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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The real War on Christmas

I should probably say something about the whole health care thing, except that I'm pretty depressed about it so I won't. Instead, because of my obsessive need to point out hypocrisy wherever I see it, I'm going to talk about that whole "War on Christmas" thing.

You know, the one where conservatives get all hot and bothered with their outrage-o-meters cranked to 11 because progressives dare to suggest that maybe we be sensitive to the traditions and feelings of non-Christian people too.

This was brought to mind because of a story I read somewhere online a couple of days ago about Giving Trees. There's one in the lobby of my workplace right now. It's an artificial tree, decorated with cards that list the Christmas wishes of children whose parents can't afford to get them anything for the holiday. The idea is that people with jobs can take a card off the tree, go buy whatever's listed there, and put it under the tree with the card attached. The Giving Tree people then collect the stuff and distribute it where it's needed.

The Grinches in conservative-land probably think these wishes are all for Barbie dolls and skateboards and other materialistic crap that, honestly, nobody needs. That it's just a way for poor people to be greedy. And sure, some of the cards are for Barbie dolls. But not most of them.

Most of them are for stuff like winter coats. Jeans to wear to school. A new pair of shoes. Most of the wishes aren't for materialistic luxuries, but for things that fall closer to the necessity side of life.

The Giving Tree story I saw--and I'm kicking myself that I didn't save the link to share with you--was all around the fact that submissions to Giving Tree programs all over the country are up this year. I don't remember the figures in the story, but they're way, way up.

Here we sit at what is hopefully the bottom of the "Great Recession." No surprise that a lot more families are hurting this year than last year. No surprise, then, that a lot more parents are sucking up their pride and submitting their kids wishes in the hopes that more fortunate strangers can help give them a merry Christmas morning.

The part I want to remind everyone about is how we got into this recession to begin with. Remember, it all started with a whole lot of unconscionably greedy and wealthy investment brokers, inventing all those crazy mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps, and so forth. People former president George Bush once referred to as "my base." People whose kids never have and never will have to worry about having a merry Christmas.

These investment brokers were aided and abetted by conservative members of Congress like Senator Phil Graham who allowed their palms to be greased in exchange for repealing the very regulations that had, for the previous several decades since the Great Depression, made that kind of financial funny-business illegal.

The real War on Christmas is that for millions of American kids, Santa isn't going to be bringing them very much this year because of the greedy, reckless behavior on the part of a very few who already had more than they'd ever need, who broke the entire nation's economy so they could get their hands on even more, and didn't give a damn about Main Street families whose kids' wishes are now up on the Giving Tree as a result.

The next time the pundits get all red in the face over people saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," the next time they start crying "War on Christmas!" as if anybody actually has it in for that particular holiday, remember that. Remember what the real War on Christmas is and who perpetrated it.


OpenID stillahippie2009 said...

We need to get out of this war its not going to be easy but we did it in the the sixty's we have to hit the streets,where is the SDS When we need them.

December 13, 2009 3:32 PM  

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