A caveat up front: We have not yet read Palin's new book (out today!), titled Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. The back cover of the book gives a taste of what to expect:
Palin defends the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas — whether in public displays, school concerts, and pageants, or in our hearts — and delivers a sharp rebuke to today's society for the homogenization of the holiday season.
In the copy on the book's Amazon page, that line is tweaked a little: she "laments the over-commercialization and homogenization of Christmas in today's society." Yes, over-commercializing Christmas is truly lamentable. And we must not let the holidays become homogenized, so everyone should celebrate Christmas.
Again — not having read the book — the argument seems to of the now-familiar "War on Christmas" variety. One, America stops saying, "Merry Christmas," because liberals hate God. Two, America suffers God's wrath in the form of Barack Obama, the man who defeated Palin's bid for the vice presidency by an overwhelming margin five years ago. This may be oversimplified, but any deviance by Palin from that vector is likely only incidental.
Here's how Palin described the book on Fox and Friends on Tuesday.
"There is an inherent link between faith and freedom, and if we are not allowed to exercise our expression of faith — whatever that faith may be — then we will be a less, less free country. Much of this has to do with the ability, the right, the opportunities to celebrate the real reason that we have Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season, and those who are so politically correct who would say, 'You can't say that anymore. You're going to get sued,' … I'm empowering people to understand that no, we have our constitutionally-protected rights to stand up and celebrate the way that we deem."
The book "is not a political lecture, in-your-face type of narrative," Palin insisted. It is, instead, a humble narrative about what "Christmas really is" — a chance to exercise your expression of faith whatever it is and celebrate the reason for the holiday season: Christmas.
The book is also apparently how people are being sued for exercising their constitutionally-protected rights. Palin explained this argument to the conservative blog Newsmax. "We see story after story in the news today about the ACLU sending a letter to a local school district saying, Heaven forbid, you sing a traditional Christmas carol that talks about Bethlehem or anything about Jesus being the reason for the season or you're going to get sued." Those "news stories" appear to be at sites like the conservative blog Newsmax. She also told the site that "angry atheists" are trying to undermine the recognition of Christmas. The angry atheists at the ACLU respond: "Even the ACLU closes on Christmas!"
New York magazine got an audiobook version of Good Tidings last week, and pulled out a number of quotes that it found representative.
- "It’s about that little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes who arrived long before hope and change became political manipulations."
- "Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News network, once asked me, “What the bleep is so offensive about putting up a plastic Jewish family on my lawn at Christmastime?"
- "The logical result of atheism, a result we have seen right in front of our eyes in one of the world’s oldest and proudest nations, is severe moral decay."
- "Because hearing a word you don’t want to hear is a big freakin’ deal."
Palin laments how liberals are undermining the season and then goes ahead and replaces her traditional snowman with one made of straw.
It's hard to see how this book is much more than Palin's attempt to capitalize on the politics of the season. This, too, is her right! One of the most obvious outcomes of McCain's 2008 bid was to make Sarah Palin a wealthy woman. America has done right by Sarah Palin, imaginary limits on the enjoyment of Christmas notwithstanding. But still, she rails against businesses that decide not to intentionally alienate non-Christian customers by suggesting that everyone celebrates the same holiday. It's not liberals that are promoting the use of "happy holidays" — it's marketers. Not everyone has an entirely Christian base of support, Ms. Palin, so some companies decide to be more inclusive.
Incidentally, Palin also talked about other political issues with Fox and Friends. Among them: the record number of people on food stamps.
"The deal is there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. So the freebies that are being given — the idea of them being sold by the Obama administration … It's such a marketing tool. It is such a seductive lure into supporting a politician or a program if you think you're going to get something free out of it."
Now that is the spirit of the season. God bless us, every one!