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Holyoke’s Christmas tree scuffle political silliness, nothing more

Date: 12/11/2014

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

That’s supposedly a controversial comment these days. With the Holyoke City Council considering an ordinance dictating the city’s Christmas tree be called a “Christmas” tree – instead of a reported “holiday tree” – once again there is skirmish in the supposed war on Christmas.

Yes, political correctness rears its ugly head again and poses the question of the season: what do you say as a holiday greeting if you’re not sure of the person who are addressing doesn’t celebrate Christmas? What is the appropriate language to use at this time of year for traditions such as decorated tree?

For me, this is silly stuff. A Christmas tree is a Christmas tree and should be referred to as such. It’s not a holiday tree because the tradition of the Christmas tree is exclusive to one of the holidays that fall in December. On the other side of the issue, taking the time and effort to write and pass an ordinance is also unnecessary.

I use “Merry Christmas” for folks whom I know celebrate the holiday. I hedge and say “Happy Holidays” when I’m not sure. I don’t wish my end of the year good will toward men – and women – greeting to be offensive.
A response

There was quite a response to my column last week in which I commented on Facebook postings that were taking the shine off the holiday season for me.

I was told I didn’t write the column well and it was confusing.

So, let me try a second time in a CliffsNotes edition.

Why is it necessary, especially in light of the holiday season, to post nasty ignorant remarks about a peaceful labor action on Facebook?

The Chicopee police reported on its Facebook page that a labor action on Black Friday at the Wal-Mart in Chicopee was peaceful and uneventful.

That description didn’t prevent a large number of people from posting truly unnecessary remarks about those involved in the protest.

If you’re a Wal-Mart fan, that’s your right. If you’re critical of the labor movement, that your right. Express those opinions in a direct way. You don’t have to make smarmy hateful remarks about people who you don’t know and a situation of which you are ignorant.

If you call yourself a Christian, how can you justify that behavior?

There are reports that indicate that Wal-Mart, as the nation’s largest employer benefits from having a low pay scale for many of its employees, many of whom receive government benefits that are underwritten by taxpayers.

If you want to have a conversation about that subject, fine.

I also commented on how I see on Facebook a recurring reaction: when someone posts something about a white police officer accused of unnecessary violence towards a black citizen, there are people who find some example of a black person accused of a crime against a white person, preferably a police officer.

Somehow the posting about a white victim is used to explain the crime involving a black victim.

Naturally the “liberal” media is then deemed to blame for something.

I detest this strange tit for tat. Instead of talking about race and relationships between minority communities and the police, the reaction is something that comes out of an elementary school playground.

Rail travel

I missed out on spending the day traveling the Knowledge Corridor rail line through Connecticut and Massachusetts  with Congressman Richard Neal on Dec. 8, but I don’t have to be convinced of the importance of investing in a rail infrastructure.

When matched with a solid bus service linking rail terminals to communities – which we already have with Peter Pan and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority – the result is an economic development tool that can bring positive results.

While historically much of our commerce has been north to south along the Connecticut River, we need a rail link between the four western counties and Worcester where there is a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority hub.

I’m hoping the incoming Baker Administration will make an east-west connection a priority. 

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.