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Merry capitalism!

Matt Zalaznick

How can anyone say with a straight face that there’s a war on Christmas in America? It’s a vicious tactic – members of the very dominant religion act like victims to intimidate people don’t put mangers in their front yards. The faithful, whose members run the White House, Congress, Supreme Court, the FBI and every state in the union, act like they’re too oppressed to nail neon reindeer to their roofs unless every American goes outside and sings “Good King Wenceslas” until their tongues fall out from frostbite.Poor Denny Hastert was so glum at the lump that Master W. put in his stocking by sending the base “holiday cards” that the speaker had to punch another hole in the wall between church and state. Instead of doing his job and boldly badgering his boss into changing tactics in Iraq, he bravely changed the name of Congress’ spruce tree. Why struggle with health care, immigration or CIA torture when you can grab headlines banishing holiday trees from the homeland? And old grinchy Dicky, leering as his energy policies drive up the cost of heating American homes, says to the shivering heathens, “See how much you like your Hanukah candles as a source of heat!” Oh what is a born-again administration to do when Americans are so nauseated by the idea of the Lord’s birthday that they start the season off with a riot over $35 DVD players at Wal-Mart? Well, they can celebrate. With another bulb on their string of Christmas lights going out every day – There goes Scooter ! There goes Rover! There goes Najaf! – they can at least be happy patriotic Americans are willing to support our biggest businesses and slide even deeper into debt. Why, consumers are so confident they’re trampling pregnant women to snatch up the last $50 laptop. How delighted W. and Rover must be to see Americans willing to sacrifice their future financial security buying up junk to give a little jolt to the economy, and help the GOP in 2006. It’s not Christ they want to keep in Christmas. It’s the capitalism. Don’t believe it? Bill O’Reilly, defender of sacred yuletide mega-consumerism from looney liberals, has actually been tracking which stores are using “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” in their advertising. “Our litmus test,” O’Reilly said on a recent show, according to a transcript on mediamatters.org, “is which operations are using the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ in their advertising and which are not. … this investigation is designed to spotlight retailers who have knocked the word ‘Christmas’ out of the Christmas season. We’re not too interested with the word ‘merry.’ Don’t really care about ‘merry.'”Forget that mediamatters.org also points out that the Fox News store sells “The O’Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament.” Forget that Christmas is supposed to be about the Christian virtues of peace and good will. O’Reilly’s out to bully the non-believers into building nativity scenes, buying Xboxes and keeping their sacrilege to themselves. In America, on your own street, you can go a-caroling until you violate the local noise ordinance. In America, in your own business, you can shout “Merry Christmas!” to every single customer who walks in the door and says, “Season’s greetings.” In America, in your own home, you can put a menorah on top of your Kwanzaa tree and hang gay-pride flags from the branches (just don’t smoke the needles while you’re drinking yourself stupid on eggnog). But yes, Mr. O’Reilly, Christmas does sometimes get on some people’s nerves. In schools, in city halls and in courthouses, a harmless old wreath can make the non-believers feel a little like lepers in the eyes of the government. And yes, the school Christmas play can make the little Jewish, Hindu, Zoroastrian and garlic-press-worshiping students feel left out, even that there’s something wrong with them. Folks like O’Reilly love to spew about how sensitive children are to violent video games and homosexual teachers, but they drop the argument when it comes to religious persecution (at least when it’s Santa doing the persecuting). In this land where all “men” are created equal, we don’t want a non-believer to worry that his beliefs will be counted against him on his day in court. Or do people like O’Reilly want us to believe all men are innocent until proven non-Christian?City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com


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