Stop labeling me, progressives!

Please, those of you on the left: stop calling people with my political beliefs “radical.”  I’ve said “radical” where others would say “reactionary.”  The point is, I don’t want to sound like an extremist at either end of the spectrum, but increasingly I feel I’m being pushed in those directions.

I was particularly affronted by the declaration of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s intention to run for a second term.  This scion of liberal tolerance said, “And the people of Massachusetts didn’t send me to Washington to roll over and play dead while Donald Trump and his team of billionaires, bigots, and Wall Street bankers crush the working people of the Commonwealth and this country.”

Oh, you mean the Wall Street bankers that gave $64.3 million to Hillary?  Never mind.

One reason I feel outside the norm is that I can’t associate modern American democracy with its present low level of political discourse.

It happens in other areas of life, too.

I know that a certain amount of crankiness sets in in the final third of one’s life, but I am frustrated beyond belief with companies and institutions who should know better than to act as they do.

For example, why is it so hard to order a “black coffee”?  I don’t want an Americano for several reasons.  First, “black coffee” is a term that perfectly describes what I want.  Secondly, it’s in English.  Thirdly, an Americano is typically a buck-fifty more expensive than a black coffee, and finally, when you order an Americano, you are inevitably asked if you want milk with it.

Perhaps I should ask for café noir, as that satisfies both the accurate description and fancy foreign term requisites.

More seriously, last month I was compelled to write to schools and colleges I have been associated with to chastise them for their “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” cards and emails.

I did so because these were Christian foundations that take money to provide some form of “Christian” ethos or education.  The token inclusivity or “Season’s Greetings” of these institutions is condescending at best and cowardly at worst.

Who makes these decisions, and why?

Each of the institutions I wrote to has a long record of inclusivity and therefore has no reason to be reticent to wish its communities a “Merry Christmas.”  “Best wishes for Christmas and the holidays” would be appropriate, but apparently, that’s not acceptable, either.

Did the students and staff at those schools not realize they were Christian foundations when they applied?  Are they really going to be offended?  (If so, I know which party needs counseling.)

For forty years, I have worked closely with Jews, Muslims, and other faiths in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.  Those who take their faiths seriously (and I don’t mean radically, or fundamentally) respect those of other faiths who do so, too.

Sharing a religious greeting is not threatening.  It is not imperialism or indoctrination by greetings card or email.  It’s about sharing, or so I thought.

Such responses as I’ve had from the offending institutions have avoided answering the question “Why?” with a level of corporate blather seldom seen beyond the Fortune 500.

No doubt, I have been at least mentally flagged as a Bible-beating reactionary, whereas, in reality, I had protested against compulsory Tuesday chapel and two required religious education courses.  What I never questioned was the college’s authority to require them.

What makes Christian organizations shy away from Christmas?  Even the pilot on the flight I traveled to America on wished me a “Happy Christmas.”

So, those of you should know better, please do not try to push me into radicalism by mischaracterizing my wholly sensible expectation that you live up to the principles of your foundations.

I’m really a very reasonable person and might even buy you a black coffee unless, perhaps, you’re Senator Warren.

Please, those of you on the left: stop calling people with my political beliefs “radical.”  I’ve said “radical” where others would say “reactionary.”  The point is, I don’t want to sound like an extremist at either end of the spectrum, but increasingly I feel I’m being pushed in those directions.

I was particularly affronted by the declaration of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s intention to run for a second term.  This scion of liberal tolerance said, “And the people of Massachusetts didn’t send me to Washington to roll over and play dead while Donald Trump and his team of billionaires, bigots, and Wall Street bankers crush the working people of the Commonwealth and this country.”

Oh, you mean the Wall Street bankers that gave $64.3 million to Hillary?  Never mind.

One reason I feel outside the norm is that I can’t associate modern American democracy with its present low level of political discourse.

It happens in other areas of life, too.

I know that a certain amount of crankiness sets in in the final third of one’s life, but I am frustrated beyond belief with companies and institutions who should know better than to act as they do.

For example, why is it so hard to order a “black coffee”?  I don’t want an Americano for several reasons.  First, “black coffee” is a term that perfectly describes what I want.  Secondly, it’s in English.  Thirdly, an Americano is typically a buck-fifty more expensive than a black coffee, and finally, when you order an Americano, you are inevitably asked if you want milk with it.

Perhaps I should ask for café noir, as that satisfies both the accurate description and fancy foreign term requisites.

More seriously, last month I was compelled to write to schools and colleges I have been associated with to chastise them for their “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” cards and emails.

I did so because these were Christian foundations that take money to provide some form of “Christian” ethos or education.  The token inclusivity or “Season’s Greetings” of these institutions is condescending at best and cowardly at worst.

Who makes these decisions, and why?

Each of the institutions I wrote to has a long record of inclusivity and therefore has no reason to be reticent to wish its communities a “Merry Christmas.”  “Best wishes for Christmas and the holidays” would be appropriate, but apparently, that’s not acceptable, either.

Did the students and staff at those schools not realize they were Christian foundations when they applied?  Are they really going to be offended?  (If so, I know which party needs counseling.)

For forty years, I have worked closely with Jews, Muslims, and other faiths in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.  Those who take their faiths seriously (and I don’t mean radically, or fundamentally) respect those of other faiths who do so, too.

Sharing a religious greeting is not threatening.  It is not imperialism or indoctrination by greetings card or email.  It’s about sharing, or so I thought.

Such responses as I’ve had from the offending institutions have avoided answering the question “Why?” with a level of corporate blather seldom seen beyond the Fortune 500.

No doubt, I have been at least mentally flagged as a Bible-beating reactionary, whereas, in reality, I had protested against compulsory Tuesday chapel and two required religious education courses.  What I never questioned was the college’s authority to require them.

What makes Christian organizations shy away from Christmas?  Even the pilot on the flight I traveled to America on wished me a “Happy Christmas.”

So, those of you should know better, please do not try to push me into radicalism by mischaracterizing my wholly sensible expectation that you live up to the principles of your foundations.

I’m really a very reasonable person and might even buy you a black coffee unless, perhaps, you’re Senator Warren.

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