Sunday, December 22, 2013

In the trenches of the war on Christmas

It has become a Christmas tradition of its own, at least to some folks at Fox News and a few radio stations.

The "war on Christmas" gets plenty of air time every year back home in the U.S.

Every single change to the name of a parade is lambasted as yet more proof that an unholy coalition of democrats, atheists, and some unnamed dark forces are set to destroy Christmas. Every sizable public non-Tannenbaum display is scrutinized for compliance with the pagan-christian mix of  traditions known today as Christmas.
And every sizable public non-Tannenbaum fails the test.

The writers of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report can go on autopilot and paste together a few clips making fun of the Fox people.

We took you down this path of interpretation, now it is time to take another turn, thanks to the flexibility of the English language. 

The other reading of the title "In the trenches of the war on Christmas" moves the emphasis of the sentence from"war on Christmas" to "the trenches of the war" at Christmas time.

Treated as an urban myth for a long time and for obvious reasons, the incredibly brutal trenches of the First World War saw a Christmas break, during which Germans and opposing soldiers came out of their trenches, talked, sang, had meals together.

They broke the vicious cycle of the tit for tat of "you shoot at me, I shoot at you" and brought the killing machine to a stop, for up to a week in some places on the Western front.

This pissed off the generals - on both sides. Eventually, the chain of command won, strangling the insurgent peace.

As it turns out, for peace to take hold in the trenches of World War I, the opposing sides needed to be in close proximity, so they could cautiously evaluate the effect of ceasing fire and building trust.

Next time you see some folks on TV talking themselves into a faux rage at Christmas time, press the mute button and reflect for a second. Maybe, just maybe, enemies celebrating Christmas together less than 100 years ago saved the life of your great grandfather.

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