Merry Christmas

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The most striking images over yet another politically contentious weekend came from Pensacola, Florida, where Trump was campaigning for Roy Moore, an accused pedophile and candidate for a Senate seat in Alabama, some 30 miles away. (Why the coy choice of an out-of-state rally? No idea, but so much doesn’t make sense these days that I didn’t bother to try to understand it.)

“Merry Christmas” read the signs hoisted by Trump’s supporters, who were also clad in Christmas garb. Trump took the stage with that same emphatic greeting, congratulating himself and the sanctimonious souls in attendance for their “making it safe” to say Merry Christmas. He—and they—believe it’s overly PC to say “Happy Holidays” and/or assume everyone they’d ever meet, or care to meet, would Christian.

To put such a fine, fine point on “Christmas” and to use it to insult non-Christians and, more to the point, the kinds of liberals who tend toward “holiday” greetings struck me as aggressive—a sarcastic, bigoted perversion of both Christmas and Christian principles.

Aggression in America, then, as a follow up to my thoughts on “anger in America.”

On Sunday, I bought narcissus bulbs at a garden shop owned by a man from Lebanon. “Merry Christmas,” he said, as did the cashier and the salesperson in the aisle. Sorting out matters of religious identity can’t be easy for a Lebanese Christian. But after the Trump rally, I felt suspicious of their well wishes.

“Happy Holidays,” I replied. A little bit aggressively.

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