Brian Birdnow

Townhall readers of a historical bent will undoubtedly connect the title of this column with the impromptu Christmas truce of 1914 when British and German troops facing each other in the trenches of Belgium disregarded the warnings of their officers and spent the Yuletide fraternizing in a genuine, if guarded fashion. The fact that the regiments returned to war the next day in no way diminishes the glimpse of humanity amidst the horrors of World War I. The 1914 affair is not, however, the subject of this column. The Christmas truce this author is referring to is what may appear to be the diminution of the intensity of the war on Christmas. Observers have noticed a discernible lessening of the discord and bickering that have marked the Christmas season in years recently gone by, and are generally and they are generally heaving a sigh of relief in recognition of this fact. There is not as much talk about lawsuits over Christmas displays on civic property, and the Christmas displays are being billed as such. There are even instances of sacred Christmas carols playing on the soundtracks of suburban shopping malls. Most Americans, being eminently reasonable people, seem generally content with this state of affairs.

So, does this mean that FOX News and Bill O’Reilly are wrong? Should people who cherish the Christmas season and all it exemplifies now rest easily in the assumption that sanity has returned to this discussion? Before we declare a new era of peace on earth emerging during this holiday season it would be wise to withhold our judgment and await further developments.

In this particular instance the liberals may be playing the old game, defined by Lenin, as “Two steps forward, one step back.” Let us consider the recent past. Many on the political Left were shocked by the fierce reaction of conservatives, traditionalists, and the non-political, but sensible Americans to the gradual expunging of Christmas from the public domain. The liberals realized that they had overreached, and the intensity of Leftist outrage at the likes of O’Reilly, and Hannity for accusing them of waging “…a war on Christmas” proved very illustrative. In short, the liberals protested too much. They, and their allies in the mainstream media knew that they had been caught red-handed and were being called to account. Adopting a neo-Clintonian strategy, the Left denied, dismissed, and dissembled all the while hoping that this storm would blow over. They also plotted their counteroffensive.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.