Thursday, October 30, 2014

Political Correction

     I'll be honest.....whenever anyone says "War On Christmas" I picture sales clerks at Macy's with toy guns battling it out with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson lobbing tinsel covered stars and nativity Marys across the counter. I know that's not what people mean but you have to admit that it would be fun to watch.  It seems we declare war on a lot of things and I guess it was just a matter of time before someone overused the "War" modifier to prove some new unjustifiable point.  It's not that I don't understand the concept.  I remember when I was a kid everyone said "Merry Christmas" like it was going out of style. Nobody cared whether you were Jewish or Muslim or Christian or Agnostic.  It was just what you did.  Like hating gay people and not wanting women to get paid the same as men.  It was cool, or as my grandmother used to say, "now-y".
     Fast forward a generation or two and we are maybe just a little more aware that other human beings exist.....probably mostly because they have started to demand to be treated like human beings.  It's inconvenient for a lot of people but it generally seems like the right thing to do so we mostly play along. So we begin to say "Happy Holidays" to people if we aren't quite sure if they are Jewish or Christian or Muslim or Agnostic.  It saves all of the awkward explanation when we wish them "Merry Christmas"and they have to tell us that they are Jewish for the ten thousandth time. I mean if you're Christian and someone said "Happy Ramadan" to you, you would be a little nonplussed, right?  Now I think it goes without saying that someone at Walmart (for instance) buying a flame retardant tree, lights, wreaths, gesticulating reindeer and wrapping paper could safely be assumed to be celebrants of Christmas.  So you would probably be safe to say "Merry Christmas".  But if they were just buying pants and Doritos who's to say?  So you opt for the more cordial and less Jesus-y "Happy Holidays".
     Now I do think it's kind of stupid that companies forbid their employees from saying things like "Merry Christmas" and since I have never usually paid attention to stupid things I never paid attention to that.  If someone was wearing a Santa pin on her lapel when I used to work at a department store I would say "Merry Christmas".  I figured even if she was just a confused Jew she clearly had some spunk and would enjoy a hearty seasonal greeting.
     So I guess it's all about common sense. I think what most people are talking about when they are talking about "Political Correctness" is generally getting busted for saying something that they already knew was kind of stupid to say but they said it anyway and got caught.  For instance, if you're confused about what to call African Americans you're probably thinking too much about it.  I think most African Americans don't mind being called African American or black.  I'm pretty sure they won't shoot you or steal your TV in any event if it happened to come up in conversation. It's when you say things like "I don't even know what to call you people anymore" that things get a little more dicey.
     I think we're all really just trying to do the best we can and sometimes we fall short. I think some people are terribly insensitive and others are really overly sensitive.  I think most of us fit in the middle of that and we feel like we have to play referee most of the time but what it all comes down to really is that the more we fight about stuff that we generally actually agree on  the less inclination we have to share some of that brotherly love we keep talking about.  Shouldn't we just be happy that someone is wishing us a "Happy" anything!?  Am I really going to get upset if someone accidentally wishes me a Happy Hanukkah?  Do we really think so much of ourselves that we can't just take a gesture of kindness and good wishes and accept it for what it is?
     Yes, stupid people abound.  There's just nothing you can do about it. You can get angry about it but it won't make them any smarter (I've tried).  So can't we all just like each other once and for all and stop assuming that someone is out to screw us or make us believe anything we don't want to believe?  I think we can.   So......Happy Holidays or whatever.  Now can we finally get to something important like getting that "War On Christmas" movie made?

No comments:

Post a Comment