Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Repost from a Different Time

Below I am posting something that I wrote December 24, 2004 when I was stationed in Asia and was the Charge at our Embassy at Christmas time. I see many of its themes are still, unfortunately, around today as we see our society agonizing over calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree, or whether it is ok for kids at school to take part in Christmas plays and sing-alongs.  I am having a very hard time getting back into the political commentary game and am taking a bit of break. I am writing some other self-indulgent pieces on adventure in the Foreign Service which I hope to have up in a a couple of days.


A Jewish Christmas in the Far Abroad
December 24, 2004

From the Diplomad in Charge of Semitic Affairs:

This is Diplomadstein writing. This Diplomad is, well, mad . . . mad in the popular sense of angry, fed up, steaming, and it's not, not a pretty sight (or site). Leave Christmas alone! Political correctness is ruining the day!

At this Embassy in this weird corner of the Far Abroad, we have a Holiday Party and wish each other, "Happy Holidays!" Can't have the word Christmas anywhere in this Federal building! At one event recently we had somebody take the mike and talk about the "meaning of Christmas." He made the fatal mistake of mentioning words such as "savior" and "God." We had one angry employee, let's call her Strident (not her real name) come up to me after the event and demand that I, this religious guy's supervisor, reprimand and remind him that his words made non-Christians uncomfortable.

Me: Who was uncomfortable?

Strident: Anybody who wasn't Christian. We have Jewish employees here, too.

Me: Are you Jewish?

Strident: No.

Me: I am and I want another Christmas cookie. They have Hanukkah cookies beat.

Strident: You're not going to reprimand him?

Me: Nope. I want a cookie. And if I reprimand him I might not get invited to the next party.

Strident took it up the chain of command, but so far at least, I haven't heard anything more about her complaint or the mysterious people who were made uncomfortable. I've seen the pieces by fellow Jews Jonah Goldberg, Diana West, Jeff Jacoby, and Charles Krauthammer asking folks to chill out, enjoy the season, and wish our Christian friends all the best. I agree!

The world has changed. Going to elementary school in the 1950s and early 60's, we never thought twice about questioning the right of all the other kids and the school to host Christmas parties and plays and sing-alongs. The handful of Jewish kids would join in and nobody on either side of the GREAT RELIGIOUS DIVIDE got upset or called lawyers or converted or declared jihad or a crusade. We all had a good time. One year, I even got to play the part of a non-speaking sheperd; this was an improvement over the prior year when I played a speaking sheep (Baah! Baah! Forty-five years later and I can still remember my lines! God I'm smart!) If I had had a Jewish agent, I would have gotten much bigger parts . . . rampant anti-Semitism, I tell you, rampant!

As I got older, I realized that in addition to controlling the banks, the press, the electronic media, Hollywood, the Trilateral Commission, Jew York City, nuclear weapon AND bagel production, we Jews had a solid lock on the religion business. About a one-fourth of the world worshipped God through a Jewish kid from Israel, Jesus. About one-fourth of the world worshipped a Jewish kid from Germany, Karl Marx. The really smart kids in college talked about a Jewish kid from Russia, Leon Trotsky, and another one from somewhere back East, Noam Chomsky, or from Chicago, Milton Friedman. Everybody laughed with Jewish kids from England, Charlie Chaplin and Peter Sellers, and any number of them from America, Jack Benny, the Three Stooges, and George Burns were my favorites. And, of course, everybody needed the help of a Jewish kid from Austria, Sigmund Freud, to cope with the fear of annihilation brought about by another Jewish kid from Germany, Albert Einstein. So, I figured, my fellow Jews and I weren't the ones who should feel uncomfortable . . . but everybody else should be afraid, very afraid . . . BWAHAHAHAHA!

As an American Jewish kid I just assumed I was destined to grow up to be worshipped or be Master of the Universe. But, sigh, I took the Foreign Service exam instead, and got married to a Catholic, and have voted straight Republican since 1972. I know, I know, I am a disappointment to my people, all those hopes and dreams . . . shattered!

Life's too short. Everybody enjoy and let others enjoy the great freedoms we have. And every Jewish kid in America should have on his wall the names and pictures of the greatest friends the Jewish people ever had: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Reagan, Bush and the millions of GIs who tore the guts out of Hitler's war machine and whose grandchildren continue to keep us free.

Bring on the Christmas music! More cookies! Down with the ACLU!

14 comments:

  1. Thank you so much. I really laughed out loud. :-)

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  2. Brilliant! And Merry Christmas to all!

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  3. I have decided to become offended whenever someone wishes me "happy holidays"

    Offended that is, either at their presumption that I am atheist or their total disrespect for my cultural and religious heritage.

    During 30 years in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, none of my Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Parsee, Communist or whatever (maybe a few animist/pagan, I don't know) co-workers ever had a problem about offering Christmas greetings. And I in turn would offer appropriate greetings for whichever of their festivals was on. That's real respect for cultural differences.

    Denial of Christmas is bigotry, pure and simple.

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  4. Americans owe Christians a great debt of gratitude for making the country thrive. To deny that historical fact is disingenuous.

    There are many examples in the world where atheism or worship of the state is the norm. These are typically grim places filled with desperate people (and never visited by collage-age, American rebels).

    I am Jewish, yet I always wish people a heartfelt Merry Christmas to spread good cheer and as an homage to the culture.

    We are headed toward the social cliff in addition to the fiscal cliff. These two cliffs are related. All that is required for Evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    Fight on DiploMad! Show us the way. Lead us. Testify!

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  5. College / not collage. Had to get off of my high horse to beat the spell checker.

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  6. I was taught to believe that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian ideals. That's right, props to both of these great traditions. I am a big fan of the Jewish kid from Israel! Big fan. Great post Diplomad.

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  7. Back when I was an Air Force lieutenant and frequently got selected for officer of the day and such duties, it was customary for Jewish officers to get the duty on Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, and for the rest of us to get the duty on Jewish holidays. Nothing official, it was just understood that "that's the way we do it here." I wonder if in this politically correct era this is still possible.

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  8. John 10:22-23 "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch."

    So, from this Fundamentalist Christian, Happy Hannukah!

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  9. Not to be disputatious, but was Charlie Chaplin really Jewish? He never mentions it in his autobiography, and I've never heard it mentioned in other works about the man. I have, however, heard that he had Romany blood.

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    1. The upper class in Britain used to refer to him as that "little Jew." He, however, was always vague about it, but during the war stopped denying he was Jewish. He had a half-brother (different father) who was Jewish. So, in my estimation the odds are 55-45 he was. But you can have him if you want as he was a big jerk and a political idiot (LOL).

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    2. Thanks for the info on Charlie Chaplin. Never heard it before. Yes, he was a big jerk and a comsymp.

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