Paul Giorgio: Is There Really a War on Christmas?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Forget about the phony 'War on Christmas' and let us treat each other with love and respect this holiday season, believes Paul Giorgio.
About this time every year, the religious and radical right comes up with this notion that there is a war on Christmas. Why? Because some large retailers choose to say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. Scant proof if you ask me.
A Phony War
This phony war only exists in the minds of Bill O’Reilly, Fox News and the far Right. Last week Bill O'Reilly had Sarah Palin on touting her new book about the phony war on the Christmas holiday.
America is a different place than it was when Bill O’Reilly was growing up. We are not the white Christian nation that we once where. I went to a grammar school that was about 95 % Catholic. I don’t think Catholic schools even have numbers that high anymore.
This latest furor started because allegedly Radio Shack, the mainstay of America’s malls decided to wish shoppers Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Maybe the radical right only thinks that Christians buy gifts or go shopping during the holiday season.
In fact the Jewish Festival of Lights-Hanukah began this year on Thanksgiving and always occurs around Christmas time. Kwanzaa, an African American holiday also occurs around the same time as Christmas. All three observances have a gift giving tradition of some sort.
So why does the right have to manufacture this phony war? Well in Sara Palin’s case, it is crass commercialism-she needs to sell books in order to stay relevant. O’Reilly and Fox do it for ratings, which translates into higher dollars for ads and the religious right does it to fill the pews.
But the political right does it for a different reason-they do it to divide people. If you think your belief system is under attack, you are more likely to believe other stupid things that the right tries to feed you.
As proof that there is no war on Christmas, I offer you this. On Friday December 6, 2013-President Obama and his family lit the “National Christmas Tree”.
American is still a majority Christian nation, so for most of us Merry Christmas is appropriate. I still enjoy all the Christmas traditions of my Italian American youth; I even still enjoy watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” “White Christmas” and even that modern classic –“A Christmas Story”
But others may not. They have traditions of their own that are just as important to them as my families are to me. A Jewish child receiving gifts during Hanukah and eating Latkes is important to that child and the parents.
The traditions of Kwanzaa, although, only 50 years old are as important to African Americans who celebrate it, as Christmas is to me. Some people may even celebrate that uniquely American TV holiday-Fetevus. This holiday was created by George Costanza in the hit TV series Seinfeld.
But seriously, in this time of celebration and joy, let us treat each other with love in our hearts. Christians need to head the angels’ refrain-“Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men”
During this season try this simple polite way of greeting your friends. If you know they are Christian you can wish them a Merry Christmas. If you know they are Jewish, you can wish them a Happy Hanukah. If you are not sure what religion they are, try wishing them Happy Holidays.
It’s simple and it is polite. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.
Rhode Island’s Changing Media Landscape
Radio, print, television and digital- the faces in Rhode Islands's media has changed drastically over the past months... Let's take a look at some of the biggest moves:
Former star of the reality show Survivor, turned talk radio show host is out. Helen Glover departs and is replaced by radio Veteran Ron St. Pierre, who only months earlier was let go by 630 WPRO. St. Pierre is a radio Hall-of-Famer and former top sports anchor on WPRI-12.
Mike Stanton, the remaining reporter from the Providence Journal's once storied investigative team, is leaving Fountain Street for a teaching job at the University of Connecticut.
Stanton, who was part of the team that won the Providence Journal's last Pulitzer and is the author of the "Prince of Providence," the Buddy Cianci expose, departs leaving the Projo without an investigative reporter.
GoLocal named Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dean Starkman as a contributor and editor-at-large.
"Dean Starkman has a tremendous track record in financial, media, and investigative reporting. His work at the Wall Street Journal as a reporter and as an editor and writer at Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), coupled with ground-breaking investigations of public corruption for The Providence Journal, is unsurpassed in the region," said Josh Fenton, Co-Founder and CEO at GoLocal24, the parent company to GoLocalWorcester.com
Karen Bordeleau takes over for Tom Heslin as Executive Editor for the Providence Journal.
Before joining the newspaper in 1996, she worked at the Kent County Times and the Woonsocket Call.
She is a graduate of Northeastern University and a Rhode Island native.
Bob Whitcomb has been the editor of the editorial page of the Providence Journal since 1992 and Vice President since 1997.
His book, "Cape Wind" unveiled the business and political story behind Jim Gordon's effort to build a wind farm off of Cape Cod.
Prior to being a powerful voice at the Providence Journal, Whitcomb served as Financial Editor at International Herald Tribune.
He is slated to leave later this year according to RI NPR.
Managing Editor of the Providence Journal, Tom Heslin, is retiring.
Heslin who has been a journalistic leader of the Journal since the 1990's, led the paper's team the one their last Pulitzer Prize in the early 1990's and had to implement a series of staff cuts during the past decade.
Widely respected by journalists, Heslin has recently suffered from health issues.
The former co-host to the morning drive show is now Buddy Cianci's sidekick and co-host on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm drive time show on WPRO AM.
Granahan has had a host of assignments at WPRO and is the only woman on air at WPROAM.
She was the star photographer for the Providence Journal for better than a decade.
Her State House/Political photos made her one of the most influential members of the Providence Journal staff.
In late 2012, the Providence Journal let her go as part of the latest cost cutting ordered by the home office in Dallas.
In January, she was named press secretary to U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-1). She just announced she was leaving the Congressman's staff to return to photography.
The co-host of Channel 10's 6:00 pm news is now doing double as the host for WPRO's 6:00 am to 10:00 am morning show.
Previously, Valicenti lost his 11:00 pm slot on WJAR.
The former WLNE 6 TV reporter, served as co-host of morning drive with Tara Granahan, but the Valicenti hiring left no room for Gobiel.
No word yet on where Gobiel has landed.
One of the top Providence Journal reporters is leaving not only Fountain Street, but also journalism.
She was one of the guild members with the least longevity - more than 10 years.
She leaves for Boston-based Opportunity Nation - a not-for-profit.
The former ABC 6 Meteorologist left in the summer and launched his own digital weather platform.
Fred Campagna's new gig is titled, RightWeather.
Ron St. Pierre
The new guy at WHJJ - he takes over the morning show from the departed Helen Glover.
For decades, Ron St. Pierre has been a key player in the media industry in both local television and radio.
St. Pierre handled sports at WPRI TV, hosted morning drive at WPRO AM, and most recently, was Buddy Cianci's co-host in the afternoon.
(Photo: Alan Levine, Flickr)
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