by ARIEL HARSINAY
Tuesday night at one of his “Thank you” rallies, president elect Donald Trump stated, “So when I started 18 months ago, I told my first crowd in Wisconsin that we are going to come back here someday and we are going to say Merry Christmas again. So, Merry Christmas everyone. Happy New Year, but Merry Christmas. And I am here today for one main reason: to say thank you to the people of Wisconsin.” At a time when we are faced with terrorist attacks, the polarization of our country, rapid climate change, and global economic instability, Trump believes that the most important issue is making sure we say “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays”.
Trump perceives people saying “Happy Holidays” as another variation of “political correctness” and the necessity of liberals to perpetually be inoffensive and make sure all demographics are included. It seems ridiculous to have to mention, but the fact of the matter is that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Even those that are far right may not celebrate Christmas. The reason people say “Happy Holidays” is simply because they don’t want to assume that someone celebrates Christmas. Yet to Trump, this is another example of everyone’s necessity to be politically correct. However, I don’t think the holiday you and your family celebrate has anything to do with your political ideology.
At a Michigan rally, Trump said, “How about all those department stores? They have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘Merry Christmas’? I think they’re gonna’ start putting up ‘Merry Christmas.'” Why worry about actual wars when the War on Christmas is clearly alive and thriving? Trump’s statements seem ridiculous, but in the United States there is supposed to be a clear separation of church and state. Yet our president elect is offended that a holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ is not the national standard. Not to mention that department stores are private companies, and I am sure they are much more concerned with appealing to all of their shoppers that come from a variety of backgrounds and making greater profits.
Being Jewish during December can be rather unexciting, and I will be the first to admit that I have always been jealous of the Christmas spirit and festivities. Singing along to “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” just doesn’t have the same appeal as hitting the high notes for “All I Want for Christmas is You”. And being told every year by my parents in elementary school to make sure not to spoil Santa Claus for the Christian kids in class was always a commitment I had to make during the holiday season. Roosevelt Field Mall never had a Hannukah Harry whose lap I could sit on. The fact that those who do not celebrate Christmas should have to assimilate and not adhere to their culture is a ridiculous notion.
Donald Trump’s statements regarding Christmas are not offensive to me, but rather ridiculous and ill-conceived. However, while they do seem like a minor issue that is easy to brush off, it is another example of Trump excluding certain demographics from his ideologies. Instead of trying to unite our polarized country, he’s further separating everyone and making sure certain groups of people feel excluded.
I also believe that our future president should be dedicating his time towards more pressing issues. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but I’d prefer to have a president who can help solve the water epidemic in Flint and who handles the poor treatment of indigenous peoples who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline rather than tweeting about how offended he is that the cast of Hamilton addressed Mike Pence and how he is offended by Alec Baldwin’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live. Yet president elect Trump claims it’s the liberals who are perpetually offended.