by Jack Hunter
My latest at The American Conservative:
Explaining the need for his “Stand Up for Christmas” resolution, Congressman Henry Brown of South Carolina released the following statement:
“I am troubled by the growing sentiment that the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ is not appropriate and I am worried that attempts to celebrate a ‘politically correct’ holiday season may cause the loss of some of the traditions sacred to this widely celebrated holiday.”
Many have debated whether there actually exists a “war on Christmas,” with many conservatives answering in the affirmative and many liberals insisting that the whole thing is a manufactured seasonal ruse, exploited by opportunistic Republicans like Brown. While there is no doubt an increasing reluctance to use the word “Christmas” in public, especially within government and corporate institutions, liberals are right that the “war on Christmas” is often nothing more than an excuse to engage in cheap political opportunism and Brown’s “Stand Up for Christmas” legislation is a perfect example.
Brown is an archetype of the conventional Republican—a big spending, big government politician who constantly appeals to his base with ineffectual, conservative sounding rhetoric about peripheral social issues. It’s not that issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the 2nd amendment aren’t important—it’s just that most Republican politicians’ stances on these issues rarely produce anything that actually advances any conservative agenda. There is never a grand strategy—but always plenty of grandstanding.
For decades, such posturing on social issues has kept the biggest, big government Republicans in office and similarly, Brown’s supposed concern for the “traditions,” “sacred” to Christmas come off as grandstanding precisely because he is. Even many of those who agree with his sentiments concerning the loss of Christmas and its traditions, including this writer, can still see right through the opportunistic Brown.