The Americanization of Everything

I feel like I need to start this rant with a statement of my red, white and blueness. I still get chills when some vocalists sing the Star Spangled Banner, I readily tear up when a full military color guard passes by, and I enthusiastically celebrate July 4th as a significant date.

So, lest you think otherwise, this is not an anti-America tirade. I’m simply sad that we seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that we constantly perpetuate the myth that the United States is the center of the universe and, with that, the sense that God likes us better than other countries.

Children are born egocentric and ethnocentric — but as they mature, they hopefully grow out of both. Ideally, nations would do the same.

So, here’s my pet peeve for the holiday season as it relates to the perpetuation of this myth. I know that could avoid the triggers that set me off around the holidays, but it is so the season of good, cheesy movies…

There are easily a dozen movies getting play on Hallmark Channel and ABC Family and other such cable networks which include a Santa dilemma [he’s stranded by a stalled sleigh, reindeer have come down with tropical diseases and can’t fly, he’d gotten a bonk on the head and has amnesia, the US military shot him down as a UFO–I’m only making one of these up]. The dilemma must, of course, be solved by midnight on Christmas Eve or Christmas will be ruined.

So, look at this timezone map. Even if the movie is set in the eastern U.S. — by midnight in New York City, it’s Noon on Christmas Day in Manila. So, these movies “save” Christmas for North and Central America and the western most countries of South America. Wooo hoooo!!  Apparently the rest of the world doesn’t need Christmas.

I know, these are just stories. They are based on a fantasy premise of “Santa Clause” and so I have already agreed to believe the magic and mystery. Yes, I have. For the sake of story, I will give myself over to believing–in context–fiction. But that’s not my point.

I wish that we Americans could learn to consider the global perspective more often than we do. I wish that we thought beyond our own back yard and the space under our own overly decorated trees. Forget Santa. I’m afraid that sometimes we think that the baby born in Bethlehem–God incarnate–came in time to save US and we forget that “God so loved the world….”

The whole world needs Christmas. Not Santa…but Christmas.

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