Friday, December 21, 2007

Have yourself a politically-correct Christmas!

I'm very much afraid the world has developed a serious case of politically-correct madness. Just the other day I was told that in some mall in some city (okay, so details and accuracy were pretty much sacrificed in the telling)the Santas on staff were no longer allowed to say ho-ho-ho because it might have an offensive interpretation in "street" language. Now, really! What is going on when we're censoring Santa's vocabulary in such a ridiculous way? "Ho-ho-ho, merry Christmas!" was a cheery greeting from Santa Claus long before it had any other interpretation that I'm aware of. I'm hereby re-claiming it for its originally-intended meaning.

This incident, assuming it actually did happen as reported, is just the latest in an attempt to tone down the holiday season in a way that makes it almost unrecognizable from what it was when I was a kid. Back then -- w-a-y back then -- we still had Christmas pageants in school. We sang carols. I'm pretty sure we had plenty of kids from other faiths who did not celebrate Christmas, but who enjoyed the traditions as much as the rest of us. Was it insensitive? Perhaps just a bit. Is it right that we've toned it down in our schools? More than likely. But I can't help thinking that we've lost something in our desire not to offend anyone at anytime.

Why can't we, instead, celebrate all traditions in our schools and in our communities? Isn't that the perfect way to teach understanding and tolerance of all religions and beliefs? No one is a greater defender of the separation of church and state than I am. Nor does anyone believe more strongly that religious freedom is one of the most basic tenets of our society. Doesn't that mean that we should learn about other faiths, respect them and especially teach tolerance of them to our children? My church youth group, w-a-y back when, studied other religions. We went to services in other churches. We were taught to embrace the similarities and to understand the differences. Isn't that the real lesson our kids should be taught, rather than stripping away all mention of religion and faith in our schools? Children have such open minds and hearts. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we worried less about being politically-correct and more about instilling values and respect for others and their beliefs and traditions? Perhaps, then, there'd be fewer hate crimes based on religious differences.

This seems like the ideal season to dream of such things. And I'll do it with carols playing. I'll wish people happy holidays or merry Christmas, as appropriate. And, by heaven, I'll expect all the Santas whose paths I cross to bellow cheerfully, "Ho-ho-ho, merry Christmas!"

In the meantime, I wish all of you joy, the happiest of holiday seasons and, for those of you who share my faith, a very merry Christmas.

Sherryl Woods

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2 Comments:

Blogger karende said...

Political Correctness is one of my pet peeves. Not just for holidays, but any time. I have a friend who worked in an office with a Yupik woman [this was in Alaska] who complained one day to the office manager because my friend had worn a red blouse to work. It seemed that ‘red’ was considered offensive in her village for some reason, and this woman was highly insulted by it. The whole office staff got a stern lecture on what they could and could not say - things like ‘You look nice today’ because that implied that the person being complimented might not have looked nice EVERY day! I thought the whole thing was a joke at first, but it turned out to be real, and my friend was seriously raked over the coals simply for wearing one of her favorite blouses to work. She very nearly lost her job over it, in fact.

As for the ho-ho-ho-ing Santas, it might be more useful to encourage those kids who speak street language to pay more attention to English in school. At least English is supposed to be our national language.

What irks me now more than anything are all the campaign commercials touting how wonderful Christmas is to each of the various candidates, showing them and their families. What on earth happened to the separation of Church and State of our founding fathers? When did religion and degree of devoutness become a political necessity for a candidate?

December 22, 2007 12:08 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

All my warmest thoughts and best wishes go out to you at this magical time of the year. Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2007 8:27 AM  

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