"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Cards

Insurance agents send out Christmas cards. Car dealers send out Christmas cards. Accountants send out Christmas cards. And so, inevitably, politicians send out Christmas cards. They can't stop themselves. It's an opportunity for them to demonstrate to their constituents that they're . . . something or other.

Of course, card selection is rather different for a politician. You or I can choose to send out cards that reflect our own views -- religious, political, or personal. Thus some regular people decide on those truly horrid family-picture cards. Others choose differently iconic images, such as the Christ child, the Madonna, Santa, reindeer or, we suppose, Madonna.

Politicians, on the other hand, must choose more carefully, so as not to offend. Too religious, and the ACLU is offended. Too secular, and the orthodox are irritated. Strike too close a balance, and it's clear to everyone that you're trying not to piss them off.

Which brings us to The Honorable Phil Bredesen, Governor of the great state of Tennessee. The Nashville Tennessean reports that his card this year features the image set out above right:
Gov. Phil Bredesen has given an unusual twist to his family's Christmas card: He is marking a Christian holiday with a card depicting a Muslim girl.

The card's cover is a print of a painting by the governor of a young woman he met when he toured Afghanistan in March.

"May the peace and joy of this Christmas season be with you and your loved ones throughout the coming year," the card reads.

"While it may seem odd to put a portrait of a young Muslim woman on a Christmas card, this Season reminds us that He loves His children most of all," Bredesen stated on the back of the card.

Khaled Sakalla, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville, said the local Muslim community also wishes Christians a peaceful and happy holiday. But, he said, if the governor saw a Muslim woman in Afghanistan as depicted — with her head partially uncovered — that's not the Muslim dress code.

"Women shouldn't have their faces fully covered, nor should they have their hair half-uncovered," Sakalla said.

A local conservative Christian minister also wasn't sure.

"If he is saying Christmas is about honoring all religions, I don't agree," said the Rev. Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church in Madison. "If the message is to love all people, that is Jesus Christ's message. The governor's message is just not very clear."

The back of the card closes with, "May the miracle of Christmas help bring peace to this young woman and her wounded land."
So the Governor managed to irritate some folks who think this stunt is patronizing, others who wonder if he's promoting some sort of Universalist mush, and still others who can't stop themselves (even at this distance) from correcting the dress of their female co-religionists. This is a card with something for everyone. Or nothing for anyone.

We, on the other hand, couldn't shake our very first reaction: That the young woman's pose bears a rather alarming similarity to yet another iconic figure from popular culture.

But maybe that's just us.

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