If you have walked past a television tuned to Fox News in the last month or three, or perhaps watched the Daily Show or Colbert Report play clips from Fox News, chances are you have heard about the War on Christmas. For those who have been blissfully unaware, the War on Christmas refers to the fact that people are saying Happy Holidays not Merry Christmas, or suggesting there should be a non-white Santa, or the Festivus Pole threatens the Christmas Nativity Scene. Valiant Fox News heroes Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson fight against the secular forces trying to ruin their Christmas. Thus, Fox News claims there is a war going on.
Of course, there is a war going on. In fact, there are multiple wars going on.
There is a war in Afghanistan, with coalition fatalities currently standing at 149 coalition deaths this year, and 402 coalition deaths last year. Afghanistan civilian casualties are up 23% in the first half of 2013 according to the UN.
There is a war going on in Iraq, with the civilian death toll from violence between 115,948-127,323, and increasing to half a million lives when factoring how the war affects their lives, infrastructure and access to health care and clean water. The bloodshed continues even after U.S. forces have officially withdrawn.
There is a war going on in Syria, a civil war. It’s probably not as exciting to Fox News as there are no American troops directly involved, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have put the number of deaths during the 2.5 year-long conflict at 115,000 as of October.
I could go on with examples from across the globe, but the numbers just keep getting more depressing.
I understand why they use the phrase "War on Christmas." Nothing bands together people like a common enemy or cause, especially if they are the underdog or even just believe they are the underdog. Using the word "war" is an emotional hook, a good way to increase viewership, which increases ad revenue. But using it so frequently and frivolously diminishes the horror we should feel when we hear the word. Being told "Happy Holidays" or seeing a Black Santa or a beer can Festivus pole is not even on the same scale as the thousands of people dead, wounded, and scarred both physically and mentally in a conflict, the infrastructure collapsing, being exposed to the elements. When we think of war, it should shake us to the core and make us thankful we do not have to suffer it ourselves.
When the word "war" becomes so blase that we do not feel this visceral reaction, we become insulated from the pain, suffering and sacrifices made by all those who fought and died in conflicts around the world, including our own troops. Troops that Fox News has convinced nearly 65K people to "honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform" like the “Fox News: Support our Troops” Facebook page.
So yes, Fox News, there are wars going on. Real wars in which people are dying, included American troops. So if Fox News really supports the military, not just with a Twitter shout out or a Facebook page but truly respects the hell that people in a war zone have been through and is thankful that they volunteered to keep us safe from that hell, maybe they should consider ending the “War on Christmas” once and for all.