Seeing the hand-wringing over the newly sensitized word “Christmas,” I feel compelled to offer an outsider’s perspective. I am one of the minorities whose feelings are supposed to be spared by euphemising the biggest American holiday of the year. Yes, I feel uncomfortable with the pervasive, largely commercial obsession with Christmas. Nonetheless, I sympathize with Christian friends who resent that their favorite holiday, or at least its name, is viewed by others as politically incorrect. Sure, “Happy Holidays” is a safer greeting. But a “holiday tree” is an unnecessary euphemism at best. The social linguists are wasting their energy on a minor bit of etiquette when there are are far more heinous wrongs to be righted. As a Jew, I don’t mind when well-meaning people wish me a “Merry Christmas.” But I mind a lot when colleges schedule registration on our High Holy Days or schools refuse makeup exams for students who observe minority holidays. I don’t mind much when public officials recognize the majority holiday with greeting cards and public statements. But I mind a lot when a Muslim schoolgirl is forbidden to wear her foulard (headscarf) or a Hindu is ridiculed for her bindi (forehead dot). I don’t mind when well-intentioned Christians equate their major holiday, Christmas, with my unrelated, minor holiday, Hannukah. But I mind a lot when hate mongers condemn my entire people because they disagree with the politics or even the existence of the State of Israel. I don’t mind when folks decorate their homes and erect Christmas trees and Nativity scenes. But I mind a lot when they actively celebrate majority religious holidays in our public schools, isolating and confusing minority children. Let’s not get upset by good sentiments that miss the mark or prosecute minor improprieties. Rather, let’s heed the higher teachings of our religions both by tolerating those who worship differently (or not at all) and by effectively accommodating their needs. Let’s strive for “peace on earth and good will toward men” – and women – of all races, colors and creeds. Rick Tavan Truckee The egalitarian vision of our FoundersFor those of us who are not Christian, who do not celebrate Christmas or celebrate it only as a social holiday, the notion that there is some kind of “war” on Christmas and Christianity is so patently ludicrous as to border on the delusional.Christmas and Christianity are absolutely ubiquitous in our society. One would have to retire permanently to a cave to get away from them.Eighty-seven percent of Americans categorize themselves as Christian. The marketing of Christmas-related items begins in June and doesn’t end until the after-Christmas sales in January. The Christian pop culture industry, involving the sale of music, books, movies, games, toys, theme parks and events, is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry – and growing. The vast majority of our leaders categorize themselves as Christian, and I think most people (even non-Christians) would agree that at this point in our history, the possibility of a non-Christian being elected president is remote. How often does one see a Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish or Hindu bumper sticker? That anyone could regard Christianity as a “threatened” institution is beyond me.Unfortunately, in many segments of our society, “diversity” is a dirty word. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. When I was a child in school, I was taught that the very foundation of American society was respect for all beliefs, all creeds, all religions. The United States of America may have been founded “under God,” but it was most definitely not founded “under Jesus.” If we are moving towards a greater recognition and sense of respect for beliefs other than Christianity, I can only regard this as fulfilling the egalitarian vision of our Founders.Lore’ McLaren TruckeeDogs on thin iceOn Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m., my father, mother and I were checking out the ice at the Glenshire Pond. It was about four-inches thick and super smooth to skate on. As we were ice-skating, we saw, across the pond where it is thinner, a lady breaking the ice near the shoreline. We thought that she was trying to break the ice for the geese, but we think she was actually trying to break the ice so that the two dogs that were “swimming” there could get out. There was an Animal Control guy there, but he had nothing to help the dogs – not a board, not an ax, not blankets. I thought that was weird. Well, eventually some neighbor guy brought a long board down to the water and my dad laid on it and helped drag out one of the dogs. The guy who brought the board actually got the dog all the way out. He then started to just wade into the water where it was deeper and the other dog was still in the water. The first dog got out, shook off, and started running around as if he were saying, “Yee-haw! I am out of the freezing butt-cold water!” When the other dog got out, my dad gave him his coat to dry off, and some other people who gathered there all worked together to try to revive the dog.After about fifteen minutes, they lifted him up and took him away. I wonder if he made it or not. Maybe you can tell me. My Christmas wish is that that poor frozen doggie doesn’t die of frostbite and hypothermia.Rebecca BerelsonFourth-grader Glenshire Elementary Dangerous, deadly and illegalI have to comments regarding your column (“On camera, but why?” Sierra Sun) on Dec. 14. According to the school district, parents transporting their children to and from Alder Creek Middle School are to use the Pioneer Trail route rather than turning left onto Alder Drive from State Route 89 north. And a good portion of them do comply with that request.I am appalled that you would advocate passing on the right at the above intersection, when it is dangerous, deadly, and more importantly, illegal.Carol PauliTruckee
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