Thursday, December 24, 2015

No Need to Apologize, We All Do It

It seems, in recent weeks, that we have become an exceedingly polite society. My Facebook news feed is now littered with posts imploring me to please excuse this friend's need to support the troops, or this friend's need to fly the American flag. Some of my friends go so far as excusing themselves for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or, now my current favorite, the seasonal "please pardon me for saying Merry Christmas". When did this happen? We need to excuse ourselves for politely offering a seasonal greeting to those we meet during the holiday season? Who, exactly, are you offending?

An informal poll conducted last week by me, via email to friends who do not celebrate Christmas provided this information: none of them are offended when someone says Merry Christmas to them. Not one. Now, if you were to give them a creche that lights up and plays Silent Night on constant repeat, or a large gold cross to hang on the front door, perhaps that might be offensive, but a simple Merry Christmas, always welcome.

Five of seven days per week I begin my morning by pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States. Not once have I apologized for this reckless behavior. I have not felt guilty, embarrassed, coerced or dirty. One day recently the speaker wasn't working in the fifth grade classroom and we missed the morning announcements. About an hour into our day one of the students remembered and asked if we could stop what we were doing to say the pledge. Four days after the attacks in Paris he suggested we take our moment of silence that follows the pledge to remember the victims in Paris. Our children and our schools are not so bad; why do we keep insisting that they are? When was the last time you pledged allegiance to the flag? I don't need to repost the pledge on Facebook to prove my patriotism. I do so by studying and understanding American history, by showing respect to the president of the United States, by participating in the political process and by not expecting others to believe exactly as I do.

This sign appears in the front window of an Ohio bakery. And the sheriff of Harris County, Georgia posted this message next to the Welcome to Harris County sign: WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say Merry Christmas, God Bless American and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you...LEAVE!

This Trumpian form of patriotic bullying seems counter to everything good about living in the United States of America. Those who boldly proclaim their patriotism by excluding and offending others seem to be missing the point, which is unfortunate, especially at this time of year.

When did it become politically incorrect to show respect to others?

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