Free Speech Grief

Took some good-natured ribbing about my ‘Free as a bird’ post, and that’s okay, because it means you care!

Seriously though, don’t wrap yourself in the American flag and claim to be the grantor of this first amendment right as if we all have to understand it from your myopic perspective.  This phenomenon seems to have really shown itself over the past handful of years as the divide in what makes this country great seems to deepen – happens every year lately around the holidays when some blow hard gets up on his or her pedestal and claims “Christ is the reason for the season!”  (What does that mean anyway?)

First of all, Christmas was a man-made holiday as we don’t really know when Christ was born.  So if someone wants to say “Happy Holidays,” that’s their prerogative, and their right to speak freely as it suits them.  No one is harmed when that statement is made.  And if someone wants to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone they encounter, so be it.  But if your only reason to exclaim “Merry Christmas” is to make a point of some kind or to show that you’re Christian, you’re part of what is wrong with this amazing time of year.

People enjoy the holidays at year’s end for many reasons.  It’s a time of celebration for Christians around the world.  It’s a time for family gatherings for all people, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, atheists….. ALL people.  For many in this country, it’s because we have time off from work and school and that gives us time to gather, break bread, and reflect.  It means we are spending more time making connections with the people we care about and who care about us.

So if you want to say “Happy Holidays” then do that.  And if you want to wish someone or a group of folks a “Merry Christmas,” then do that as well.  But never tell someone that they have to say “Merry Christmas” because it’s what you think is right for all – just say thank you and watch what happens.  (But be mindful because there are sooooo many people that don’t celebrate Christmas and some may let you know – it’s like if you said “happy Eid” to a group of folks because one of them was Muslim – it means something to that person but not to the rest.  If you hear a “happy holidays” back to your “merry Christmas,” don’t be alarmed and don’t make that stupid face – it’s someone else exercising their free speech.)

That awesome feeling you get deep inside right around December 25th when someone greets you – whether it’s “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” – with a smile on their face and sincerity in their voice, …… that’s the reason for the season.

That is someone’s right to free speech.  And pretty sure Christ would be pleased.