War is a zero-sum game, so when Christmas is winning, Hanukkah is losing. Crumbling under pressure from conservatives, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Target, Kmart, Walgreens and Kohl's dropped "Happy Holidays" and brought back their "Merry Christmas" campaigns. The Seattle airport put back its Christmas trees after removing them last week when a rabbi complained. That controversy never would have happened if Gentiles simply realized that absolutely no one ever listens to rabbis. If we did, kids who went to Hebrew school would actually speak Hebrew.
These should be good times for Hanukkah and the Jews. After all, the Christmas story offers nothing besides a guy who erases all our sins, but the tale of Hanukkah centers on a magical, super-efficient oil that causes an eightfold decrease in carbon emissions. But instead of this being our year, we had the worst run-up to Hanukkah in 62 years: Iran hosted David Duke at its Holocaust denial conference; Mel Gibson got a Golden Globe nomination; Jimmy Carter equated Israeli policy with apartheid; Ehud Olmert — the least-smooth Jew since Jerry Lewis — accidentally admitted that Israel has the bomb; and the subtext of "Charlotte's Web" is that pork is irresistible.
So until the world backs off on its war against Hanukkah, we're not going to play your reindeer games. We may not have enough Mitzvah tanks, but we do have other weapons just as annoying.
Until Hanukkah gets its proper respect, we're pulling our singers from Christmas albums. No more Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow. You'll quickly find you don't have many entertainers of your own when you're at Banana Republic listening to that one Kristin Chenoweth album over and over.
You have deployed your most annoying Gentiles against us: John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly. So forget Al Franken. Once we find the alley that Pauly Shore is sleeping in, he'll be singing the dreidel song outside your house. We'll force storeowners to greet you with a "Happy Hanukkah" — and not the secular version but the one with the "Ch" in front and all the accompanying spittle. We're also going to shoot you. Us Jews hear war, we take it seriously.
Because if you're going tribal, we're going tribal. And though our tribe is small and often out of shape, we're scrappy. So think twice before you spill out too much vitriol about this war on Christmas that you're winning. When the empowered convince themselves that they're under attack, they often convince themselves that cruelty to the powerless is justified. These are the scary sugar plums that dance in Lou Dobbs' head.
I realize these are difficult times. I understand the desire to declare "our" unified Christianity in public places, to fence out the Mexicans, to fight against the luxury of Muslim free speech, to pass English-only legislation. But a great nation, as our Constitution figured out, fights its populist instincts. And uses Latin to confuse its citizens.
And if getting along means accepting a manger and not hearing "Happy Hanukkah," I'm willing to surrender in this war. As long as you realize that without those of us who don't celebrate Christmas, this nation would lose its purpose. And the chance to have this dumb debate every year.
Though, if we keep it going for another two years, I think I can sell CBS on a claymation holiday special, with John Gibson singing about the "Island of Misfit Toupees."