Aren’t you glad President Donald Trump has liberated all of us from the oppressive forces that had kept any American from ever uttering the phrase “Merry Christmas”? Don’t you feel so grateful to Trump, the Great Emancipator, that you wish someone would make a video expressing your humble but enthusiastic gratitude for his noble battle, his fearless victory in the bloody War on Christmas? Well, that video arrived shortly before Christmas! What a glorious gift, yes?
Hmmm. What a glorious gift, no. This ad, which peaks with an adorable little girl declaring, “Thank you, President Trump, for letting us say ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” is nauseating. It suggests that we now live in a country in which the president can “let us” say things we want to say. It is, of course, an ad that furthers the whole “War on Christmas” issue, which has always been a bogus one. It’s one of the countless ways Fox News rouses its rabble about fake controversies — in this case, some Americans’ use of “Happy holidays” as another way of acknowledging the holiday season that’s now coming to an end. (And if you think I should have written “Christmas season” in that sentence, look at the calendar, dummy: Christmas and New Year’s Day are both holidays to be acknowledged.) The “War on Christmas” was a favorite tool of Bill O’Reilly, who used it when he had a popular show on Fox News, and before he was booted in disgrace, to intimidate non-Fox viewers and entire businesses, equating the use of the greeting “Happy holidays” with anti-Christian sentiments.
Now we have a man in the White House who doesn’t just parrot Fox News talking points: He uses the power of the presidency to lend credence to these false myths. That video, widely played both on TV and online, adds an unprecedented layer of hostility to the War-on-Christmas malarkey. The ad — made by America First Policies, an organization created to promote Trump’s policies — does something disgraceful at this time of year: It divides the country into opposing camps. It insists that we are not a united group of people during a festive time, but rather that some of us are oppressed by our fellow citizens, made to feel ashamed for uttering the word “Christmas.” This is well beyond ridiculous; it’s repulsive.
The Christmas season is supposed to be a time when we all come together, set aside our differences, and acknowledge our common good. Once again, the noxious hostility that has been set free by the last election mars yet another great American tradition. Better luck next Christmas, America. Maybe we’ll be more united than divided — indeed, more merry. I’m trying to be optimistic.
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