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 by Jon Burras
Eliminate All Holidays and Remove All Statues
       In the last several years political correctness has expanded into the nature of tribal symbols, team mascot names, public statues and regional flags. Many groups have begun to protest against a name, holiday or symbol, feeling disrespected and shamed. It seems that many symbols bring up old wounds for some while being a sense of pride for others. How do you reconcile the fact that you cannot appease everyone and someone is going to feel offended by another's symbol?
       One could say that this recent round of protesting against a symbol began with some members of the media mentioning the fact that the team nickname for the Washington D.C. professional football team might be a disparaging name. That name, the "Redskins," while signifying a sense of pride to many long-time fans of the team, was recognized as an unkind term to define a Native American. When surveyed, most Native Americans did not feel any animosity in the name but the media attention played on through public discourse and legal challenges. In spite of it all, the team owner has won every challenge and the name remains. Political correctness has lost this round.
        Next came the controversy over the Confederate flag. Many people living in the South still reserve honor and reverence for the Confederate flag. They feel a sense of pride and history at this historic symbol. The flag is part of their lives while included at such popular events as automobile racing. These are mostly white people.
       On the other hand, many African Americans view the Confederate flag as a symbol of hatred and racism. These individuals attach a viewpoint of condemnation and white supremacy to the flag. In many state capitals and other public locations the Confederate flag has been removed so that some will not be offended. So which one is it—a sense of pride or a symbol of disdain? It all depends on your interpretation of this colorful banner.
       We have seen an uproar in recent times about Confederate statues being torn down by angry mobs or quietly removed in the night by frightened school or city administrators. While the statues might be a symbol of hatred for one group they are also a symbol of pride and identity for other groups.
       It seems that we are having the same trend now that was started with examining symbols that now affects national holidays. Recently the Los Angeles City Council ruled to eliminate Columbus Day and replace it with Native American's Day. Is this not taking away from one tribe and giving to another tribe? Have we not gone too far in this political correctness? The reasoning was that Columbus treated native peoples poorly. That might be true but Martin Luther King Jr. has be memorialized all over the country too and he allegedly had so many mistresses that those around him stopped counting. Some of the famous figures carved into Mount Rushmore owned slaves yet their faces are still immortalized in stone.
       Is it not time to eliminate all holidays and remove all statues from public arenas. It seems that holidays are often handed out to different tribes for appeasement and for little else. Most holidays in America are white Christian holidays. Christmas is a national holiday but it is honoring only Christians, not Muslims, Jews or Hindus. By anyone's guess, Martin Luther King Day is a proud day for most African Americans but most others do not even know when it is. Labor Day was an offering to unions in America while veterans are awarded two holidays (Veteran's Day for those who served in the military and Memorial Day for those who died in the military).
       There are currently eleven federal holidays and some states have their own holidays as well. For instance, California has added several holidays to the federal program like the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday or national shop until you drop day), Cezar Chavez Day to celebrate the life of immigrant "primarily Hispanic" farm workers and Fred Korematsu Day, a Japanese civil rights leader.
       We also find many ethnically driven holidays like St. Patrick's Day to honor the Irish and Cinco de Mayo to celebrate Hispanic heritage. Added to this are the many "Hallmark" holidays like Mother's Day, Father's Day or Secretaries Day. As if one day of tribal celebration is not enough, some groups have their own ceremonial months. In today's politically correct climate you will find Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
       Since most ethnic groups have their own holidays now it would be irresponsible to not ask why women do not have their own holiday. Far before the civil rights movement was the suffrage movement giving women equal voting rights and other privileges once afforded to only males. Susan B. Anthony was one of the leaders of this movement. Long after her death there was a movement to create a Susan B. Anthony holiday in honor of the women's crusade. On several occasions bills were introduced in Congress to make her birthday a national holiday. These bills were always voted down. It appears that women might have been burning their bras in defiance while other groups were burning cities in their rebellion against current trends. Perhaps if women were much more violent in their protests they too would have been appeased by a national holiday.
       If we are going to tear down such ethnocentric statues like Robert E. Lee who gives pride to white Southerners should we not also be removing all of the Martin Luther King Jr. statues, George Washington Carver statues and monuments to the Tuskegee Airmen (a group of African American fighter pilots in WWII)? If you are going to remove a Christopher Columbus statue should you not also be taking down any statues of Native American tribal leaders whose warriors were often extremely violent while robbing, killing and raping white settlers? Muhammad Ali, known for his prize fighting talent, quick wit and social activism, was also a draft dodger and was sent to prison for his actions. As other patriotic Americans were serving and dying in the Vietnam War, Ali decided to sit it out. Why are there still statues up with his likeness on them?
       The politically correct universe we live in today allows victims to tell the story. If you do not like someone else's symbol you now have the right to make them change it or remove it. This is no different than what happens in an urban gang area where a gang member will often shoot an innocent person just because the innocent bystander was wearing the wrong color of tennis shoes. If things were fair in America, a white Southerner might say that he demands that African Americans cut their dreadlocks because they are offensive or a youth cannot wear pants hanging down to his knees because the well-dressed culture feels offended by that action.
       Even our money is very ethnocentric. Only white male early statesmen have been allowed to have their pictures printed on the bills of the United States. These include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.  A woman or a non-white has never been included in this exclusive club.
       America is not a "melting pot" as we have often been told. We are more like a patch quit with every group wanting its own heroes and symbols. There is very little that keeps us all together these days. In order to bring back America to a united front, we need to have common points of interest, united symbols and inclusive celebrations.
       Instead of holidays being handed out like tokens to one group after another we need to eliminate all statutes and all holidays. All signs and symbols of individual tribalism must cease. Instead we must formulate unifying symbols and holidays that bring us all together and not separate us. These holidays and symbols are celebrations that we all have in common. The best way to do this is to embrace nature-based symbols—something we all have in common.
       Once the current holidays are eliminated we can create twelve new holidays that will occur the first Monday of every month. People will enjoy a three day weekend at least once a month. These holidays will signify natural events in our lives that we all experience. Here are the list of new holidays.
       Earth Day: the day to celebrate all the Earth has to offer us
       Summer Solstice: could replace the 4th of July (around June 21)
       Winter Solstice: could replace Christmas (around December 21)
       Fall Equinox (around September 23)
       Spring Equinox: could replace Easter (around March 20th)
       Harvest Day: could replace Thanksgiving. This would be a celebration of food.
       Birth Day: celebrating our coming into the world
       Day of the Dead: could replace Halloween which is traditionally the day of the dead. Time to honor those who have died.
       Parenting Day: honoring parents
       Water Day: the Earth is 70% water. Honor this very valuable resource in our lives.
       Spirit Day: to replace religion. Honoring our connection with a higher being and a higher purpose.
       Atonement Day: A day to reflect on our lives. Perhaps like a new year event. Currently every culture has its own new year (i.e. Gregorian Calendar New Year, Chinese New Year, Jewish New Year).
       Having nature-based holidays would bring us together as a community and keep us from further drifting apart as separate tribes. We would have common celebrations and a common identity.
        In addition the money could be changed as well. Instead of having white males on all of the money we could replace the images with those of nature. For instance, a one dollar bill might have the image of Niagara Falls while a five dollar bill would show the image of Yosemite Valley. A twenty dollar bill might demonstrate the Grand Canyon while the nations' symbol (the bald eagle) might be on a ten dollar bill. This would bring us closer as a nation as there would not be any in-fighting as to whose heroes were chosen to be on the nations' currency.
       All federal buildings would need to have name changes as well. The J. Edgar Hoover Building might be named the Coastal Live Oak Building while the J.F. Kennedy Library might be called the Alaskan Brown Bear Auditorium. This way people did not feel left out and if someone had a problem with the character of a historic figure they were not reminded every day by seeing the building. Just like statues, publicly named buildings carry weight of emotion for some people.
       History would need to be kept in a museum and not on public display in a town center. A Robert E. Lee statue might be moved into a museum building and used as a teaching tool for people. A statue of someone who might have had a less than ideal past might be used to educate others and to teach us lessons just as the concentration camps are still accessible in Europe as a reminder of our past. We would still need to find a creative way to remove the largest of monuments in our nations' capital. The idea is to use these monuments as a way to learn about our history and not to continue to punish some who find them offensive.
       Yes the time has come to examine our holidays and our monuments. As the nation is slowly losing its white dominance, white male history needs also to change. It is often said that history is written by the victors. Is it not time to have a more inclusive history and more inclusive holiday celebrations? If we wish to be a country and not just a patch quilt of individual tribes we must first start with holidays and monuments that bring us together and do not divide us.