Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Holiday Strategy

The day before Thanksgiving, Max Boot summarized the history of the "War on Christmas" movement, including the "notorious racist and anti-Semite Henry Ford," the far-right John Birch Society and more recently, one-time Fox News hosts John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly. According to Boot, O'Reilly in 2004 claimed

Christmas was “under siege.” He attributed this to an “anti-Christian” blitz by “secular progressives” intent on foisting “gay marriage, partial birth abortion, euthanasia, legalized drugs, income redistribution through taxation, and many other progressive visions” on innocent, God-fearing Americans. The following year, O’Reilly’s colleague John Gibson published a book called “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought.”

With the absence of any deaths or victims filling the hospital wards, there obviously is no "war."  Contrary to Boot's view, though, there has been an attack upon Christmas as a Christian holiday, but one never launched by liberals, Democrats, Socialists, big government or any one else of that variety.

It was launched, weaponized, and is now sustained by the business community and especially the retail sector, which recognized that secularizing the holiday would release the acquisitive behavior of the American consumer, which would trigger enormous profit. Capitalism and secularism, it turns out, are far more compatible than either conservatives or liberals/progressives are ever willing to admit.

This is best understood by someone who is simultaneously an unusually rapacious and corrupt capitalist and, before he discovered the evangelical base of the Republican Party, was openly contemptuous of Christianity.  Although he does not recognize that connection, Boot notes 'It did not take long for Trump — Fox News’s most faithful and credulous viewer — to join the “War on Christmas' as a full-throated combatant.

That was a wise tactical move on behalf of the narcissistic salesman from Queens and Manhattan, New York.  So now in Sunrise, Florida

"You know, some people want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don't want to use the term Thanksgiving," the president told the crowd of supporters, without explaining what he was referring to.

"That was true also with Christmas, but now everybody's using Christmas again. Remember, I said that?" he said, comparing the shadowy threat to the gluttonous day's moniker to his dubious claim that people had stopped telling each other "Merry Christmas" until he was elected.

"Now, we're going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas why it shouldn't be called Thanksgiving," he said, again without elaborating on the identity of the feast's alleged detractors.

"But everybody in this room I know loves the name Thanksgiving and we're not changing it," he defiantly declared.

You know, some people want to change the name ‘Thanksgiving.’ They don’t want to use the term ‘Thanksgiving.’ And that was true also with Christmas, but now everybody’s using Christmas again."

Obviously- and as the President very likely knows- there is almost no one, and no one in the public eye, who wants to "change the name 'Thanksgiving.'" Nor is it true that "everybody's using Christmas again" but Trump long ago learned the advantages of continuous, rapid-fire lying. 

Moreover, he knows the advantage of pledging something he can't miss on. "We're not changing it," he defiantly declared.  Of course they're not, because no one particularly wants it changed. During the election campaign (next year, not the one begun when Trump filed on the evening of January 20, 2017 for re-election), he'll be able to claim "Thanksgiving" as one of his promises fulfilled.

Alternatively, President Trump next year can gin up fear and paranoia by charging that persons named or unnamed are trying to abolish Thanksgiving. He may claim that he- and he alone, the "chosen one"- is standing up to the forces disloyal to the USA and to Christianity. 

That would be creepy, dishonest, and demagogic. It does sound a lot like Donald J. Trump.

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