Scott Walker Fires First in “War on Christmas”

Sure, the first time Scott Walker poked his finger in the eyes of his constituents it was to banish collective bargaining among government workers in the state.  Everyone knows the furor this caused, and as Mary C. DeBattista of Wauwatosa notes, the furor is chiefly because it was based in dishonesty.  He did not mention his plans at all during his campaign.  Public employee collective bargaining in Wisconsin was a tradition here for a couple generations, and Scott Walker took tradition and threw it in the trash, and it is therefore unsurprising that protests and recalls were the result.

Well, Scott Walker’s doing it again, though this time there may not be such furor.  Still, the evergreen in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison has been called a “Holiday Tree” for 25 years.  Scott Walker has decided to rename it a “Christmas Tree” by fiat this year.  There can be no interpretation of Walker’s act other than that it is an act of poking the people of Wisconsin in the eye once more.  From the Racine Journal Times

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has opposed the term Christmas tree, saying it offends nonreligious people and amounts to a government endorsement of Christianity.

The president of that group, Annie Laurie Gaylor, called Walker’s decision rude and insensitive to non-Christians.

“The reason that it was turned into a holiday tree was to avoid this connotation that the governor chooses one religion over another,” she said. “It’s essentially a discourtesy by the governor to announce that. He intends that to be a slight and a snub to non-Christians, otherwise he would not do it.”

It should be noted that the Walker camp is downplaying the action, despite that they know it is purposely antagonizing to many Wisconsinites.  Here’s their response: 

Walker, in a press release, downplayed any potential controversy by simply referring to the decoration as a Christmas tree and not noting any change. His spokesman Cullen Werwie confirmed that the designation and change from past practices was intentional.

“It’s a Christmas tree,” Werwie said. “In all honesty, I don’t know what more to say about it.”

How cute of Cullen Werwie to pretend this is not an act of antagonism.  To be honest, this isn’t a crucial issue, but it is another sign that Walker doesn’t care at all about the wishes of the people of Wisconsin, nor, evidently and especially, about people of faiths different from his own Christianity.  Perhaps his calculus is that the War on Christmas is a good issue for him to run on as he faces a prospective recall election.  So this is unsurprising, as it is yet one more instance of Scott Walker pitting Wisconsinite against Wisconsinite. 

It’s about character.  Scott Walker’s character is evidently all about creating divisions among the people of his own state.  He did so quite effectively with the collective bargaining issue, angering tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens as he and the Fitzgerald boys villified state workers and teachers along the way.  This action will probably not creaate a whole lot more anger, but it sure shows Walker’s character as a bully. 




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18 thoughts on “Scott Walker Fires First in “War on Christmas”

  1. Not sure what the big deal is. Dec 25 is the celebration of the birth of jesus christ it is the reason for black Friday and the reason we have the Christmas tree there really is nothing to discuss

  2. Did you read the article, Dante? It is pretty clear. You might not agree with the article, but the explanation is pretty clear why some feel it’s a big deal. Do you just not respect others? Perhaps you don’t want to know what the big deal is?

    Seriously, if you don’t understand, it is more likely that you don’t care about others and how they feel rather than there is no “big deal.” That’s exactly what I was accusing Walker of, not caring about the sensibilities of others.

    1. Actually, that’s Saturnalia, the Roman celebration of the god Saturn. It coincides with the winter solstice. Nobody knows when Jesus was born (or if he ever even existed). Early Christians aligned their little holidays to match the existing Roman ones so they could coordinate their days off. 🙂

      1. The Cult of Mithras celebrated on the 25th, and the Roman Legions were highly invested in the cult at the time the Church was recruiting in the 300 ACE time frame. In short, Dec. 25 was all about marketing anyway, which makes Walker’s use of it appropriate from some twisted angle. . .

        1. Not necessarily… “The festival of natalis Invicti [Birth of the Unconquerable (Sun)], held on 25 December, was a general festival of the Sun, and by no means specific to the Mysteries of Mithras.”

    2. Well, that raises the question about which Christmas is being celebrated – the consumerized Christmas of Santa Claus or the religious Christmas celebrating the birth of Christ. The two are not the same.

  3. Given that this tree is up from late November until early January, it is far more appropriate to call it a holiday tree, since it is in place over many holidays, including Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, and maybe even Thanksgiving, depending on when it’s put up.

  4. I think that Walker understands that Wisconsin is in the Bible Belt, and more Wisconsinites will feel like Dante. Walker couldn’t care less about offending Non-Christians. He’s not a sensitive fellow. He may well think that fighting the “War on Christmas” will win him some points among conservatives, though this seems unncecessary.

    The whole idea of choosing this battle for Christmas is nonsense. Walker seems to enjoy dividing people and picking fights. Still, some voters may have more negative feeling for the freedom from religion crowd than they do for Walker and any insult he may give to non-christians. It may be a small plus for him, which says something about the electorate.

  5. Solidariy sing a long will be doing a daily set of recall Walker holiday songs around the holiday tree.

    Hmmmm. since we will be celebrating the possibility of getting rid of this divide and conquer rudesby, should be now call it the Recall Walker tree?

  6. Exactly, Linda. Walker wants to firm up his support among the extremist Christians, but risks his support among regular citizens, as well as among Jews. I am not Jewish, but my wife is, as is my son. We are not fanatical about public displays of religion, but the whiney innocence these folks try to project is galling. No, it is a lie and they know they offend Jews and Muslims and those who do not ascribe to a religion. They do it anyway, because to them offending others is what they do. Yes, offending others is what they do.

  7. I couldn’t give a crap less whether a traditional December symbol is put up in the Capitol. But the cynicism and clear shout-out to the fundie crowd by Walker is completely disgusting, and why we’re going to remove this pathetic poser next Spring.

    Besides, isn’t Good Friday the favorite holiday of suburban Milwaukee Republicans like Scott Walker? They whine and complain about every little bump in the road (like goofballs making halfhearted deaths threats on Facebook) as an example of their crucifixion, while staying deafeningly silent about the equally disgusting acts of their own groups who use violent imagery.

    Christ would cast someone like Scott Walker out of the Capitol within 2 seconds of meeting the weasal.

  8. Jake you don’t speak for jesus christ you do not know what He would do. As for the rest of this thread people can say what ever they want but the celebration is Christmas

    1. Dante, you’re just not getting the point. This is about Walker wanting to poke folks in the eye, about his desperate need to be divisive. Believe it or not, we all know Christmas is in December, even though most historians think Jesus was born in the Spring. We just think the tradition of the last 25 years, to call the tree a Holiday tree in order to be inclusive to all Wisconsin citizens, was a decent thing to do, and to change it now is purposely divisive and pandering to an ugly segment of his base.

  9. dante- My celebration is also Christmas, and I will speak for what Jesus would do, based on His own words and actions. What makes self-centered fools like you and Scooter be any sort of higher authority on what He would do?

    There are adult ways to properly respect the Holiday season. Intentionally being a jag with a bratty Fox News crucifixion move like insisting on it being a “Christmas tree” is not one of those adult ways. The fact that you seem incapable of understanding that this is a pathetic dog-whistle move that this is explains why you’re one of the remaining handful stupid enough to still support Scott Walker.

    1. Jesus would not have celebrated Christmas. But he welcomed all, so therefore would likely welcome all traditions. He would not, I think, have wanted JEws excluded, given that he was one. . .

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