My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Hick and the Folly of "Inclusiveness"

I heard about this story a couple nights ago on the Gunny Bob Show on 850 KOA. The gist of it is that the mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, has ordered that next year the light above the Nativity Scene in front of the City and County Building read "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

We're trying to be more inclusive," he said.

Further, the mayor said of the entire Nativity Scene "If it hadn't been there for 85 years, I wouldn't put it out there."

So, let me see if I can follow the thin threads of logic weaving through the mayor's position. First, except for the fact of tradition, he would not want this display up at all. But, since he feels compelled to go with tradition, he wants to alter the display to be more inclusive.

Tradition, by definition, is any ritual or ceremony which an integral part of the fabric of any given occasion. It becomes such because the preponderence of persons involved in the occasion enjoy the ritual and feel compelled to duplicate it each time. In other words, the Nativity Scene is a tradition because a large proportion--dare I say "majority"?--of Denver-ites and metro-ites have come to expect its presence and look forward to its annual appearance. And this expectation is what the mayor feels necessary to duplicate.

Yet, while bowing to tradition, he simultaneously seeks to alter the tradition, and refuse to acknowledge, in a very fundamental way, the basis for the tradition. In other words, while allowing the tradition he cuts it off from the source. Over the course of time, this separation will lead to the removal of the tradition itself. Imagine, as analogy, a Thanksgiving feast with cranberry sauce; now, imagine that somebody said you could continue to have cranberry sauce on the last Thursday of November, but that you would not be having the feast any more. For how long do you suppose you would continue to have cranberry sauce on the last Thursday of November?

Furthermore, if the reason for the display is the "holidays," does this not undermine the entire purpose of the Nativity Scene? Jews do not acknowledge the significance of the creche; those who celebrate Kwaanza (which, by the way, would somebody please explain to me in what sense this is a "holiday"?) don't feel special attachments to the scne of Mary, Joseph, Jesus et al.; so how does the Nativity Scene celebrate "holidays" when there is no similar display of Judaic or African paraphernalia (I know--bad word choice, but. . .). This strikes me as a tactical rearrangement which makes the removal of the Scene altogether very much easier.

And, for another thing, in what way is the alienation of the majority more "inclusive"? This part of the left's strategy has always baffled me, and I have yet to hear a strong rebuttal to this line of logic. The expression of the majority is faulty because it does not adequately express the minority position; so, to right the situation, we're going to thwart the expression of the majority and replace it with a watered-down version that expresses nothing. So I ask: in what way is supressing a majority more "inclusive"?

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