War on Christmas

Ho Ho HOLD On, Liberals Are Not Starting A War On Christmas, You Are Just Misinformed

Hold on to your reindeer, controversial topics ahead.

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Here we go.

During the season of joy and cheer conservatives and liberals have found a way to start arguing like a couple of immature siblings. While attempting to stay objective (as much as a human with opinions possibly can), I am here to set the record straight for the Democrats who are under attack due to several misunderstandings associated with Christmas.

Point of Contention #1: Santa Should Be Female/Gender-Neutral 

https://pixabay.com/en/box-christmas-claus-cute-female-15737/

A survey was recently conducted by GraphicSprings that asked U.S and U.K citizens about opinions they had on various aspects of Santa and how he should be portrayed. Some of the questions included whether or not our cookie-loving gift-giver should go on a diet, ditch his reindeer for a flying car, and yes, whether or not Santa should be male or female.

4,000 people in total were surveyed, and 19% of the Americans surveyed believed he should be gender-neutral, and roughly 10% believed that Santa should be portrayed as a woman.

As one can easily see in the original chart, that comes out to 96 U.S citizens believing Santa should be gender neutral, and only 54 who believe he should be a woman. 364 American citizens believed he should remain male.

Let us not be the country to generalize an entire population of people based upon 150 people's opinions, especially when we live in a nation of over 300 million people.

On a side note, Santa Claus is based upon a real man named Saint Nicholas who you can learn more about here.

Point of Contention #2: ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Is a Rape Culture Song 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFJ7ie_yGU

The 1940's Christmas hit written by Frank Loesser for him and his wife to perform at dinner parties has become quite the topic of heated debates. Many people accuse liberals and the #MeToo movement for being too sensitive about the song and its meaning. While Loesser obviously did not write the song with the intention of it being about raping his wife (those would be pretty awkward dinner parties), it was written in the 1940's. You know, the same 40's where women were expected to be silent, barefoot, and pregnant?

While the song was not written to be about date rape, it shows how normalized it has become to not take no for an answer from a woman, the same actions women are fighting so hard to end today.

"What's in this drink?" We can't pretend that women don't live in a society where they have to have a constant eye on their drink and if it leaves their sight for just a second they have to toss out the whole thing out of fear. Date rape drugs are a real and serious issue.

"What's the sense in hurting my pride?" We shouldn't be teaching our children that women owe men anything. A woman can leave if she wants to and she shouldn't be blamed for 'hurting the man's pride.' No woman has to do anything she doesn't want to just to keep a man happy.

"I ought to say no, no, no sir (Mind if move in closer?)" Ladies, if you tell a man "no" the last response you want to hear is that he's going to come closer. No means no!

While we all know that the song was not originally written to be about rape, it wouldn't be smart to continue to play this song as a traditional Christmas tune for the future generations.

This is not about being overly emotional. It's about putting an end to the normalization of men not taking women seriously. An issue all women unfortunately know too well.

Point of Contention #3: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Has A Terrible Message 

media.giphy.com

The 1964 film that graces our televisions every holiday season has been found to be the culprit of quite a few offensive messages. This should not come as a surprise though, since it was in fact, released in the 60's. We are not the same society anymore and knowing the historical context for media artifacts such as this is pretty important.

Personally, I love Rudolph. However, I can't deny that there are issues with the film, many of which I already realized at a young age. Come on. Santa, the man we're told is always jolly and loving, was mean to the poor reindeer until he could be of use to him. And smaller pieces of the film stood out too, such as when Donner tells his wife that she can't join the search party for her son because "This is man's work," Donner, who does not take pride in his son, trying to force Rudolph to be normal, and the reindeer coach endorsing bullying.

The classic tale can still be enjoyed, but being aware of its problematic features is critical to ensuring actions such as the ones depicted, are not normalized in our culture again. We have come a long way as a society just to be told that there was nothing wrong with past time periods.

Point of Contention #4: Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

media.giphy.com

As a Christian who celebrates all of Christmas's religious and cultural aspects, I grew up surrounded by many people and friends who did not celebrate the holiday. Take it from someone who learned the hard way (accidentally giving a Jewish teacher a Christmas card), people just want to be respected.

During a holiday season that is all about spreading joy and love, why are we so quick to feel offended when we are told we should acknowledge everyone's religion rather than just preaching our own?

Making it a habit to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is not downplaying your own beliefs, but just simply acknowledging that we share the holiday season with people who are of other beliefs. Christmas dominates our media, consumerism, and basically anywhere your line of sight falls between mid-October through December. The least we can do is make people of other religions feel seen and respected.

Point blank, let's all try to show a little love this holiday season and start the new year on the right foot rather than pointing fingers and throwing blame at people with different opinions.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pete Buttigieg Is On Everybody's Radar Now, But Can Mayor Pete Really Become President Pete?

Charisma, polyglot and success in reviving a Midwestern city make him a viable candidate for president. But will this hold?

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At the time of writing this, at least 18 people are vying for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Donald Trump during the Presidential election in 2020. This includes some heavyweights, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. There are also fringe candidates, like Andrew Yang. Then there are the formerly fringe candidates. One person fits that bill: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg has erupted as a potential candidate for the Presidency. He recently took 9% of a recent poll in Iowa, the state that begins the general election season. The question is this: why has he gained so much traction? There are several potential reasons.

First, Mayor Pete has, at least compared to Trump, significant governmental experience as the mayor of South Bend. He has been mayor since 2011. He began his time in office at the age of 29 and has since been re-elected with 80% of the vote in 2015. His success in the city has shown: the city experienced significant growth following a population decline between 2000-2010.

The Mayor has also spearheaded some rebirth projects in the city, including converting the old Studebaker plant in town into a tech hub, conversion of the city streets downtown, and millions of dollars of private investment into the city. As a result, Mayor Pete can tout his success here as examples of why he could be president.

Other supporters claim that he is immensely talented and intelligent (though I do not like this reasoning). Mayor Pete was a Rhodes Scholar after attending Harvard. He knows myriad languages, including Norwegian. He is well-acquainted with various philosophies, including that of well-known intellectual Antonio Gramsci, whom his father has written on.

Though this line of thinking is flawed (I mean, Julian Castro attended Stanford, Cory Booker was also a Rhodes Scholar and Elizabeth Warren lectured at Harvard Law School), it is easy to see WHY he resonates: when compared to the President, Pete is levels above him.

Finally, a lot of what he says resonates with people. He speaks about his faith with fervor and honesty, something I appreciate greatly. He talks about the virtues of progressive politics and supporting policies like universal healthcare, labor unionism, combating climate change among other policies. His youth ideals combined are valued by many.

However, Pete still has his critics. Concerns about the gentrification of the city, wiretapping, and targeting of vacant properties that led to accusations of targeting of minorities in the city are what concerns many people. There were also previous issues with the police chief in the town, who recorded conversations, and who he demoted, which raised concerns for racial bias.

Whether or not this affects the primary at all is anyone's guess. However, he has momentum. Maybe Mayor Pete will become President Pete someday.

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