Good Tidings & Great Pain – A Palin Xmas, Ch. 1
Good tidings. Great joy! And the miracle of a baby’s birth. Not just a regular baby – the Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God. A baby who would grow into a man who communed with the poor, the outcasts, the wretched, the lost souls. A man who would save them, and heal them, and love them. A giver of second chances, and hope. A bringer of love, compassion, salvation and forgiveness.
That’s what Sarah Palin’s book is all about, she says in the Introduction. “Good Tidings and Great Joy – Saving the Heart of Christmas.” It’s not about trivial stuff, she assures us. It’s about that little baby, and the light and promise he brought into the weary, heartsick world.
What, might one imagine, would be the first word in a book like that – the first word of the title of the very first chapter?The word that would start the whole thing off. The beginning.
The Alpha, as it were.
In the beginning, there was a word, and the word was…
Hang on. Wait, just a second. Maybe if I use my cognac/Palin reading aid as a magnifying lens… Here we go…
Yup. Angry. “Angry Atheists With Lawyers.” That’s Chapter 1.
Peace be upon you, my friends.
I would have chosen Luke 2:10 as my opening quote and the theme of Chapter 1, but clearly I’m way off. Let’s see instead what our author chose.
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukka’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukka!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!” -Dave Barry
The Gospel of Luke… Dave Barry, you know. Whatever.
Perhaps Palin is right to quote Dave Barry. Perhaps the old ways are best. I think that unless we want to ask every stranger we encounter at the checkout line, or the bank, or passing on the street, “Hey, what’s your religious affiliation?” which is pretty off-putting and weird, that we just go ahead and take a guess. Since Hannukka falls mercifully early this year, even before Black Friday, that’s not going to be an issue for 2013. But how do we know who is Christian or Buddhist, or atheist, or Hindu, or Muslim, or Pagan? Well, you heard it from Palin herself. Back in the day, nobody said “Happy Holidays.” And we’re not supposed to modify our behavior because of the risk of someone being “offended,” so I say just go for it. It is December, after all. There’s a lot going on.
“A joyous Bodhi Day to you!” “Hope you get lucky on Saturnalia!” “Merry Christmas!” “Happy Solstice!” “Joyous Yule!” “Have a great Yalda!” “Look out for the wall!” “Can you believe Pancha Ganapati is upon us again?!”
And if you happen to wish a Christian a rockin’ good Saturnalia, and they look at you funny, you can tell them that you’re just listening to Sarah Palin’s good news that you no longer “have to be intimidated by the politically correct police.” Cheers, mate!
Next is a brief tale about an angry Christmas cop – an Alaska State Trooper (just like the one Palin wanted fired when she was governor) who hassled the Palin kids as they innocently rode their snowmachine along the side of the road on a Christmas afternoon in 1978. They had to convince this growly, scowly gubmint scrooge that they weren’t out being naughty ne’er do wells on Christmas day. It’s like Li’l Sarah’s Very First Troopergate™. And there are others out there too, just like that rotten State Trooper, who don’t seem to “have the joy of the season in their hearts and minds.” She cites four: angry people at the mall, drunk people at Christmas parties, kids who eat Christmas cookies their mothers baked which were meant for neighbors, and toddlers who smash Christmas tree ornaments. You know the types. Despicable.
Then comes an elaborate story of “the modern day Scrooge.” Every single stereotype possible of a Tea Party nemesis is crammed into a self-parody of Evil out to destroy Good that pretty much left me in tears of hilarity.
“Joe McScrooge” is our antagonist. He’s divorced, lost custody of his kids, from a wealthy, desert-like, elite town in New Mexico. His kids used to attend César Chavez Elementary School, which was shiny and fancy and ee-lete. He listens to satellite radio – NPR specifically. He does not smoke. He has an iPhone, and a pedigreed dog. He is angry. He’s an angry, angry liberal.
Joe McScrooge spends most of his time ridiculing, mocking, and physically trembling with rage at the stupid, working-class Pennsylvania town full of “bitter clingers” he is visiting. Here’s a list of all the good ‘Murrikan things that are freedomy and regular folk, and Jesus-like that our New Mexico latté librul hates:
- The cold weather (savages)
- The smell of cigarette smoke (offends delicate liberal nasal passages)
- The forced sentimentality of grade school musical performances (eye roll)
- Shabby, low-class neighborhoods (working people, eww)
- Strip malls and the appearance of no zoning regulations or urban planning (No Sarah, that’s Wasilla, not Pennsylvania)
- “The inevitable Wal-mart Superstore” (Low income people. Ick.)
- A “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” sign in a fast-food restaurant (idiots)
- An unpedigreed, sweaterless dog! (the horror!)
- A cross next to a kneeling soldier in a public park (Rage!!!)
- Wreaths everywhere, and “garishly-colored” Christmas lights that “relentlessly blink” and are distracting (clutches skull)
- Red ribbons “flapping sloppily in the breeze” (Untidy unregulated decorations shall not be tolerated)
- A “ridiculously oversized Menorah” (Jews, overcompensating much?)
- A nativity scene with a plastic Jesus (RageRageRage!!!)
- Mary’s “virginity” and her gullible, naïve fiancé (Puh. Leeze. Joseph – what a chump.)
- “Divine insemination” (no, not immaculate conception – “divine insemination.” Holy semen, Batman!)
- A Semper Fi window decal (The military? Ptooey.)
- “A faded, peeling McCain/Palin ’08 bumper sticker. Joe audibly gagged.“ (Audibly! Wow! HAAAAACK!)
- A sign that refers to “Christmas break” instead of “Winter Break.” (Call the ACLU! Stat!)
- Rebecca, the perky student greeter who has the temerity to wish him “Merry Christmas.” (Brainwashed child)
- Silent Night, Joy to the World, and The Little Drummer Boy on the school program (RAGE!!)
- The overweight principal (“He couldn’t help but notice”) and her “goofy” reindeer sweater
- The cheap sound system (The riff-raff can’t afford Bose)
- His son happily singing religious songs (What the….?? His son is HAPPY? This is the last straw. This cannot be allowed to stand.)
That’s it! He can’t TAKE it anymore! He pulls out his fancy-schmantzy iPhone and taps out a message to his fancy-schmantzy lawyer: “I’ve seen more constitutional violations here in the past hour than a prison guard at Abu Ghirab.”
This vile pit of Christmas cheer and stupidity and freedom is ripe for a lawsuit. It’s just a shame he can’t serve the papers to William Penn himself.
And so it goes not only with “Joe McScrooge” but all those liberals who want to annihilate Christmas, wipe out joy and meaning, and pave it over with their secular government regulated ways; and gripe about people who smoke in rental cars, and proselytize in the windows of Burger King, and drive around with military stickers; shopping in their Walmart Superstores, and walking their unsweatered, huge, unpedigreed dogs out in public in the unplanned, unzoned hellscape.
The bottom line is that “Americans don’t have a right to not be offended.”
“Barack Obama, for example, didn’t face 60 million lawsuits when he repeatedly implied that fiscally concerned and conservative Americans care more about tax breaks for the rich than for the well-being of poor citizens.”
You mean like the 47% his opponent said were moochers? And who knew that trickle down economics is now offensive in Republican circles?
“The fact that we’re offended – even when he means to offend – doesn’t give us the right to sue.”
What if I’m offended by a violation of the Constitution? Isn’t this why we have the judicial system? I’m confused. Enlighten me ex-half-governor.
“People can silence their fellow citizens for no other reason than the fact that they were offended. Let’s take Joe from our previous example. He didn’t have to stare at the Nativity scene, nor did he have to stay and listen to the carols he didn’t want to hear at the Christmas program. He could have plopped in some earbuds, listened to his NPR app, walked out, or even written a blog post about how inane he found the elementary school program.”
A blog post!? OH, SNAP!
So, if I get this right, we can go ahead with our Saturnalia revels on stage, and our NeoPagan Earth rituals, and our Buddhist chanting, and the Christians are totally cool with plugging their ears and turning the other cheek? I’m thinking we really ought to have a whole special Ramadan program for the kids too, later on in the year. Parents can just plug in to their Billy Graham app and pretend.
The rest of the chapter is devoted to specific examples of petulant, offended atheists who smash God-fearing decent people over the heads with their attorneys. She chose the stories because they were “yanked from the headlines.”
The first headline that got yanked was from 12 years ago, when the atheists didn’t want a cross in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The cross provided comfort and solace, she argues, to those Christians who needed it. And when we think about the Muslims who were killed on 9/11, in the buildings and airplanes, and as first responders, also looking for solace at Ground Zero, I’m guessing we’re not supposed to think about THIS”:
Cross = good, comfort, solace.
Mosque = insensitive “stab at the heart,” and slap in the face to Americans.
Sure, Muslims do have the right to build the mosque, she concedes – JUST DON’T DO IT THERE. Because it’s offensive, and they have the right to repress your first amendment freedoms on private land if they are offended. But non-Christians don’t have the right to be offended.
Are you following?
If you’re still not quite sure you understand the logic, we’ll try one last time.
“Imagine for a moment the hysterical laughter that woudl ensue in the Lamestream Media if people from a pro-family group filed a lawsuit against the news networks claiming that, for example, the shot of Roseanne Barr grabbing her crotch while screeching and spitting through our national anthem at a Padres game made them physically ill.”
Think of it as a parable.
Roseanne’s crotch = religious iconography
Petco Park = public land
Major League Baseball Network = tax dollars
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling closer to the baby Jesus than ever.
Next, in Chapter 2, we’ll find out what we can do, and how we can find the courage to do it.