View Full Version : Why do the heathen rage? (Counterpoint to supposed War on x-mas)

01-01-2006, 11:50 PM
Why do the heathen rage?
Sunday, January 1, 2006 1:08 AM PST

At the start of a new year, here's a question worth pondering: Self-styled conservative Republicans dominate the White House and both houses of Congress. With the Sam Alito Supreme Court nomination pending, they've got good chance of turning the U.S. Supreme Court into a veritable right-wing star chamber. So how come they and their media enablers are acting like such crybabies lately?

Witness the so-called "War on Christmas." This imaginary struggle was largely dreamed-up by FoxNews "personalities" Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson. The subtitle of Gibson's book gives the game away: "How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought."

The most insidious "liberal" weapon against Christmas consists of substituting godless slogans like "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas."

Never mind that "holiday" derives from "Holy Day," in the same way "Christmas" does "Christ's Mass." It's no longer enough to wish these knuckleheads health and happiness. Failure to actively acknowledge the superiority of Christianity to rival faiths is deemed blasphemy.

We're witnessing the "mainstreaming" of paranoid persecution fantasies that used to be the provenance of fringe outfits like the John Birch Society and the Ku Klux Klan.

As Michelle Goldberg pointed out on Salon.com, the "War on Christmas" theme made its first appearance in Henry Ford's 1921 anti-Semitic classic "The International Jew."

In a modest triumph of political re-packaging, crimes once held to be exclusively "Jewish" -- impiousness, disloyalty, cosmopolitanism, physical cowardice, sexual license, communism, etc. -- are now called "liberal." Maybe it's even progress of a kind, because liberalism's a voluntary state of mind, while the anti-Semitic undertones never go away.

In a nutshell, it's the politics of fear. It's not enough to be tolerant; anything but wholehearted agreement constitutes an attack on faith.

What I cannot understand, however, is how the Bush White House appears to have succeeded in turning so many once-proud Americans into little whiny crybabies seemingly willing to abandon their constitutional freedoms in the name of the "War on Terror."

From the rise of Barry Goldwater onward, all we've heard from the American right is how we need to "get government off our backs." How the scariest words in the language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you." How we should strive to be rugged individualists like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Then came Sept. 11, and what happened? My man Digby (digbysblog.blogspot.com) may have put it best: "Suddenly the he-men of Wal-Mart and the NRA leaped into Big Brother's arms and shrieked 'save me, save me! Do what ever you have to do, they're trying to kill us all!' They now look to Daddy Government ... to check under the bed for them every night, reassure them that the boogeyman won't hurt them and then read them a nice bedtime story about spreading freedom and democracy. It turns out that underneath all this swaggering bravado, the Republicans aren't the Daddy party -- they're the baby party."

Constitution? We don't need no stinkin' constitution. Our Dear Leader, George W. Bush is the only guarantee we need to protect our freedoms. Just this morning, I had an e-mail from a Bush supporter who assured me that if I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to fear.

Thanks, comrade, now I feel much better.

(Lyons is a syndicated columnist.)