Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

There is no ‘War on Christmas’

(IIP Photo Archive/ Daily Collegian)

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The White House East Wing Christmas decorations look like something straight out of an Imperial Destroyer from Star Wars. I am imagining the President walking through the White House like Darth Vader walking to the Imperial March theme. It isn’t a perfect analogy, as Vader’s vocabulary exceeds that of a fifth grader. Regardless, the White House’s decision to bring Count Dracula on as interior designer was questionable at best. One would think that the White House would seek to avoid a comic-book villain aesthetic in light of Trump’s staggering unpopularity, but it seems that the administration is opting for the ‘steer into the skid’ strategy.

In all seriousness, the buzz surrounding the decorations means it is once again the most wonderful time of the year: the time to pick your side in the definitely real and incredibly important ‘War on Christmas.’ Never mind debating tax policy or healthcare reform; this is the real problem facing Americans. This is what fighting the good fight looks like.

But in reality, there is no War on Christmas. It is just a made up phrase that is said to score political points. The idea that it is politically incorrect to say ‘Merry Christmas’ is just as preposterous as the idea that saying ‘happy holidays’ is an attack on Christianity. In fact, at this point, one runs a greater risk of offending someone by saying ‘happy holidays’ than ‘Merry Christmas.’ When you hear the latter, you nod, smile and get on with your day. But say ‘happy holidays’ to someone who thinks that there is a war on Christmas — and that Christmas is suddenly on the losing side (even though over 70 percent of the country is Christian and over 90 percent of the country celebrates Christmas) — and you’ll see which side of the political spectrum deserves to be called ‘snowflakes.’

Of course, there should be no reasonable expectation that the 30 percent of the country that aren’t Christian should care about a holiday commemorating the birth of a man who, for them, is not theologically important. However, four out of five non-Christian Americans celebrate Christmas anyway, and that should be cause for celebration about the unified spirit of the American people. Instead, we get Fox News articles about how Barack Obama wanted to throw “Baby Jesus out of the building” while lauding Trump for being “a man who is not ashamed to say, ‘Merry Christmas.’” First of all, the implication that people are regularly shamed for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in the United States is laughable. Second, celebrating Trump as a righteous guardian of Christian values is actually worthy of shame. Trump is the champion of Christmas because he put a manger in the White House like every president before him, and because he suggested Americans boycott Starbucks for switching their Christmas-themed cups to holiday red cups? I think I missed the Bible verse where Jesus laid out the 11th commandment: “Thou shalt put pine trees and snow men on your disposable coffee cups.”

If there is a war on Christmas, then the anti-Christmas side needs to find a better war cry than “happy holidays.” There isn’t, because when people say “happy holidays” they aren’t making some radical social statement. Frankly, only a fool or a bigot could confuse the use of a phrase that demonstrates tolerance and respect for all faiths as intolerance and disrespect for the Christian faith. If there is a culture war in the United States, then it is not being fought on the battleground of greeting etiquette trends unique to the month of December, and anxious conservatives do not get to characterize themselves as the protectors of Christmas tradition in order to strawman their political opponents as anti-Christian.

Happy holidays, readers.

Dan Riley is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    NITZAKHONDec 5, 2017 at 9:02 am

    And only a cultural traitor could dismiss the idea that the Left has worked – for decades – to undermine America and Western Civilization.