Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

GOP's Christmas gimmickry is absurd

For as long as I can remember, Christmas and the winter holiday season have been my favorite time of year. I view it as a time to catch up with family and friends, enjoy holiday traditions, exchange gifts, and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Little did I know when I was younger that there was a war on.

If many conservatives are to believed, Christmas is under attack...and yours truly, as a proud liberal, is one of those trying to destroy it.

In recent years this ridiculous, divisive charge has been leveled at progressives by prominent figures within the right wing who relish politicizing the holiday. The traditional media frequently goes along for the ride.

Take this morning headline in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Ho-ho-no: McDermott votes against Christmas
Or the equally pathetic headline on its "Big Blog":
McDermott takes a stand against Christmas
Uh oh. Here we go again.

Both the story and the blog post (which are presumptuous and contain no quote from the Representative) are about McDermott's nay vote on House Resolution 847, "Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith". While we don't have a problem with a resolution recognizing Christmas, the language drafted by Iowa's Representative King (a Republican) is too heavily focused on numbers and grandiose statements boasting about the predominance of Christianity.

A simple and more humble acknowledgment of the Christmas holiday would have been much more appropriate than what Representative King came up with.

The most annoying part of his resolution is this sentence:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives -- acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States
What role was that? As Farrell Till writes in The Christian Nation Myth:
The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were deists...Fundamentalist Christians are currently working overtime to convince the American public that the founding fathers intended to establish this country on "biblical principles," but history simply does not support their view.
Perhaps McDermott wanted to take a stand against that clause of the resolution, or maybe he wished to express his unhappiness with the Republican Party's Christmas gimmickry (it's gotten pretty old).

Headlines like "McDermott takes a stand against Christmas" may be attention grabbers, but they are inaccurate.

McDermott took a stand against a resolution that was about Christmas. How can a member of the U.S. House vote against a celebration?

Unless McDermott actually wants to abolish Christmas (which we doubt) implying that he's against the holiday is irresponsible journalism.

UPDATE: Ah, here's the reason:
"While the Republicans are passing a resolution celebrating Christmas, the president was vetoing health care for children. There's a little bit of irony going on around here," McDermott said today.
So it was a vote to protest Bush's SCHIP veto.

Mocking the right wing's "War on Christmas" gimmickry this week is cartoonist Andrew Wahl, who neatly traps the Republicans in their own nonsense:

A Holiday Message from George W. Bush

If the right wing truly respected Christmas they'd leave the Feast of the Nativity alone... and let Christians across America enjoy the season in peace, without trying to stir up trouble. Too bad there's little chance that will ever happen.


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