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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

I’m tired. I’m tired of being told I should say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” (In Merry old England they usually say “Happy Christmas.”) I’m tired of being told we put up “holiday decorations.”  I’m tired of being told we can’t say and do things that may offend a small minority of folks.

So guess what? I will be wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, no matter how they do or don’t believe. It is my belief and what I say. I can’t think of a single person I know who is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu who would take offense to that. Even my atheist friends don’t mind.

I’m doing this because I’m really tired of the “tyranny of the minority.”  Reallyu tired of it. It started for me at Castaic Union Elementary School about 1955.

Remember those little cartons of ice cream and the wooden spoons we would get with them? We were told we had to be very quiet and very good and we would get some if nobody made a sound. If the teacher heard a sound from just one person, we wouldn’t get our ice cream.

Well, one little boy got the giggles … just one little boy. He couldn’t get over them. The rest of us stayed very quiet. And the rest of us didn’t get our ice cream. The kid with the giggles became our tyrant. Twenty-nine quiet kids and one giggler.

That continued in like fashion until one fateful June day in 1968 when I was handed a diploma from William S. Hart High School.

In PE class it was the one kid who did something wrong so we all had to run a couple of extra laps around the track. I hate that track.

Nobody did anything bad in band … Mr. Downs would have killed all of us, we thought. We were sure it was the same way with Mr. Sims and Mr. Alexander.  One kids acts up and everyone gets the punishment.

Tyranny of the minority. It is actually a good method of training for the military. For instance: We were told to take a break and smoke and joke. So even the non-smokers picked up a smoke. They might not actually smoke it, but they didn’t want to cause the whole company not to get a break.

I wonder how many times in boot camp and other schools in the Navy I had to do something over and over until all of us got it right. It made us bring the dummy or uncoordinated up to our standards so we could get on with the real task. The majority helping the minority worked there. Now the standards are lowered so even the dumbest can pass.

And then they got “stress cards.” When the company commander – in Navy boot that could be a Chief or First Class Petty Officer – was a little harsh on a new recruit, said recruit could hold up a “stress card” and stop the usually verbal object lesson. It also meant the rest of the company got additional verbal object lessons. So once again, we helped the minority come to grips with his deficiencies.

Please note that the United States Marines don’t have and never will have stress cards. If you tried to use one in Marine boot camp, the drill instructor might rip off your head and shove said card down your now open windpipe.

In the Marine Corps the majority rules. That majority is your drill instructor. A majority of one.

Out here in civilian society, things are turned around. Heaven forbid we offend anyone. Ever.

I’m not taking that any more. I will say what I want and how I want to say it, and at the same time be polite. I will not repress what I believe because some unknown tyrant might be offended.

Saying “Merry Christmas” is the reason for the season. It isn’t some reason to buy a bunch of material goods. It is a genuine greeting, wishing someone the mirth and merriment of a birth of a child I happen to think and indeed know is the center of my faith.

You’re free to agree or disagree. Your choice. But when you’re making your choice, please don’t attempt to take away mine. That little thing called the Bill of Rights allows me – and indeed a collective “we” – to express ourselves, even if it does offend a minority of folks.

The complaints about Christmas decorations going up too early or “religious” events taking place on public property are inappropriate to the majority. You see, Christmas isn’t just a single day or a single season of the year. It is a feeling of joy and happiness that should last all year. Most of us want to celebrate such joy all year long. And many of us do so.

So stop with the Mr. Scrooge routine and break out in song. Sing Christmas carols or maybe of spinning a top or two. Celebrate your special day any time you want. Don’t let that loud and obnoxious minority that would like to be your tyrant, tell you what to believe.

For me, I will yell at the top of my lungs anytime, “Merry Christmas Everyone!” It is my fight against the tyranny of the minority.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

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