Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Narcissism of Multiculturalism


I'm sure everyone's heard about the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Christmas trees that were removed when a Rabbi threatened to sue if a menorah weren't also displayed with the Christmas decorations. The airport, not wanting to put up the menorah only to open themselves up into having to accomodate every wiccan, Islamist, Kwanzaan, and multiculturalist under the sun, opted to simply remove all Christmas displays in the airport,
And that is not what Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky wanted.

"I am devastated, shocked and appalled at the decision that the Port of Seattle came to," he said Sunday. As news coverage about the airport's trees spread from CNN to ABC to the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, Bogomilsky on Sunday began to receive hateful messages from people holding him responsible for the removal of the trees.
Like Mary at Freedom Eden, I think it is unfortunate that people found it necessary to send hate mail to the rabbi.

While I was at a client's home Monday morning, I caught Tammy Bruce on the FOX morning show with that Democratic strategist (whose name escapes me), and both thought the removal of the trees was outrageous. I thought Tammy Bruce had the most eloquent way of expressing it, when she mentioned about the narcissism of multiculturalism, and how we don't need to see ourselves reflected in everything. Christmas after all is about Jesus Christ. Can you imagine different interest groups wanting to push their identity to be recognized during Cinco de Mayo or Black History Month? It shouldn't be "all about me". It's okay to be exclusive. During Nisei Week, I'm not interested in seeing Chicano pride marching in the street parade alongside surviving members of the 442nd, the highly decorated all-Japanese-American WWII battalion. I expect to celebrate the beauty of Japanese-American cultural heritage. You might say that's different: it doesn't concern religion. I disagree about the difference. Religious culture is still culture; and true tolerance means you allow any given culture to celebrate in peace, without demanding that your culture also take center stage.

Here is what Tammy Bruce wrote on her blog:
The rabbi should have simply asked, and not threatened to sue. I have no problem at all with the idea of a menorah going up, but the bottom line is, 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. This growing obsession with everyone everywhere needing to see their representation is the impact of narcissism and its increasing control of people's lives.
As everyone knows, the trees have since been restored in the airport; and we may now all sleep restfully with visions of sugarplum dancing through our heads.

Aaah....the wonders of YouTube. God bless the uploader of this:

Here's what Tammy Bruce said so well:
"It really is narcissism run amok; there's a point where we don't need to see ourselves in every single thing- and real multiculturalism, frankly, is being able to enjoy another representation without necessarily seeing yourself in it."
And the Democratic strategist is Bob Beckel...of course! One comment he made which I liked was in pointing out that a menorah is a religious symbol (although, Linda Chavez points out it also represents a cultural and historic celebration in its own right); whereas the Christmas tree, arising out of pagan tradition, is largely secularized. It is a religious symbol, yes; but also, so much more. It is a part of American tradition. And as such, means something to an even wider audience.

My family was never a Christian family; but we honored and celebrated the Christian holiday without feeling alienated or threatened by it; we always had presents under a tree and mailed Christmas cards; and in our own way- with feelings of peace on earth and good will to all, I think that brings honor to Christ....and to American solidarity, as exemplified by being bound by a common tradition: the tradition of Christmas.


Blogger Mark said...

The Rabbi was wrong to demand the inclusion of the menorah. The menorah is a religious symbol. The Christmas tree isn't.

If the airport had capitulated and placed menorahs in the airport, the ACLU would have sued over the myth of separation of church and state. They can't sue over the placing of non-religious symbols.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I don't agree with Mark on this one, BZ. I don't think the ACLU would give a tinker's da*n about a menorah in a public airport. It's only Christians and therefor Christmas that they object to!

The Rabbi did not demand the trees be removed, and although to many, the Christmas tree isn't a religious symbol (which is why they want to call it a "Holiday Tree) to Christians it represents a celebration of the birth of Christ. Technically, Mark is right though; it's not truly a religious symbol, but whether it is or not, I don't think people should have sent hate mail to the Rabbi either. That's disgusting!

Merry Christmas, Wordsmith! :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:23:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Demanding is just bad policy. Asking first, yes. Without threat of a lawyer.

Menorahs don't bother me, personally.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:25:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

And yes, Gayle, I agree: the tree might be more pagan and commercial in its meaning, but its association is still to the Christian celebration. So lawyers will always find ammunition in it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:27:00 AM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Wordsmith, I appreciate your personal perspective on this issue. You lend some sanity to a discussion in which passions run high on both sides. Deliberate anit-Christians want all evidence of Christ removed from the American landscape and are at a loss of how to accomplish it overnight. Christians really only want to be left alone - but not certainly not "outlawed."

Thursday, December 14, 2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

SeaTac is stupid. On our military bases, supported by taxpayer dollars, we have chaplains. Our chapels have Catholic and Protestant services on Sunday, we have Wiccans who meet in one of the rooms, a Muslim prayer room, a Jewish meeting room with a kosher kitchen, and we have a Buddhist meeting group.

We even have copies of the Bhagavad Gita for Hindu members.

Right now in front of the church is a Nativity Scene (blatantly religious) as WELL as a Menorah - and I do think it is one donated by the same organization, Chabad Lubavitch, that this Rabbi represents.

The airport made the assumption that in including a decoration that most of us see at this time of year anyway they would have to go research and make sure every. single. religion. and culture was represented. That's stupid and wrongheaded of them.

Having a Christmas Tree and a Menorah during the Christmas and Hannukah season does not mean that they have to go find some made up holiday to celebrate at the same time so that there is some Shinto display to be "fair".

I personally LOVE to see different cultural festivals - like wordmith said, though, when it is time for one, the others don't have to push themselves forward right then. Wait your turn, people.

One look at the Hallmark shop shows a plethora of Hannukah supplies. Bed Bath and Beyond has a whole Hannukah section. Target has even gotten into the act. Menorahs are quite common this time of year, in public and out.

Obviously there is a significant market of people out there celebrating Hannukah, so what is the problem in including the (ONE) menorah that was requested in displays?

None, especially when the Lubavitchers were going to donate it in the first place.

The suing too quickly thing - I agree. But telling them no?

And the Supreme Court has said the Menorah is secular as well as religious - church and state is a moot point.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks, Old Soldier.

airforcewife is just so.....awesome! I always appreciate you weighing in.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Thanks for posting Tammy Bruce's remarks, and the link, WS.

She nails it.

"It really is narcissism run amok; there's a point where we don't need to see ourselves in every single thing- and real multiculturalism, frankly, is being able to enjoy another representation without necessarily seeing yourself in it."

That says it all.

Are Americans so self-centered that they can't handle attention being given to a given religion or culture?

The majority of us are tolerant. It's a small and very annoying minority that demand to see themselves in everything.

Multiculturalism, by definition, demands tolerance.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Well I respectfully disagree..the Supreme Court already ruled that the menorah is not considered a religious symbol any more than the tree and the airport could have shown the spirit of the season and jus put up the dang menorah!..Jews may be the minority but they do use the airport and they do celebrate in december so whats the big deal?

Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Who are you disagreeing with Angel? (^_^)

Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

LOL! I wondered that too, Wordsmith. Sounds to me like Angel's agreeing with us. :)

By the way, I hope you visit her. She's got a sound bite up where she talked with Mark Levin on the radio. Good stuff!

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I believe I was the first to leave a comment there, Gayle!

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:49:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Well said!! The more I learn about Tammy Bruce the more I am impressed with her.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 9:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Oh. Well then, you aleady heard it. Apologies! :)

Friday, December 15, 2006 8:39:00 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

Can you imagine different interest groups wanting to push their identity to be recognized during Cinco de Mayo or Black History Month?

I can hear the cries of bigotry now!

The Me Generation cares to see their reflections everywhere and all the time. And businesses and courts have knee-jerk reactions and go into crisis management mode in our litigious society.

I am a Christian and celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior. But Christmas isn't only for Christians; it is indeed a tradition of Western civilization.

I'm glad to learn that the Christmas trees still stand in the airport. So many people travel for this holiday and enjoy the Christmasy atmosphere.

Monday, December 18, 2006 2:52:00 AM  

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