Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Mary Christmas

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend."


Do you think that political correctness has gone too far? It seems that the war rages on about whether or not Christmas is being given the proper respect it is due. The whole debate about whether it is a "Christmas tree" or a "holiday tree" has left me a bit frustrated. I suppose, it seems like a silly thing to put so much stress on. Why does something so basic have to be placed under a microscope? Be over analyzed and generally picked apart? Why do we humans work so hard at making things so difficult? Sometimes it seems like the people making the biggest fuss aren't actually making the fuss in the name of the ideal so much as crying out for attention. Everyone seems to be in a mad race to be deemed the "most correct" in the war of political correctness. Is this the ideal behind the original idea of trying to be sensitive to those around us? To wear our correctness like a badge?

The above four photos are actually screen shots of one of my favorite episodes of the The Mary Tyler Moore Show . The original air date was, December 19th, 1970 and was titled, "Christmas And The Hard Luck Kid." In this episode Mary Richards, has learned that she will have to spend Christmas in Minneapolis instead of going home to spend time with her family. Her good friend Rhoda Morganstern offers to keep Mary company for the holiday and Mary happily accepts the offer of kindness. There is a brief mention that Rhoda is Jewish in this episode, but the larger point that is made is that religious differences didn't stop Mary and Rhoda from not only enjoying each other's company, but indeed exchanging holiday presents. The feeling of love, of friendship and of the family we sometimes make in the world was what was stressed. The two friends loved each other as family...and as such treated each other with the spirit of the season, respect, love and reverence.

The episode doesn't end there. By the end of the program we find out that Mary's boss and co-workers also go the extra mile to ensure that Mary isn't left sad and lonely for the holiday. Again, expressing the true meaning of the holiday. I was 8 years old the first time I saw this episode,and I enjoyed it a lot. I think because I enjoyed knowing that it wasn't a far stretch to think that folks would do that for each other. In 1970 there wasn't so much arguing about what the absolute most correct image of the holiday season was. A traditional tree? A nativity scene? A snowman? A pink tinsel tree? Like with everything I suppose the holidays even back then had their trends. I don't remember arguing over who would feel offended by semantics. Sigh.

The idea of political correctness should help us mature into a more tolerant and accepting society, but it seems with every other bitter declaration of offense we as a country slip back into the days when people REALLY didn't care about their fellow man. Back to the days when not everyone was allowed to vote. When interracial marriage was illegal. When the color of your skin dictated where you were allowed to worship...despite your devotion to God, even at Christmas. I have heard disturbing things over the last few years. Notions like; "we have to take back OUR God." Sigh. Funny, I thought he was everyone's God, even for those who choose to not believe in him. Religion is a God given right, and as such each of us has been given the gift to choose for ourselves what our beliefs are. Pure and simple. As a country we dictate to the world our joys of religious freedom. And then we turn around and engage in mini-wars with each other about what the most absolute correct way is to spread "the message." After a while, it all seem so hollow, when it should be so simple, especially this time of year. So much could be accomplished if all the bitter hearts, the one's who just have to be right, would simply say, "Have a nice day," no matter what the date is...and mean it.



Solitary Dancer said...

It's just nuts. I'm so sick of political correctness. I'll continue to wish folks a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

I have friends from various walks of life and like the pics from Mary our differences never got in the way of our friendship.

Hugs, my friend.


Celeste said...

It has gone too far. I refuse to say Happy Holidays in fear that they may be Jewish or Muslim or whatever.

Tammy said...

I saw the "OC" christmas episode this year and they celebrated "Christmaka". It was a neat blend that a lot of young people were watching. If you tell my kids I watch it I'll deny, deny, deny. LOL

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Last night I read a private entry by a friend who said Happy Holidays in a newsletter that went out to hundreds of people. Someone promptly raked her over the coals for this, claiming that 90% of Americans are Christian (sounds like a made-up number to me!), she should have just said Merry Christmas. The person's attitude was the opposite of the peace, love and joy that any holiday greeting is meant to convey.