What does Christmas look like in a war zone? Not in Iraq, but in North America -- where a cultural war is being waged between the right and the left over issues ranging from grade-school curricula to the definition of marriage.
I want to be a conscientious objector and allow people to make their own choices about their own lives, even if I disagree. But too often those choices get translated into laws or policies that govern my life and my family. This makes political pacifism impossible.
Christmas should be a demilitarized zone: a cultural cease-fire for people to give thanks for the great good fortune of being born into the freedom and prosperity of North America. But a DMZ is unlikely...at least judging from the ongoing and politically correct attempt to ban even secular expressions of Christmas from the public schools. The Anti-Defamation League calls Christmas "December's Dilemma." The ADL goes far beyond the reasonable separation of church and state by trying to prohibit even the singing of "Jingle Bells" by school children.
Christmas has become a political battle from which you should shield your family. How? Laws take time to change; arguing consumes time. But a powerful weapon can be wielded easily and immediately. It is something that everyone wants from you: your consumer dollar.
The power of the consumer was recently revealed when CBS made the business decision to yank "The Reagans" from its network line-up. So many people vowed to boycott sponsors of the biased docudrama that airing it on primetime TV became financially imprudent.
The left screamed "CENSORSHIP!" but the opposite was true. Censorship is the suppression of words or images through force, usually by law. The threatened "boycott" was nothing more than consumers exercising the freedom of speech to say "no" to a product and to the people peddling it. It was discretionary spending in the free market of ideas.
This Christmas -- and in the year to come -- flex your discretion. Remove your dollars from companies that promote vicious ideas and refuse to support those who sponsor them, e.g. through distribution.
Let me illustrate what I mean by "vicious ideas" through one example: the gender feminist attack on men that causes us to take for granted or even smile at the widespread defamation of males.
Bon-Macy's, a prominent department store in Washington state, has just ceased to sell a T-shirt reading, "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them," which features the image of a small boy running away as several rocks hurl toward his head. The reason: customers complained about Bon-Macy's sanctioning child abuse.
The company's spokeswoman Kristi Oishi reportedly said: "We believe that the voice of our customers is very important...while these products have been in high demand from many Bon-Macy's customers since they were introduced this fall, we listened to what our customers have recently shared with us and decided to pull the merchandise from the floor."
The recent "sharing" was the direct result of a protest campaign launched by radio talk host Glenn Sacks who -- as the father of an 11-year-old boy -- said the T-shirt made his blood boil. It also made other little boys feel "unsafe."
The shirt in question comes from the clothing manufacturer David & Goliath. D&G's attitude toward boys -- to judge from their website and the messages on various T-shirts -- seems to wink at or even advocate child abuse. That is, as long as the child is male.
The entrance to the D&G site displays a short animation that opens with a small boy in a "Stupid Factory" -- that's where boys are produced. When the factory crumbles around him, he is revealed to be on a toilet, bare-bottomed. A little girl pelts him on the skull with a large rock and he tumbles, landing with his head planted fully in the earth, his wriggling buttocks exposed. A display at the bottom of the page points people toward sources for T-shirts, including a store at the presumably child-friendly Universal Studios.
Clicking through to the imprinted shirts in D&G's "boys are stupid/smelly" line reveals the following messages, complete with images of frightened or injured small boys:
--Boys are Stupid -- Throw Rocks at Them
--Boys Lie -- Poke Them in the Eye
--Boys are Goobers -- Drop Anvils on their Heads
--Boys Lie -- Make Them Cry
--Boys are Smelly -- Throw Garbage Cans at Them
--Boys are Full of It -- Fling Poop at Them.
To those who object, D&G offers the response: their critics have no sense of humor. Besides which, a "spokesman for David and Goliath says the company has sold millions of shirts with this message [Throw Rocks at Boys]. It's their best seller."
Hate mongering is a lucrative business and the best remedy is to yank away the financial incentive. Boycott both the manufacturers and the distributors of any product that endorses the hatred or abuse of children, male or female. Tell vendors how you feel; ask "sponsors" like Universal Studios if they guarantee their safety of your son while on their premises.
Oh...and, when you do so, show a sense of humor. Laugh in the face of anyone who says you shouldn't be concerned.
Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists.com and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. She is the author and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, "Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century" (Ivan R. Dee/Independent Institute, 2002). She lives with her husband in Canada.