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First snowfall of the season here in Chicago. At least two inches, I'd say. Most of it melted off by lunchtime and the fact that there are still leaves on the trees sort of muted that cool barren-branches-draped-in-frosty-glitter effect, but the neighborhood looked lovely at 7 am. Winter is upon us.

But the saddest thing about the end of autumn is that the "holiday season" is kicking into its unholy corporate-approved gear. Last week while walking home from the train, I noticed at least one of my neighbors already has the fully-tarted-up tree in the front window and strings of lights around the front of the house. The little girl upstairs was practicing "Silent Night" on the piano this afternoon. The drugstore aisles are already crammed with horrible animatronic devices that spew out MIDI-quality xmas novelty songs if you so much as breathe heavily near them. People. Don't make me hurt you.

And along with the spend-spend-spend mantra (can't celebrate a holiday without thousands of dollars' worth of plastic accessories!) come the pleas for holiday cash. Of course we here at RubberNun encourage helping the less-fortunate all year 'round. We only ask that you spend your charity dollars wisely, as JillMatrix reminds us, particularly when it comes to that most omnipresent of holiday donation bins, the Salvation Army kettles. See, the thing is, the Salvation Army is not just a thrift shop -- it's a religious organization that refuses to hire gays and lesbians and gets taxpayer money (thanks to the Bush maladministration's "Charitable Choice" program) to discriminate. Last year the wondrous souls at PFLAG designed these lovely coupons you can drop into the kettles to let the Salv-A know that you would have given them five bucks if they weren't such bigoted weenies. I carried a fistful of these at all times last year and used them frequently. No need to berate the bell-ringers -- just leave your message for the higher-ups to find when they count the cash. Then give your actual money to someplace good (or whichever organization you prefer). Also you could volunteer.

Replies: 3 Confessions

In 1966, when I was a homeless pregnant hippie riding on the back of a limping Harley driven by a married man on the run from the law, I got pneumonia. The Salvation Army put us up in a hotel for three nights, no questions asked, no sermons, no nonsense, just a warm room and all the PB&J we could eat. All this at a time when people like Jesse and me were routinely thrown out of high-class restaurants like McDonald's and well-wishers often threw (full) cans of beer at our heads from passing cars.
So I appreciate your issues, but they're not the whole story.

elavil @ 11/17/2002 08:00 PM CST

But until a couple years ago, I don't believe they were getting public money to discriminate. That all started with Bush's secret deals with SA leaders to get them into the faith-based charity thing.

As a private religious organization, they can fire gays and lesbians if they really think they need to, but they shouldn't do that if they're getting taxpayer funds. (The San Francisco chapter refused to take public money rather than offer domestic partner benefits.)

amyc @ 11/18/2002 06:17 AM CST

I don't mean to suggest you should change your actions or attitude toward the Army. I do mean that they have been much better to me than some folks I actually used to think of as my friends, and as such, I owe them the benefit of the doubt.
I'm just sayin'.

elavil @ 11/18/2002 06:59 AM CST

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