It’s That Time of Year Again: The PWoC Returns

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Yes, it’s November, folks, and we all know what that means.

It means it’s time
for Christmas decorations to start appearing on the shelves and in the
streets. It’s time for Christmas commercials to begin showing up on TV.
And it’s time for loud (and ultimately useless) grousing about how awful
it is that all this is happening when it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

All of this is followed, as the
night follows the day, by the annual Phony War on Christmas (PWOC), that
yearly ritual in which the most privileged class of people (white,
straight Christians) in the most privileged country on Earth get to
whine about how they’re being oppressed because someone wished them
“Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

As always, the first cries of woe
came from our old friends at the Resentment Channel, aka Fox “News.”
Bill O’Reilly, whose platoons of researchers apparently comb the
Interwebs looking for stories to spin up into new occasions for
right-wing butthurt, announced, in his words, “the first salvo in the war on Christmas.”

In one school district in
Maryland, O’Reilly said indignantly, “there will be no mention of
Christmas or any other religious holiday on the school calendars going
forward. That’s because a Muslim did something!”

Now, you may be thinking,
“Doggone those Muslims! Now they’ve gotten Christmas banned! Is there no
end to their perfidy?” Not so fast. What “a Muslim” (actually several
local Muslim leaders) did in Montgomery County, Maryland, was ask for a
day off for one of their own religious holidays, known as Eid al-Adha or
“feast of the sacrifice.” They were certainly not asking that there be
no Christmas.

I imagine they didn’t expect the
school board’s reaction, which was to totally punt on the issue and
remove all religious designations from the school holidays, both
Christian and Jewish. It was a decision which satisfied no one.

Note well that the Christian and
Jewish holidays themselves are still there: Everyone still gets the same
time off for Christmas and Easter, as well as the High Holy Days of
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It’s just that Christmas vacation happens
over what’s now called “winter break.” Easter vacation is where it’s
always been, during “spring break.” As for the Jewish holidays, they’re
designated as days of “no school for students and teachers,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

So the kids still have the same
holidays they had before, to celebrate in any way they and their
families see fit. You’d think that would placate Mr. O’Reilly and his
colleagues. You’d think that, that is, if you’d been living in a cave
without TV for the last 20 years and were unfamiliar with Mr. O’Reilly’s
shtick. This board decision, he groused,
was “wiping out” all our traditions. “They’re wiping out — you know
Christmas and Easter and Passover, these have a Judeo-Christian
tradition in our country,” he said. “So they just wiped out all our
traditions for these people.”

Actually, “they’ve” done no such
thing. While calling the break at the end of the year “Christmas break”
is something we may have gotten used to over the years, I seriously
doubt that anyone regards how it’s designated on the written school
calendar crumpled up in the bottom of Junior’s backpack as one of their
fondly embraced traditions.

In any case, I strongly suspect
that students and parents will still refer to the holidays as “Christmas
break” and “Easter break,” and no one will try to stop them. All will
still be allowed to participate in their real traditional observances of
the season, such as trampling their fellow celebrants on Black Friday
so as to snag the last of the “door buster” 50-inch TVs for $199 at Best

I’ve noticed that there doesn’t
seem to be a lot of outcry from Jewish people over the Montgomery County
School Board decision, even though their holidays got the same
treatment as the Christian ones. Perhaps this is because Jewish folks,
having actually been the recent targets of horrific and genocidal
persecution, are less inclined to get their knickers in a twist over
what some school board calls a holiday.

It’s a lesson some people could
stand to learn. If the thing that makes you indignant is a faraway
school board calling the end-of-the-year vacation the “winter” rather
than the “Christmas” break, or the thing you feel the burning need to
protest is someone using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,”
then I submit that you’ve actually got life pretty good and should just
be thankful for that, it being the season for thanksgiving and all.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


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