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Onward Christmas Soldiers

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
December 9, 2005


An Encinitas resident, the recent dust up regarding the naming of the annual holiday parade intrigued me. Over the past 5 decades, an annual civic parade is held in downtown Encinitas, in early December, and traditionally ends with a manifestation of Santa Claus making an appearance on the back of a borrowed truck, has occurred under three names, the St. Nick Parade, the Christmas Parade, and the Holiday Parade.

Three names, one parade, and no real difference, from one year to the next, ironic no?

It seems Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager, in his infinite wisdom has stirred up a holiday hornet's nest by re-renaming the annual parade in the spirit of full exclusion and political incorrectness. The Holiday Parade, envisioned to encourage Christians celebrating Christmas, Jews celebrating Hanukkah, people of African decent celebrating Kwanza, and pagans, druids, wiccans and witches marking the first day of winter, to come together in the spirit of good will and peaceful co-existence, is no longer acceptable.

Lines must be drawn.

By reclaiming the parade in the name of Christ, Mayor Dalager has crossed the line between church and state. Signaling out one faith over others turns a community event into a religious one. City sponsored events established around Christian faith conflicts with the intent of the United States Constitution, and the Treaty of Tripoli.

Ratified in 1779 by George Washington and signed into law by John Adams, the Treaty of Tripoli clearly states, "The Government of the United States is not any sense founded on the Christian religion."

When last I checked the United States Constitution still applied to the City of Encinitas. Considering the obvious, since Christmas translates into Christ mass, the Encinitas Christmas parade is blatantly unconstitutional.

Now, if the parade were actually held on December25th, then there would be to doubt to whether or not it was a Christmas parade. December25th is Christmas, right? Oddly enough, no matter where they are held, annual Christmas parades are never held on Christmas day. This year the Encinitas Christmas Parade was held on December 3rd, three weeks before Christmas.

The winter solstice, Yule to pre-Christian Europe and Scandinavia, and Dong Zhi to the Chinese, is the nearest religious holiday. Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 25th this year, with Kwanzaa beginning the next morning. Not sure how Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims celebrate the winter season, I wonder if mayor Dalager even considered anyone outside of his faith base when renaming the parade to suit his narrow view of the world?

I wonder if he even consulted the other members of the Encinitas City Council.

Standing at the corner of E and 101, I experienced this year's parade with a mix of amusement, bewilderment, a touch of melancholy, and a creeping sense of uneasiness, as if the ghost of Christmas future was warning me of things to come. Contributing to the circus atmosphere of the event were the people with picket signs thanking Mayor Dalager for bringing Christmas back to Encinitas, while members of the New Life Christian Fellowship passed out leaflets asking "Are you good enough to get in to heaven?"

Funny, I missed the part where Christmas was banned last year, and the year before, and the year before that. I should really pay better attention. Still, you would think I would have notice Christmas being canceled.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit to not being a Christian, although I have played one on TV. I also admit to having marched with the Cub Scouts in the annual Christmas parade growing up in Vista. I view these as positive civic experiences. To us kids marching in the parade semantics hardly mattered. I'm sure it's the same today.

For those who missed the Encinitas Christmas parade you missed seeing a bunch of kids dressed as an army of Raggedy Ann's, angels, reindeers, toy soldiers, wrapped gifts, wise men and Indian scouts. You also missed an angel singing off key as part of the living nativity float. There were also beauty queens from Vista, marching bands from local high schools, Homer Depot, and more Brownies than a Humboldt bakery.

Knowing a good thing when I see it, I think the city of Encinitas should expand it's holiday offerings by also sponsoring a Kwanzaa parade, a Hanukkah themed festival of lights parade, and to attract the economic bounty associated with market driven hedonism, a drunken free for all in honor of Saturnalia. It's all good right?

Next year at the Encinitas Solstice Extravaganza and Yule Log throwing contest, I'll be the one dressed as a Festivus elf.

See ya there!

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