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December 08, 2007 - Merry Christmas!

My mother didn’t have a great deal of higher formal education, but she did have an ingredient that I consider very important, “common sense”. One of the words I heard often when I was growing up was the word “respect”. My mother kept saying, “Respect your neighbor; respect your neighbor’s belongings; respect your neighbor’s religion and beliefs. You don’t have to agree, but you must respect the fact that there are people with ideas different than our ideas”.

I have not forgotten. That is why I am wondering today, what has happened to respect? So many stories that we see on the front page show that respect, maybe like common sense, seems to be disappearing, particularly during the holiday season, a time when we should respect other ideas and other cultures and other religions.

Instead, we keep getting caught up in being ‘politically correct’; making sure there is no merging of state or religion; trying to be correct in what terms we use in our greetings and our Christmas cards. It gets to the point of being ridiculous; it gets to the point of going into the courtroom once again to show lack of respect for somebody else’s religion, ideas or beliefs by filing yet another lawsuit.

One of the strangest stories I’ve heard this holiday season is a major, big-box retailer, who at the corporate level had to decide if they should call it a ‘holiday tree’ or a ‘Christmas tree’? Well, those of us who worship Christ call it a Christmas tree. If you want to call it a Hanukkah bush; if you want to call it a Kwanza tree, if you want to call it whatever term fits your culture or religion, by all means, do it.

Why can’t we get along, instead of going into the courtroom to decide whether or not my ideas are more important than yours? It is a time for giving, a time for giving respect to other people and their ideas and not getting caught up in all these silly legal games that seem to come forth under the term ‘ politically correct’.

That is why in my case, I will gratefully welcome any greeting you offer during this season and in return, I will say to you, “Merry Christmas” as I enjoy my Christmas tree and Christmas cards.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.