Among the few holiday traditions that I don’t look forward to every year, aside from Black Friday, is the imaginary War on Christmas that Fox News uses to gin up its followers and turn them into the kind of people that you don’t want to wish a happy or merry anything. Even though this so-called war has been happening for almost three decades now and never results in any actual legislation, much less casualties, right-wingers are convinced that the abolishment of Christmas is right around the corner, just as soon as Democrats will somehow criminalize saying “Merry Christmas!” Nor, in all this time, does it seem to occur to consumers of right wing media that there are people out there who don’t actually celebrate Christmas – or that the week of December 25 coincides with a number of other holidays.
Having decided that this whole imaginary war isn’t preposterous enough and in desperate need of a win, Donald Trump decided to take things a step, or stumble further. Among the demented things coming out of his mouth on Tuesday night was his claim that he would fight an effort to rename Thanksgiving. The only problem – there’s no such effort happening – even conservative Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade was confused as to what he was ranting about.
In fact, the only thing that even comes close to his claim happened nearly 80 years ago, when President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of the month to the fourth Thursday to encourage revenue from holiday shopping – and it was the Republicans who insisted on still celebrating Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November despite the change.
In the past, Donald Trump has presented himself as the president who finally won the War on Christmas – making it finally okay to mention the holiday again, even though no one ever really stopped saying it. With the holiday season upon us, he’s hoping for a similar win with his base – creating a crisis only to solve it, except he’s terrible at even doing that.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making