996 gave conservatives a platform to mobilize their base with inflammatory issues. Hosts seized on the secularization of Christmas and Christmas greetings as an outrage-generating cause. In 2005 Fox anchor John Gibson published “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought,” which sold like gangbusters. When Gibson’s show was canceled, Bill O’Reilly took up the fight.
Greenberg notes that as a kid in the 1970s, “people routinely said, ‘Happy holidays,’ and no one batted an eye.” Same happened with me. I say “Happy Holidays” too, along with “Merry Christmas.” There’s nothing wrong with either. But if you’re not a Christian, do you really get offended if someone says “Merry Christmas”? Or do you take it in the friendly manner in which it is meant?
Let’s be real: There’s just a bit more to the story than Greenberg’s fantasy that everything was perfectly culturally fine until folks like Falwell and outlets like Fox News showed up.
Instead of Mr. Trump solely “mobilizing his base with (the) inflammatory issue,” his (and others’) comments during the holiday season are understandable reactions to absurdity such as this. And this. And this. Aaaaaand this:
A memo provided to some University of Minnesota community members at a recent event dedicated to discussing how to make the holiday season on campus more inclusive warns against Santa, Christmas trees, wrapped gifts and the colors “red and green,” calling them “not appropriate.”
The list could go on and on. Are these … examples of inclusiveness, Professor Greenberg?
Y’see prof, when folks say something like “Well, I’m saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and I don’t care what anyone thinks!” it’s not always a bigoted Falwell-esque response to people “not like them” as you’d have us believe. It’s actually a backlash against craziness like that at U. Minnesota.
The same sort of foolishness — calling people “racist” for opposing Barack Obama, “sexist” for opposing abortion, and “xenophobic” for opposing illegal immigration — is what helped Donald Trump get the White House in the first place.
“Intolerance in the name tolerance” may be accepted in the academic bubble, prof, but we “benighted” see right through that drivel.