Christmas, USPS Mahalo And Bus Ads

Is there a war on Christmas? | Image from Bob Jones

Is there a war on Christmas? | Image from Bob Jones

Merry Christmas. (I’m not a “Happy Holidays” kind of guy.)

Most American colonists had no holiday greeting at all. Puritans, Calvinists and Quakers considered Christmas to be so similar to the Catholicism they escaped, they didn’t celebrate it!

The greeting “Happy Christmas” started in the mid-1820s because of Clement Moore’s poem (later called ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas) that ended in its original version with St. Nick saying “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” “Happy” became “Merry” in the poem many years later.

Then came “Happy Holidays” in the mid-20th century when we became sensitive to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.

Now, some have done books claiming there’s a war on Christmas. “Why are they so thin-skinned that they would take offense to such an innocent and traditional display?”, Sarah Palin’s book asks about challenges to city-property nativity scenes.

On that much I agree. It’s fun and tradition, not government endorsement of one religion. But Palin’s overboard when she says, “If (religious displays) were ever taken away, then we will go the way of other societies, nations that end up in ruins.” Hardly!

It’s not atheism and other faiths that are damaging Christmas. It’s selling Christmas trees and ornaments a month before Thanksgiving. Stores staying open 24 hours on Christmas (family) day.

No, there’s no one trying to kill Christmas. It’s more of a lemming-like suicide movement.

On this holiday, thank you, United States Postal Service! Thanks for hauling all those letters and packages, and MidWeek, of course.

But can the USPS and its carriers survive email, online bill paying, and those long-term medical and retirement benefits for what’s now basically a private enterprise in competition with UPS and FedEx?

I’ve had two great carriers in my time in ZIP 96816: Tommy Tahara and Irene Yoshida. Tommy’s retired, but his pension and health insurance might be in jeopardy. Irene’s employed, but I wouldn’t guarantee how long if Congress doesn’t OK an end to Saturday deliveries and retirement-package changes. Remember: All other federal agencies are funded by our tax money. The USPS has to make it on the postage we buy.

Realistically, the USPS has to dump that government retiree guarantee for pensions and health care for new hires and go to a 401(k) and Medicare at 65. And close down those every-little-village post offices such as in Makaweli, Kekaha and Hanamaulu on Kauai.

Fully privatize it? That horrifies many. However, remember the Pony Express? Totally private, an invention of the Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak Express Company of 1859. Worked fine until the telegraph was invented in 1861.

But it could not have handled delivery of about 268,000 MidWeeks every week.

Please, no ads on the exteriors of our city buses. There are some things you just don’t do to a beautiful city!