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How The Lawyers Stole Christmas - November 22, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

It's getting close to Thanksgiving. It is time to carve up the turkey, watch a little football, and get ready for the holidays. That is, if they still are allowed.

Everyone knows about the controversy that hits small towns this time of year. Some local mayor will want to put up a nativity scene in the local park, and then the ACLU will camp out on his lawn, waiting with held breath until the old codger tears down the scene and shouts " Praise be to the almighty 1st amendment as interpreted by the ACLU. Please join me in celebrating Nadermas."

Yes, the local and national newscasts will have those scenes as the holidays approach. But, what will not be on the newscast is an even sadder twist, the liberal attack on tradition--the ban of Christmas cards from companies to their employees.

It seems that the corporate attorneys have convinced some executives they just can not afford to offend someone by saying " Happy Holidays." As one executive told me, " Even Happy Holidays can be offensive. What if an employee does not wish to be happy?"

" Then, he can take his unhappy self and go find a way to grow up and accept that the world was not built for him," I replied, to the executive's shock. ( He refused to let me use his name or business because his corporate attorneys may be upset with him speaking for himself and not speaking through them. Oh, the fight for free speech lives on.)

By fear of a lawsuit from one of society's whiners and complainers, some corporations and firms are letting themselves appear as asses. The average worker will note that the company just did not care to say "Happy Holidays," or it did not want to spend money on something for him. Political correctness will offend the very people it supposedly was designed not to offend. I predict that companies that decide Happy Holidays is offensive will look cheap to the people who work for them, and the people who buy from them. And, they should.

The Congress of the United States made Christmas a national holiday. It is a part of our culture. The President of the United States has a national Christmas tree on his lawn. Though I hate to admit it, Christmas in America is more of an American holiday than a Christian holiday. It is a time of good cheer. It is a time for people to come together and set their differences aside. It is a time for giving. And, for the life of me, I can not understand why liberals, who supposedly champion those causes, are at the forefront of making sure everyone knows how offensive it all is.

Please do not take me wrong. I have Jewish friends. I respect their right to celebrate their holidays and to not celebrate Christmas. But, how can a "Happy Holidays" greeting be offensive to them? Also, how can it be offensive to African traditionalists who celebrate traditional African holidays?

But, I guess there is that guy out there who just does not want to be happy. And, for him, liberals will argue that a card sent to him may offend him. So, for the occasional malcontent, the rest should be offended at no holiday greeting.

Or, a bit of common sense could be used. We live in a large country. People are bound to be offended no matter what is done. So, sometimes, one has to stick with a traditional value and with what the majority accepts as culturally normal. Failure to do so leads to a culture of chaos--which is no culture at all. And, with no culture, there is no society.

I know it seems I am getting a bit carried away. But please, think about it. If some firms are afraid to offend with holiday cards, what is next? Will your neighbor be offended by the wreath on your door? Will some guy who drives by be offended that there are Christmas lights on your front porch? If society ever enters a pattern of giving in to every malcontent's offenses, then there would be no holidays, no laws, no order, and no corporations. There would be too much chaos to have them.

So I say, be brave. Send out your holiday cards to your friends, co-workers, employees, clients, and customers. If someone gets upset with you over it, well, chances are, they would get upset no matter what you do. Too much goodwill comes out of the holidays to let someone worried over the meaning of this and that and how Aunt Milly never buys him the socks he wants, to ruin it all. And, as for the lawyers that argue to not send them, well, just send a copy of Dr.Suess's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," to them and see if they get the point.

Richard Brian McCarty has worked on several political campaigns of conservatives. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three.


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