15.11.19

THERE'S A TREE IN THE GRAND HOTEL, ONE IN THE PARK AS WELL.

But the one in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda is NOT a Christmas tree.  The governor says as much.  Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl can't stand the snow job.
The Capitol Christmas tree is another story. See what I did there? I came right out and called it a Christmas tree. That's because I'm not the government, which is supposed to represent everyone without picking a favorite religion, even though we all know what that religion is.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers understands that, so he jettisoned the Christmas tree label used by his predecessor, Scott Walker, and renamed the rotunda beauty the Holiday Tree, capitalized like that so you know he's serious.

For a moment, our salty-talking governor considered calling it the bastards tree but decided to save that word for Senate Republicans who fired his agriculture secretary.

Then Evers dropped a tannenbomb [c.q.] on his opponents by asking schoolchildren across Wisconsin to send in, gasp, science-related ornaments to hang on the tree. These Republican foes stopped believing in science and Santa years ago.
Gosh, do bubble lights qualify as science related? Snowflakes? Or are those a microaggression against Democrat legislators?
This week, proving the pettiness of politics once again, Republican Assembly reps and a few Democrats stepped away for a moment from getting nothing done and quickly passed a resolution calling the holiday tree a Christmas tree instead. At least we all agree for now that it's actually a tree.

Feel free to ignore the resolution and call it whatever you like. At least I think you can. There are probably lawmakers who favor ticketing people in the rotunda using the H-word to describe the tree. It disrespects their church, the one that's supposed to be separated from their state.

Passing a resolution saying something is a Christmas tree does not make it true or binding. Any more than most students at Menomonee Falls High School are actually Indians.

This is so much fuss over nothing, as both sides play to their bases. We're fighting about a tree that's not even standing yet. If you feel like you want to be even more cynical about politics, yule want to stay tuned.

The $75 murdered evergreen that lights up our living rooms is absolutely a Christmas tree. Just like a menorah is a menorah and a Festivus pole is a Festivus pole. In the privacy of your own home and your own brain, no one objects to those names.

Evers is not asking us to ban the term from general use. Christmas tree. Christmas tree. Christmas tree. See? That's what I call a fir tree decorated with lights, ornaments and tinsel. You can, too. But it won't kill us to say holiday tree for this particular one that is there to give comfort and joy to everyone.

No, it's not a war on Christmas. If there is such a war, the opposition is losing badly. Christmas takes up the last two months of the year. One-sixth of the calendar is Christmas.
The problem is that, a decorated fir tree having pagan origins, and the Christmas season getting under way in the stores around Labor Day, even that sort of symbolism won't Please Everybody.
Houses are already decorated. TV ads are already trying to turn us into zombies soon to be roaming the stores in search of passable presents. Christmas, at least the dominant secular version, remains the king of holidays.

We're so politically divided these days over real issues. Fir heaven's sake, let's not fight over the prettiest thing at the Capitol.
It's probably too late already, the professional atheists will object to the idea of a decorated tree, even if By Order of H.E. The Governor, it is a Holiday Tree.  It gets particularly funny in Chicago, where hard by the Nativity in the Christkindlmarkt is a display put up by the local chapter of professional atheists, honoring the solstice as the original reason for the season.  That is to say, a survival of the worship of the sun gods.  (Maybe the most effective way to trigger an atheist is to wish him "have a nice day.")

But Government is the name for those things We Chufe to Do Together.

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