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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:48 PM   #6
Mike L
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Somebody finally has the balls to speak up. This is long but worth the read. I wish Jamiesann would come back. He would spend all day trying to pick this one apart.

Go to the bathroom and get your popcorn before you start reading.

Congress Politicizes Phony "War" on Christmas

“Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the [Congressional] House. . . “

For the last several weeks, right-wing groups and media figures have been “waging” a one-sided media and consumer barrage against an entirely fabricated “war on Christmas.” To those on the right, saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” is “an act of cultural cowardice” and part of some “very secret plan” to “attack … the Christian faith."

The airwaves and op-ed pages have been filled with hysterical conspiracy theories about some liberal plot apparently led by major retailers such as Walmart and Target to destroy Christmas and Christianity. Last week, water carriers for the right-wing base of the Republican Party even managed to drag the United States Congress into the fray in a glaring example of misplaced priorities.

On December 7th, Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) proudly introduced H. Res. 579, “a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected, and that references to Christmas should be supported."

Davis explains in her press release: “There has been an ongoing effort by retailers and many media outlets to slowly eradicate references to Christmas and the symbols and traditions that come along with it from public dialogue … Christmas symbols symbolize Christmas, and Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Therefore, the purge of Christmas is the goal. This resolution supports Christmas and defends the heritage and symbols that represent it."

Despite the fact that the resolution was, in Davis’ own words, “non-binding and does not carry the force of law,” on December 14th, the House of Representatives wasted nearly an hour debating this purely symbolic resolution to: recognize the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas; strongly disapprove of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and to express “support for the use of these symbols and traditions, for those who celebrate Christmas."

On the House floor, Davis acknowledged the unspoken question in the minds of many Congress watchers by opening her statement saying “this is a very busy week in Congress; and we are working on some very important measures that impact our Nation. So with that said, some may question the importance of this resolution in light of other national priorities that we are addressing this week ... “

Davis explained that she was simply attempting to defend “the traditions of Christmas for those who celebrate Christmas” with her “nonbinding” resolution from hordes of “activists … lawyers … politicians, educators and the media” who are all out to create a culture “that shames people for saying ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Other Republican House members also took the floor to praise the resolution, with Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) boldly proclaiming that “if our Founding Fathers could be resurrected and be with us this evening, they would unanimously support this commonsense resolution” while Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) declared “There is a war against Christmas. Our children cannot sing Christmas carols.”

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) offered a pragmatic contrast to sum up the seriousness of this “war” and the urgent need to address it in the House of Representatives asking: “how many casualties have there been in the so-called ``war on Christmas''?” Woolsey then answered the question “several thousand less than in the war on Iraq.”

For his part, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) delivered a bemused but impassioned plea, stating “I really do not understand what we are doing today. I do not understand why we need to set up a straw man just to knock it down, to protect the symbols of Christmas as if they were under attack … Did something happen when I was not looking? Did somebody mug Santa Claus? Is somebody engaging in elf tossing?”

Ackerman’s more serious comments highlighted the hypocrisy underlying the “symbolic” Republican resolution saying that:
"If you wanted to protect the message of Christmas, come to the floor with real bills with substance. Where is your bill to house the homeless? Where is your bill to feed the needy? Where is your bill to clothe the naked? Where is your bill to protect senior citizens who will not be able to heat their homes this winter? Where is the substance? Why are we engaging, in this terrible time in which we are in, in symbolism? We can be doing something meaningful. Where is the bill for real health care? Where is the bill to educate the children that we really are leaving behind? We are not doing any of those things. I think we could be doing so much more instead of feeding the flames that divide us instead of bringing us together. . . .
Rep. Ackerman’s sentiments were echoed by numerous Democratic representatives. Congressman Dingell (D-MI) expressed his with a poem excerpted here:

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House,
no bills were passed `bout which Fox News could grouse.

Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer
so vacations in St. Barts soon should be near

Katrina kids were all nestled snug in motel beds
while visions of school and home danced in their heads.

In Iraq, our soldiers need supplies and a plan,
and nuclear weapons are being built in Iran.

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell.
Americans feared we were in a fast track to ..... well.

Wait, we need a distraction, something divisive and wily,
a fabrication straight from the mouth of O'Reilly.

We will pretend Christmas is under attack,
hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back. . . .

What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy
when this is the season to unite us with joy.

At Christmastime, we're taught to unite.
We don't need a made-up reason to fight.
In the end, this un-amended, nonbinding resolution was passed overwhelmingly. After all, who wants to be on record as not “supporting” the symbols of Christmas? And because of it, Christmas is now “symbolically protected” forever from the super-secret liberal conspiracy of activists, lawyers, politicians, retailers and educators who are, in the feverish and disingenuous mind of Bill O’Reilly and friends, apparently out to destroy it.

Yet a recent Washington Post investigative story found several claims by those raising battle cries over a “war on Christmas” – some of which found their way into Rep. Davis’ floor statement - to be untrue. For example, Bill O'Reilly, one of the generals in this “war” claimed on Fox that "In Plano, Texas, a school told students they couldn't wear red and green because they are Christmas colors. That's flat-out fascism." The Plano school district responded to that ridiculous claim saying that the "The school district does not restrict students or staff from wearing certain color clothes during holiday times or any other school days.” The attorney for the school district “requested of Mr. O'Reilly that, in the future, he ask his fact checkers to do a more thorough job of confirming the facts before he airs them."

Congressman Ackerman got it right when he concluded, “There are people around who need an enemy at all times to try to separate us one from the other as Americans in order to advance their own agenda. I do not think we should be playing into their hands.

This was a quote from someone else. I am posting this because time and time again I have said if the News and everyone else would just shut the F up this war on Christmas would go away. But because of the news and congress this war on Christmas will continue to grow.
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