Talking Points

December 24, 2006

One Child Starts an Anti-Santa hat Controversy

Filed under: Talking Points memo — talkingpoints @ 9:19 pm

Political Correctness runs amok – again – this time pointing right to Santa – that the subject of today’s Talking Points memo. 

It was only last week that we learned of the sad situation at a Needham, Massachusetts, high school where one parent (one mother) who had three kids complained to the school principal that the fact that two of her kids didn’t make the honor roll was causing trouble in the household because the school published a list, and so the principal took it under advisement, thought about it for about a half minute, and canceled the whole notion of publishing the honor roll list. 

They didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.  Okay 

Now, a Long Island school bus driver by the name of Kenneth Mott; he has a white beard, he looks a lot like Santa Claus, and he was driving the bus with a Santa Claus hat on. Newsday reports: “Mott said that he was told that a parent of a child complained to the district about Mott’s Santa Claus hat, saying that the child doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and was bothered by the hat.”

So a guy with a beard wearing a hat who looks religious — although Santa Claus is not a religious figure per se — is minding his own business, driving the bus, upset a kid!  

So what else? Does this kid not get to go to the mall? If you see Santa Claus somewhere, does this upset the kid? What does the kid do at the sight of anything that reminds him of Christmas? “Company officials nevertheless told Mr. Mott to remove his Santa Claus hat,” and he refused. Kenneth Mott stated, “‘Nobody is going to tell me what I can do and can’t do.’ He doesn’t pretend to be Santa Claus while driving, nor does he play Christmas carols or decorate his bus. ‘This is America. I’m not hurting anybody,” said Mott.  

Things have sure changed when I was a kid. Teachers would dress in Christmas theme clothes.  I remember a history teacher in my grade school who wore a Santa hat – and no one was offended. It was in the spirit of the times, the spirit of the season. It was cute, and it was fun to see somebody get in the holiday spirit, and it used to be that way when we were kids. If you get on the bus and Santa Claus was driving the school bus, if the driver wearing a Santa Claus hat, nobody would run around, “Oh, my God, I’m offended! I’m bothered by that!” One person, one kid goes home and tells his parents about it.

This is political correctness run amuck, which it’s hard to pick one occasion or example to say that political correctness has run amuck. Jack Kemp, who was a contributor to says, “This farce, the type of thing one sees in the plot of a $7 Christmas movie you can buy off the rack at a drugstore chain, has mercifully ended for now. It seems there are two major schools of thought about unusual people with odd hats. One is that we should all learn about other cultures and be tolerant of them.” 

What if the guy had been wearing a turban? Let’s forget the Santa Claus hat. What if the bus driver had been wearing a turban, and what if a kid had complained? Do you think the kid would be sent to sensitivity lessons? Damn right, he would be! The kid wouldn’t be allowed to drive on the bus, and I guarantee you that turban would not have come off. Mr. Mott, if he chose to wear a turban, would be riding around wearing a turban today and the kid would be off somewhere getting his mind right, learning how not to be discriminatory and bigoted. But put a Santa Claus hat on, and Mr. Mott is approached by his bosses and told what-for, and he denied them.


So we’re either taught to be tolerant of other cultures and to learn all about them. The other school of thought today “is that we now in America have the Guaranteed Right not to be made uncomfortable by anything that doesn’t suit our fancy, be it a person with an unusual hat or a guy with only one leg or who is obese or doesn’t wear designer jeans — or is obese AND wears designer jeans.

 “These two opposing viewpoints are increasingly headed for confrontations. And the winners will be those who come to the conclusion that we are all entitled to our reasonable public displays of our culture that don’t interfere with public safety,” but I think it goes deeper than that. It goes back to The Offended. It is almost a registered group now: The Offended. If there are people out there who are personally bothered, they think they have a right not to be. They have a right not to be offended; they have a right not to be bothered, and they are given power because they are a minority. In some cases, such a small minority, they are one person. So if one person is bothered, one person is offended, then all hell breaks loose, and the majority, obsessed with guilt over being the majority, says, “Okay, okay! Well, we don’t want to hurt your feelings, and we don’t want you uncomfortable and we don’t want you offended.”

Then go to Mr. Mott, or the principal cancels the publishing of the honor roll or what have you, and the process repeats. It was very vivid in the days after the 9/11 attacks in New York City at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. An august bureaucracy, no less than the state department convened a series of forums on the subject: “Why Do They Hate Us?” meaning the terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Why do they hate us? And, of course, why you going to ask that question? You’re only going to ask it if you want an answer, and why do you want the answer? Well, you want the answer because you think the answer might help you to convince them to stop hating us. Which, in a war, is a serious dereliction of responsibility, an absolute distraction. It doesn’t matter why we’re hated. There’s nothing that justifies blowing up two of our buildings. There’s nothing that justifies blowing up the Pentagon and trying to blow up another building in Washington — we don’t know if it’s the White House or Capitol. Nothing.

There are enough people in this country who say, “We are guilty! We have brought pestilence and syphilis, racism, sexism and bigotry, the white people did, when they conquered this land that was once dominated by the great Indians who are at one with nature. Of course everything was pristine back then, but we came along, we destroyed it; kicked them off their land.

Now we rob and steal the other people of the world all their oil, all their gold, all of their diamonds — which are now called ‘conflict diamonds’ — and we put these baubles around our necks and on our fingers and we put their oil in gasoline in our cars and we air-condition our homes while the rest of the world suffers, and so we deserve this kind thing.” This has been building for a long time. I call it “the tyranny of the minority,” and it’s getting bad now when one person, particularly a child, can be made to feel offended or uncomfortable (gasp!) and the guilt of the majority is the only thing — even if it’s adults versus children, it’s the guilt of the majority that is the only thing — that permits the minority to get away with this kind of intimidation.

 And that’s the memo.

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