On Monday afternoon, I got an email with an intriguing subject line. It asked the question, “Is Pagosa Springs anti-peace?”
Pagosa Springs is a rather conservative town of about 1700 people in the southern mountains of Colorado. I lived there nine years ago, right before moving to the lefty, pinko, neverending- carnival-of-hedonism that is Portland, Oregon. The email, sent by fellow Portland hedonist Pat Janowski, included a link to a story: a couple in Pagosa Springs had been asked by their homeowners’ association to take down their Christmas wreath. Why? Because the wreath was shaped like a peace sign.
Some residents saw the wreath as anti-war. Bob Kearns, the president of the Homeowners’ Association said, "The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it. It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started."
The peace sign was actually created in 1958 by British designer Gerald Holtom for a nuclear disarmament protest, but that’s not really the point. The point is: divisiveness. A divisiveness now so ingrained in our culture, that a wish for “Peace on Earth” at Christmastime is a trigger for partisan bickering. A wish for peace is anti-troops, and even anti-Christ. Divisiveness has deemed a Christmas wreath…anti-Christmas.
Perhaps it’s time we looked at some other traditional holiday sentiments, like what about these “Good will toward men” people? How would supporters of this decidedly sexist sentiment feel if I walked around during the holidays greeting women with a slap on the face and a kick in the ass? I doubt it would bother them, they’re clearly women-haters.
And what of the proponents of “Happy Holidays”? What are they trying to say to the 17 million Americans who suffer from depression? Are they trying to rub it in? Because that’s just mean.
And don’t even get me started on “Joy to the World.”
I’m actually grateful to Mr. Kearns, the future former president of the Loma Linda Homeowners' Association. He’s taught me a lesson about perspective, and what the lack of it can cause a person to do. In this case, lack of perspective and blind loyalty to his side of an ongoing, underlying cultural war caused him to do something I’m sure he never dreamed he’d do: to fight against peace.
And now, after a healthy dose of perspective from CNN, The New York Times, and...well, the whole country, he came to his senses and dropped the Case of the Anti-Christmas Wreath.
Peace has returned to Pagosa Springs. And not a moment too soon, because the holidays are just around the corner, and no one wants to be at war during the holidays, right?
Photo courtesy of Randi Pierce, Durango Herald.