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Capitol Christmas Tree 2011
The offense in question (house.gov)
 

And now, a brief Christmas story. The right-wing Media Research Center (or in this case, their CNSNews site, which strives to be so silly as to avoid all credibility, and to great success) plays spot-the-outrage. Let's all play along, shall we?

The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree's base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

Yep, they're steamed. Really, really steamed. And with that, our (well, their) story begins.

CNSNews called the officials who put up the tree, but couldn't get an answer on whether any of the ornaments have Jesus on them. They wanted to know if any American politician except Obama was named on an ornament. Again, no answer, probably because the people answering the phones were still passed out from laughter at having to field these questions. Well, that probably means Jesus isn't on the tree, since panicked conspiracy theorizing is pretty much always right, as an organization that purports to "correct" other media outlets (deviously liberal ones) surely knows. And looking at all the ornaments themselves would be really, really hard, so they didn't bother.

This conspiracy runs pretty damn deep, however. Consider:

1. We're not even talking about a White House Christmas tree, we're talking about the Capitol Christmas Tree, displayed outside, well, the Capitol. The White House had nothing to do with it.

2. The ornament in question says "I (heart) President Obama," shows a picture of a (possibly Muslim) bear, and was clearly made by a child; most of of the ornaments on the tree were made by students, in fact. This year's tree came from California, with ornaments created by California students and any other member of the public that wanted to have a go at it. The theme for this year's tree was "California Shines," which possibly explains the California-flag-resembling bear on the aforementioned ornament.

3. The conservative news outlet in question was in fact easily able to find an ornament referencing the Bible, which would pretty much destroy their own entire goddamn premise if they did not have the Holy Stick of Perpetual Righteousness embedded so deeply up their (censored):

Although the Capitol Christmas Tree, as it stood on the morning of Dec. 19, included no readily visible ornament that mentioned or depicted Christmas or Jesus, it did include one ornament that pointed to the Bible and Psalm 19. This ornament, made from an aluminum pie tin, shows a miner panning for gold with a Bible behind him. There is a gold cross on the cover of the Bible. Around the interior wall of the pie tin, these words are written with what appears to be a blue marker: “More precious than Gold” and “Psalm 19.”

A gold cross and Bible citation? Nope, not good enough.

Other prominent ornaments on the tree tout Disneyland, Hollywood, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The tree also includes a number of ornaments representing Christmas gift packages. The ribbons on these packages are arranged in a cross pattern--but all of them have "Happy Holidays" ensribed on them.

Well, that pretty much settles things. War on Christmas, blah blah blah. So the conservative brigade of pants-wetting holy warriors then contacted the U.S. Forest Service to see if maybe all the Jesus-loving ornaments had been thrown out: The response was no, but not before three more Forest Service employees died of extreme telephone-induced laughter. They finally did get a response from the evil Architect of the Capital (and architects are God's chosen people, if Ayn Rand has taught us anything, so to meet an evil Architect of the Capital only goes to show just how corrupting Washington must be) which said:

"There is no selection process to determine which ornaments were to be placed on the Capitol Christmas Tree and which were not based on theme or content.  Rather, the Capitol Grounds crew has to decorate a 65-foot tree in a matter of days, therefore they place ornaments on the Capitol Christmas Tree until it is fully decorated.  Their only concern is that the ornaments stand up to the weather (durable and waterproof). We cannot provide you with the information you requested as to the location of specific ornaments on the Capitol Christmas Tree. As I noted earlier, the Capitol Grounds crew placed thousands of the hand-crafted ornaments on the 65-foot tall Capitol Christmas Tree. There may be ornaments like those you describe near the top of the tree, or they could have been obscured or moved due to wind or weather. The Capitol Christmas Tree has been a wonderful tradition on Capitol Hill for more than 45 years, and it is not the AOC’s policy or practice to exclude the display of donated ornaments on the Capitol Christmas Tree because of any viewpoint of those individuals who created them.”

Translation: We don't know. Go look yourself. There's no secret plot, but if there is, maybe we've embedded clues way up near the top of the tree, so please shimmy up there and have a look around or something. We don't care anymore.

And so another War on Christmas story comes to a close. The lesson of the season, as always: If you aren't outraged about something, then you need to look harder for things to be outraged about.

In this case, some California schoolchild put a message on their ornament about the president, and there's entirely too few nativity scenes on these Christmas tree ornaments whose explicit theme is "stuff about California," so it's all probably a plot against your personal beliefs. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a cranky, pissed-off night.

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