Not blogged for a few weeks (apologies to my regular reader!). Been trying to write a satire based on Brexit but since the situation daily becomes more farcical ‘in real life’, this has proved to be rather difficult (as I write, I think we are up to £57 billion for the ‘privilege’ of leaving). I also wrote a ‘tall tale’ for my writing group - about Melania Trump being a robot. Only to find, two days later, that it was not so tall - the press were speculating on her use of a body double. What the hell is happening to the world?!!
Anyway… just over twenty years ago, I was working for an American investment bank. My first Christmas there, I received a package from the partner in charge of our department. As did everyone else. The label said ‘Happy Holidays’. I remember commenting on it to my boss. She and the partner were both American and she explained that he was Jewish and that in the US, this was the more inclusive way to wish people ‘Merry Christmas’.
[I also remember being told to take down a small picture of Chandler from Friends from the wall of my cubicle. She said if I was allowed to have that, it would encourage men to have scantily clad women on their walls. Still not sure what I think about this. The feminist me agrees. The me which had to live with the awful things she said and did to me thinks ‘you always were a mad cow’. Sorry.]
But in the last week, Trump has begun to make a big deal out of not using ‘Happy Holidays’. He claims to be be restoring Christmas. It was apparently a campaign pledge - a defiance of politically correct language.
And I think, in essence, this action sums up what we are dealing with in the White House. It is petty in the extreme. It immediately announces a complete lack of inclusivity for anyone who does not celebrate the proscribed Christian festival. And it is designed to appeal to the section of the electorate who gave him the presidency. Trump believes that as long as he keeps his core supporters happy, he can disregard the opinions of everyone else.
In the UK, we haven't adopted ‘Happy Holidays’ in the twenty years since it first puzzled me. But maybe we should. Maybe we should all be tweeting it to @realDonaldTrump It is not a new phrase. It is a well-established part of US inclusivity. And it may seem like a little thing but as I have discussed before, the Nazis started with the little things and look where that led...