A Parting Word on Christmas, the Secretary of State, and the Media
A Parting Word on Christmas, the Secretary of State, and the Media
Written By   |   01.09.09
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Just when I thought the insults were over regarding Christmas, Dane Placko of Fox 32 Chicago decided to make a trip to Springfield probably to cover all the turmoil surrounding Governor Rod Blagojevich‘s legal travails.  In a short piece aired on Fox last week, Placko in his “Sunday Sound Off” told viewers how something caught his eye as he was walking through the remaining Christmas displays in the Capitol Building Rotunda.  Low and behold, Placko was attracted to an object which is a celebration of nothing.

I’m talking about a “pole” that was put up by an 18 year-old Springfield man who lacked sensitivity, originality, and, most likely, supervision.  As reported in a Chicago Tribune story, the 18 year-old student who claims to be a member of the ACLU said he was bored and decided to put up a symbol to commemorate an episode of a long-canceled series, Seinfeld, which introduced the idea of a fictional holiday meant to take the place of Christmas and Hanukkah for those who simply needed something different.  In actuality, the character in the Seinfeld series was a spendthrift who felt the giving of presents was something he did not want to participate in.  Wait a minute. This is madness.  I’m talking about something that should have faded from the memory of most Americans who saw the show– and I’m not buying the fact that this 18 year-old (who was 9 or younger when the Seinfeld episode ran) has been celebrating this mythical “holiday” ever since.

The Springfield man wanted to use his “Festivus pole” to poke in the eyes of Christians and Jews who observe Christmas and Hanukkah.

You see, a Nativity scene, accompanied by a Menorah, a sign from some disgruntled out-of-state atheists, and the Secretary of State’s politically correct “holiday” tree had stood in the state Capitol up until a week before Placko’s visit.  However, Placko boldly proclaimed more people were having their pictures taken in front of the “Festivus pole” than any other of the remaining religious displays.  Now, either Placko didn’t know that a Nativity scene was visited by thousands during the Christmas season or he didn’t want to know.  Ignorance has never stopped the media before.  So why should it now?  But the Fox reporter could have turned around and asked one of the many Capitol Rotunda tour guides if the “Festivus pole” was indeed the most popular exhibit to stand in the Rotunda over the Christmas season.

Yes, I know this is ridiculous, but the Placko story is a microcosm illustrating the devolution of our culture.  Fox 32 Chicago ignored a very historic and positive religious image, but went out of their way to air a story on the mockery of such images.

There was also a message from the Sec. of State explaining to citizens why we must put up with this type of garbage.  Jesse White also had to allow a disparaging sign from a Madison, Wisconsin group to stand alongside the religious icons.  Placko got a laugh out of the “Festivus” display, which was simply a pole from a pool skimmer that was stuck inside a Christmas tree stand.  As stated in the Chicago Tribune story, the Sec. of State employee who took the 18 year-old’s application also thought the “Festivus pole” was extremely humorous and deserved a place within the Capitol Rotunda.

I suppose Placko’s reaction was par for the course because very few media sources from the Chicago area covered the Nativity scene which made history when it stood in the state Capitol from Dec. 2nd through Dec. 28th.  But WFLD-TV Chicago thought the mockery of serious holiday symbols was newsworthy, as did the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, both of which failed to report on the Nativity scene unveiling, while highlighting the ill-placed pool skimmer.

I have some questions for Jesse White, Illinois’ Sec. of State, who has been very busy these days.  Can Illinois residents dump any garbage in the state Rotunda building, as long as they apply for a permit?  And especially if it’s around Christmas time…when the garbage would be sure to offend others?  Here’s an idea for Mr. White and his political brethren.  Perhaps I should apply for a permit that would highlight the need for a total cleaning of state government.  How about a mop and a bucket with a sign saying “Illinois deserves better”?   I wonder if the employee at Mr. White’s office would think that was so humorous.

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