• The war on Thanksgiving
    November 25,2013

    The war on Christmas has been going on longer than the war in Afghanistan. Bill O’Reilly & Company emphatically warn about the liberal menace, depriving Christians of their sacred traditions by having the temerity to insert “Happy Holidays” where “Merry Christmas” used to reign supreme. Or worse, suggesting government-sponsored nativity scenes in public squares cross church-state lines.

    Particularly since Barack Obama took office, the seasonal inclusion progressives demand is routinely depicted as one of numerous Muslim plots to disarm Christians and impose Sharia Law on the unsuspecting dullards we are. Evidently, no one over at Faux News has ever taken a really good look at the illuminated, plastic wise men, crouching ubiquitoulsy across America’s suburban lawns.

    Persian, Indian and Arabic is what they are, decidedly un-Christian. If they showed up in person, most Bible-belters would call Homeland Security. Dudes who look like this are wanded at airports, profiled at Barney’s, and conjured up in the twisted nightmares of Michelle Bachman.

    The holiday wars are beginning to suffer a serious case of mission creep, with big-box giants deciding to open on Thanksgiving, shifting the battle lines to what will soon more than likely be known as Black Friday eve. The full-on commercialization of the last months of the year has become so routine, we’ve lost our sense of outrage about how the coercion of Americans to spend money they don’t have has become more sacred than any religion in history.

    Although the season has been expanding for years with the first Christmas trees often appearing before the summer rental expires, Thanksgiving somehow seemed to maintain an aura of peaceful solitude, insulated through overeating and watching televised football. Even if that’s your usual autumn weekend routine, Turkey Day felt special — the last holiday left that seemingly retained all the right ingredients for guilt-free lethargy, nicely balanced with inter-generational family squabbles.

    It’s the time of the year that big business — in their lust for profit at the expense of everything else — including intelligence — appears to go into rut. In their haste to capitalize on the season, they make decisions worthy of Saturday Night Live. One small example: Hallmark changed some wording in their current crop of “Deck the Halls” greetings thusly: “Don we now our fun apparel.”

    Really? No one in a company that employs 11,000 people, generating $4 billion in revenue, fell hysterically out of their chair when this proposal ran up the flag pole?

    It is unsurprising then that corporate executives of such alacrity would trample over one of America’s bedrock traditions in a desperate attempt to turn people upside down and shake them until their pockets no longer jingle.

    Our only hope is to resist. Passive resistance. Overeat and fall asleep in front of the TV. If we don’t, there’s no end in sight. It’s goodbye Halloween and watch out Labor Day.

    Walt Amses is a former educator and writer who lives in North Calais.

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