November 28, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall
It’s the end of November, which means we’ve been tolerating an annual annoyance for a fortnight already and we’ll have to put up with it for another four weeks.
That’s right… Social media and awkward conversations are being commandeered by what I like to call SHMUCs, Seasonal Hollow Martyrs’ Unfounded Complaints.
And you thought I meant Christmas music in shopping malls.
No, I’m talking about the people who would have you believe that you’re not actually hearing it, despite the fact that I can’t walk into a mall with Burl Ives cheerfully ordering me to have a holly jolly Christmas, whether I want to or not.
So far this looming Christmas season I have seen fourteen postings on Facebook about the War of Christmas and the horrors Political Correctness. “They tell me I can’t say Merry Christmas. They are persecuting me!”
Curiously, I have not seen any postings at all actually telling me I can’t say Merry Christmas. The mythical bullies of the PC police don’t seem to exist. Or if they do, they’re being very quiet about it.
Political Correctness, as a label, has been around for over thirty years, but it’s only in the last few years that’s it’s been demonized and used to represent some sort of imaginary language boogeyman that will bludgeon you with a redacted thesaurus if you dare to utter the wrong greeting.
Originally it just started as another way of trying to be nice to people, growing out of the concept that maybe people don’t like being called fat, then going on to include other negative labels. The idea caught on and quickly reach fad status. People joined the movement not because they necessarily felt strongly about it, but because everyone else was doing it and they just wanted to fit in. Then, much like disco and Cabbage Patch Kids, it became a target for the inevitable societal backlash.
Around the same time, someone came up with the idea of saying, “Season’s Greetings” (a phrase that has been around at least as long as Perry Como, if not longer), when addressing people who aren’t Christian and don’t celebrate Christmas. The next step in overthinking it is, of course, to wonder, “But how will I know if they celebrate Christmas before I say anything?” And so the knee-jerk reaction was to just say, “Season’s Greetings,” instead of, “Merry Christmas,” every time, no matter what, just in case.
That right there was the first and only sortie in the so-called War on Christmas.
In keeping with the Christian values of peace and love and harmony, the general response was, “No, I don’t wanna do that, so I won’t.”
And the war was over.
The wailing and moaning and bitching about it, however, continues. You see, some people feel persecuted because, well, I don’t know why they feel persecuted, but that’s the word they use.
“But… but… they’re selling menorahs at Target! At Christmastime! I don’t want to see that. Why are they doing this to me? It’s a War on Christmas!”
No, it’s not. It’s capitalism. They are selling things people want to the people that want them. Some of those people aren’t you. Accept it. (They even have a fun bicycle menorah. Cute.)
The government is not closing their churches at Christmas. The police are not throwing them in jail for going to church. No one with an authority at all is threatening to harm or kill them if they acknowledge Christmas.
No one Canada is being persecuted for Christmas, but they still feel the need to be the bigger bully with the imaginary issue.
Political Correctness hasn’t really been in fashion for a long time, but not being an asshole about it never really goes out of style.
Every Christmas season a percentage of the Christmas people are terrified that they might have to interact with people who aren’t Christmas people. And so they scream persecution rather than accepting that there are other people in the world.
Here’s a tip… If you encounter someone, anyone at all, while walking down the street, wandering around at work, shopping in a store, standing in an elevator, wherever, and if you feel like addressing them in a friendly manner, then say whatever friendly greeting you are comfortable with.
Just like any other time of year.
And if you don’t particularly feel like addressing anyone in a friendly manner, then just keep quiet and be alone.
It’s that simple.
This year, on December 25th, I think I will greet everyone I meet with and hearty and cheerful, “Happy Thursday!”
If friendly greetings are sincere, they all have the same meaning regardless of the words used.
Try to be nice to each other.
Seriously. Make the effort. It pays off.