Declaring War on the War on the War on the War on the War on Christmas

Man. I cannot believe it. Just got back in the house. Catching my breath. Had to wade into the crowd out there on the street. Major neighborhood squall.

We've been waiting 20 years for the city to patch our street. They have big crews out there now doing it -- and a bang-up job from what I have seen so far. So one of my neighbors goes out there this morning and tries to halt the crews from working because she says they shouldn't be doing street repairs "this close to Christmas."

This close to what?

The squall is over. The city is going on with the work, but it took an hour. I'm on the edge of the crowd looking around at everybody in a hard-hat trying to guess how much they're getting paid for that hour of lost labor. I'm sure we cost somebody at least 200 bucks.

Christmas? I just don't get it. "And then the the angel said unto Mary, 'I almost forgot. No street work for a couple weeks, OK, dear?'"

Gerald Britt, a former pastor and one of our community's most thoughtful writers, has an op-ed piece in today's Dallas Morning News calling for a truce in the war on Christmas. War on Christmas? What war on Christmas?

Oh, wait. Here it is, on the same page. Another op-ed piece, this one by Mark Davis, who is, like Britt, a resident of our city. Davis says: "In the battle over the Nativity scene on courthouse property in Athens, Texas, count me among the Christians who support leaving it alone and telling the obnoxiously titled Freedom From Religion Foundation to take a hike."

Take a hike? When did Christmas get so damned on-the-muscle? I read stuff like this, and I imagine Davis on a horse with a broadsword, wearing a suit of armor with a big cross the back, riding up to a Muslim household in Southlake screaming, "Christmas or the sword!"

Why Christmas? What's going on? Why has Christmas gone so crazy?

We drove through the Park Cities the other night down the big Christmas lights streets. I don't know what to tell you. It looked to me more like the Las Vegas strip than anything I remember about Christmas when I was a kid 100 years ago.

I grew up in a very Christian household. Christmas was a holy day -- quiet, modest, very churchy. Very un-Vegasy. And we lived in a diverse community with lots of non-Christians. We said, "Happy Holidays," because the last thing we wanted to do was make some other kid who wasn't from a Christian household have to stop and think about why we were oblivious to his own religion or his holiday or lack thereof. The point being, I guess, that we were not oblivious.

I have another question. Back in the day, I remember conservative Christians as not drinking. Much. At least not getting caught. When did they change that law? The closer I get to the Park Cities, the more Christmas feels like some kind of Baptist Saturnalia. Baptist Vegas Saturnalia with a broadsword.

And another thing. When did old rich white people start getting so damned paranoid? It's embarrassing. I thought old rich white people were supposed to be arrogant. That was the one thing we could count on them for. Now they all sound like the crazy guy at the bus stop with the poster about aliens implanting microchips in his privates.

It's like their biggest craving in life is to be an oppressed minority. It's so strange. And, anyway, lots of luck with that. Most of the ones I know would have an easier time signing up with the ballet.

Wait. I just had a thought. The light bulb goes off. Paranoid. Hyper. Way over the top with the lights. Paranoid again. You know what Park Cities Christmas may really look like?

Christmas for Adderall abusers.

Could I be on to something? A historic crossroads, perhaps? Christianity meets dextroamphetamine? As Jerry Lee Lewis says, think about it.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze