Monday, December 21, 2009
"Yes, Virginia, There is Still a Merry Christmas"
from the Dec. 25, 2008 Dallas Morning News
by Victor Medina
After your famous letter about Santa Claus, I thought it best to write you before you start to worry. Many people are wondering where Christmas went. It seems some folks don't mention it any more. Instead of "Merry Christmas," they say "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Winter Solstice." If you go shopping, you may have noticed most stores won't mention Christmas by name or who it is named for. You probably saw news stories on TV that most cities and schools don't allow nativity scenes or any mention of the fact that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.
This is because they think it's the "politically correct" thing to do. You may not understand what "politically correct" means, and it's a little hard to describe even to adults, but it basically means: Don't offend people with lawyers.
Some people just don't want a Merry Christmas. Every once in a while, the Scrooges of the world gather together with the overeducated and the litigious, the skeptics and the religious bigots, and assorted patronizing New-Agers and all try to re-create Christmas in their own image. They are the ones who started the rumors about Santa being a fake, too.
After awhile, we all come around to our senses and things go back to normal. Yes, Virginia, there is still a Merry Christmas. You can say it to people and not worry about offending them. Even our Jewish brothers and sisters don't mind hearing it. If they point out their heritage, just apologize and wish them a Happy Hanukkah and a joyous Festival of Lights.
You usually don't run into people who get offended with a "Merry Christmas." They're too busy teaching at universities, making movies or chasing ambulances to meet you. If someone does get offended, just smile and say, "I'm sorry." In truth, if someone is so bitter that he or she can't stand to see others happy, you should feel sorry for him or her.
Some people think there is no room in this world for celebrating Jesus' birthday. The truth is that this world needs to celebrate it more than ever. Why some people are so afraid of a baby in a manger is beyond me. Maybe it's because they realize what that baby means. The Christ of Christmas was a gift that changes lives, even today. Angels heralded His arrival with "Peace on Earth" and "Goodwill to Man." Who couldn't use a little more of that?
Take the Christ out of Christmas, and it's just another day. It's an excuse for shopping or hanging lights. Those things are nice, but it's not what Christmas is all about. The spirit of Christmas, that special feeling you feel this time of year, isn't made by gifts and lighted trees. It's a mix of hope, love, faith and care for our fellow man. That's what the Scrooges all miss.
You can't outlaw that spirit or shame it into the ether. Ban it from public displays and town squares, and the spirit of Christmas finds a way. People will burst into a Christmas carol for no reason. Explosions of spontaneous generosity break out. Christmas miracles become a common occurrence. Yes, Virginia, there is still a Merry Christmas.
Christmas cannot be canceled, not by a dozen recessions. It cannot be smothered, not by a thousand Scrooges. It cannot be forgotten, not by a million cynics. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a problem or crisis in this world that cannot be solved with the love that God has shown us at Christmas.
It is why people say to keep the spirit of Christmas going all year long. We know of whose spirit they speak:
The Christ of Christmas told us how to truly celebrate His birth and life: Give someone who is thirsty a drink. Give someone who is hungry food. Give someone who is cold a blanket to keep him or her warm. Give someone who is sick the care he or she needs. Give someone who is homeless a place to lay his or her head. Give widows and orphans the help they may need. Give your neighbors and your enemies the love and respect you would like to receive. When you do those things for people, the Christ of Christmas said you do it for Him. Yes, Virginia, there still is a Merry Christmas.
As long as love, faith, hope and joy exist, Christmas, and its namesake, will endure in this world.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
While I think it is important to ensure that minorities are represented in history books, it should be a truthful representation, not one that seeks a balance or quota based on the fact that a minority group grows in terms of population.
If Chavez has a real beef, she should cite specific examples, not try to score political points. I saw her statement, edited of course, and I saw no examples of "glaring" lapses in Latino coverage. If there is a lack of proper Latino leaders in the history books, it is a poor reflection of our race's lack of leadership, not the historian covering it. Otherwise we do a disservice to our race and all Texas schoolchildren.
I'm not a big fan of Chavez anyway - check out her Wikipedia page to read news reports of her ties to lobbyists and improper behavior towards the police. Her arguments ring hollow until she gives specifics.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
We have already seen her campaign approach in her announcement to run. She said, "I'm Elba Garcia, I'm a Democrat, and I'm running for County Commissioner." Really? Because she's a Democrat, she deserves the seat? I'm telling you, that will be her plan. We'll hear what an evil Republican Mayfield is. They will try to portray him as anti-Hispanic and try to drum up the Latino vote. Suddenly, the man she never cared about enough before to even mention his name will now become Oak Cliff's biggest problem. The problem is, folks will buy it.
Three reasons why you SHOULDN'T vote for Elba Garcia were visible at her press conference when she announced her intention to run: to her side stood Royce West, John Wiley Price, and hubby Domingo Garcia. We don't need an extension of the Garcia Cabal. Elba was my councilwoman for years. She had ZERO impact on my neighborhood and our way of life. That's why she doesn't have my vote. Only influential people in her "circle" got attention. The little guy didn't. No thanks, Elba. We're good as it is.
Friday, October 30, 2009
1. Best Oak Cliff business
2. Advocacy by an individual, group or business
3. Chamber super-volunteer
4. Quality of life award -- group or business that most improved OC in 2009
5. Best development in Oak Cliff in 2009
6. Event with most impact on Oak Cliff in 2009
7. Best Oak Cliff public servant
Send nominations and a brief explanation to email@example.com by 5 p.m. Nov. 6. One nominee per category.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I know the column will be criticized by many as pro-amnesty or somehow bowing to lawbreakers. It's time we realize those are not the core issues. Our failure to help those trying to escape the bonds of poverty has created this problem, and our country has a long history of changing immoral laws. We should be in the business of creating law-abiding citizens, not branding people as criminals because they seek the blessings of liberty we enjoy everyday. We can find solutions if we are willing to stop politicizing.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The reviews are in, and Ricky Gervais' new film "The Invention of Lying" not only isn't very good, it has a vicious mean streak against Christianity that you won't see in the trailers. Movie Geek Feed and MovieGuide both detail how the film bashes faith and anyone who believes in God as an idiot believing a lie. My suggestion? Read the reviewers above before you decide to see the film.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
This will be a great opportunity to meet your local officials and find out first-hand what is going on in the community. You don't even have to be a Chamber member to attend! Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. To attend, contact the Oak Cliff Chamber at (214) 943-4567.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Some have said Parkland would be a perfectly fine alternative, but sitting in the emergency room for six to eight hours is hardly practical. Parkland's outpatient program, which operates clinics in various locations, is already so overburdened that new patients have to wait three months after they qualify to get a doctor's appointment. There needs to be a place for immediate attention outside of the total beating of waiting at Parkland.
I doubted the county could take on the burden immediately, and after seeing news reports in the Morning News that people were being turned away at city clinics because nurses were already quitting ahead of the closure, I became more concerned. Thankfully, it looks like the city is taking the welfare of the working poor seriously.
I emailed several councilmembers about the situation, and only District 1 councilwoman Delia Jasso followed through with me. She forwarded to me a memo from assistant city manager Forest Turner to city administration that they have been working with the county to transfer their state grants to them so there would be no lapse in service. The city has informed the state of the plan and the city will be briefed on the progress in early September.
I'm glad to see the city is actually taking the needs of its citizens into account here. It would have been so easy to pass the buck and make it someone else's problem, so let's hope this works without a gap in service. I was critical of Ms. Jasso during the election, but she and her staff have been great in addressing the issue and keeping me informed. Kudos to them for their work in following up and their professionalism.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Also, I have also posted my interview with Wade Emmert at Examiner.com. You can read it HERE. Wade is running for Dallas County Judge, which oversees the County Commissioner's Court. It is an important position, currently being held by Jim Foster, who has been such an absolute failure that even his fellow Democrats don't support his reelection. You can find out more about Wade at WadeEmmert.com.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
My column also mentions the burden code enforcement can be on many. Due to space limitations, I didn't go into detail over how the code enforcement citation system works - and why some may argue that it is effective - but the bottom line is code enforcement investigators should begin working with their city council members and local civic and neighborhood groups to solve the core issues behind the citations. Yes, it is a lot of extra work and responsibility, but it is an investment in the future of our communities. The system the way it is now does not work. We can't play "gotcha" with our citizens. We must give them the tools to become better neighbors. More on this to come.
Friday, July 17, 2009
As word of his passing spread online, many are asking how they can show their thanks. I've learned that you can visit THIS LINK to leave condolences. Hurry though, it's only available through July 20.
As the grandson of a WWII vet who is no longer with us, I know that this "Greatest Generation" is getting smaller every day. Let's honor them while they can. Our condolences to the Powers family.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Now, in a Morning News column published Sunday, I've actually been called out by one of my fellow Community Voices columnists, who disagrees with the fact that I say more folks aren't taking the proper responsibility for their community. Apparently, since the author is politically active and volunteers, I must be wrong. Really? Let's look at the facts.
In the June 13 runoff, voter turnout was under 7%. In my precinct, turnout was 10.50%. By the already low standards we set, that is "good." However, outside of our little social circles and the "bubble" created by our friends and neighbors, there are a bunch of disaffected people who either think their vote doesn't matter or don't care who is in charge. THAT is the real problem. If you are going to take a swing at me, try using a fist full of reality, not some rose-colored perception of how things are.
I didn't want to criticize a fellow columnist in print, because I think it's bad form, but I'm also not going to sit back and have what I think is a valid point diminished. There are real problems in Oak Cliff, and WE, the people who live here, are to blame. I love living here, and I'm not going to give it up without a fight. I've served my time on boards and committees working to make it better. Even with the good, that doesn't mean we should close our eyes to the bad. I'm sorry if pointing out the realities or "experiences" of the 93% of the people who didn't vote June 13 offends some.
Sooner or later, those realities, those problems festering under the surface are going to burst the bubble some Oak Cliff apologists live in. If we don't deal with it now, and pretend everything is wonderful, the name of Oak Cliff will continue to have a stigma attached to it. No wonderful restaurants, no big trees, and no good intentions are going to change that.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The truth is, I stood a better chance of calling Domino's than 911 when I heard gunshots. At least Domino's would get here in 30 minutes, and we would have had pizza. Jasso should have grabbed the bull by the horns and worked with other Oak Cliff leaders and the police to beef up patrols and enforcement. They should have been on TV the week leading up to the Fourth telling everyone that extra cops would be out to respond quickly. That might have put a little fear into folks.
Instead, I spent the Fourth enjoying brats with family and friends and watching the neighborhood fireworks show (with random gunfire) that goes on every year in the parking lot across from Peabody Elementary near my house. Every year, an unofficial and illegal pyrotechnic demonstration is held, and once you've given up trying to call 911, it is actually enjoyable. With officers overburdened, everyone knows calls won't be responded to. The folks setting off the fireworks don't even try to hide. They sit outside their cars talking with friends and setting off rockets.
I gave up calling 911 about such things last year. After I saw a neighbor shooting bottle rockets at passing cars, I called 911. Eventually, a patrol car came by, and the neighbors responded by shooting a rocket AT THE POLICE CAR. It went off underneath the car with a loud bang and burst of light, and the car kept going. It never stopped. I officially gave up then. Say goodnight Gracie.
If we expect to make Oak Cliff a better place, we must first have lawbreakers believe the law will be enforced. Right now, I don't even believe that. For now, we just enjoy the fireworks.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
July 1: Here we go again. Instead of addressing a lack of education, jobs, and hope in our communities, Dallas area Latino leaders think the answer to all of our ills is naming a street for Cesar Chavez. There is now a push to rename Young St, located downtown, for Cesar Chavez. Why? Well, there is no official reason why, but once you realize that Young St. is home to WFAA, The Dallas Morning News, City Hall Plaza, and the Dallas Public Library, the reason is clear.
These folks are not motivated in honoring Chavez. They are using him. He is a tool to "stick it" to what they see as the "white powerhouse" that runs downtown and local government. They would love to see the Morning News change their address to say "Chavez." It doesn't matter that this does nothing to help local Latinos or even keep alive the work Cesar started. This is about local Latinos flexing their political muscle. They want to make a point that they can snap their fingers and get whatever they want. The Morning News, white city council members, and just about every other non-Latino in this city is too afraid to stand up to this silly demand out of fear they will appear racist. They are right - they will appear racist. They can't complain, this is the world of white liberal guilt they created.
I addressed this last year in a Morning News column (see the link to the right). If local Latino leaders were really concerned about honoring Chavez, they would do something more fitting than slap his name on some street signs. They would name a library after him. We already have a school. How about a "Cesar Chavez Educational Program," that closes the educational gap Latinos face in this town by starting GED classes around Oak Cliff, or help young working parents get into night classes at the local community college, or start a scholarship program with local four year colleges for those who need to complete their Bachelor's or Master's? No, they won't do that. That would require them to move their, ahem, behinds, and do something useful. Adelfa Callejo should spend more time inside a school instead of demanding she get her name put on the outside of one.
Roy Appleton of the Morning News asked our new city council member, Delia Jasso, why we can't name Jefferson Blvd., in the heart of Latino Oak Cliff, for Cesar, which makes more sense. "That won't happen," she said. Maybe because it's actually in a Latino community and it doesn't "stick it" in the face of too many gringos. Nice going, Delia.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The column is also available at the Cypress Times website, a great news site based in Cypress, Texas, down by Houston. You can read the column there by CLICKING HERE. I hope you'll bookmark the Cypress Times website and visit it often. They will be carrying my columns from time to time.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Now I get to say I told you so. Those high-class providers of adult beverages in Cockrell Hill have now opened a drive-thru store with hoochie-mamas that bring you your Colt 45s. These scantily clad chicks have earned their own protestors who don't like the fact that these girls are being treated like pieces of meat and are out in front of the drive-thru while kids pass by to and from the school down the street. Congrats Cockrell Hill! You set the women's movement back twenty years!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The study has been criticized by some as an attempt to turn the area into a mini-Uptown and drive out the large Latino population that is there. The idea that north Oak Cliff is being "gentrified" is ridiculous, and unfairly characterizes the study as some sort of ethnic cleansing.
During the recent election, one Latino candidate actually had the nerve to complain in a campaign mailing about the bulldozing of all of those trashy apartments across the street from St. Cecilia's Church. Instead of being glad that better homes would be built, he argued that somehow these people wanted to live in that rat's nest. Yes, the homes being built were probably out of their price range, but there is no shortage of decent, affordable apartments in the area. Sometimes hard decisions must be made to make a community safer.
Latinos can afford better housing. They deserve better housing. This is not a movement to chase them away. This community will benefit from this development. Don't buy into this argument that Latinos will be shut out under this plan. It's just a wedge tactic being used by some to unfairly characterize development.
The real issue here is some folks don't want to be bothered. They think this development will affect their quality of life. It's the same argument that has been used ever since the Bishop Arts area began to expand. They argued that there would be more traffic, the area would lose its identity, and some nice old buildings would be lost. It didn't happen in Bishop Arts. It won't happen under the Davis study. Thankfully, the city council seems ready to get behind the thing and not try to micromanage each phase of the plan like some are trying to do.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Some are blowing off the charges that Delia Jasso's campaign participated in voter fraud by saying a.) take away the disputed votes and Jasso would have won by a slim margin anyway, and b.) Jasso deserves to win because she is Latino and she's running in a Latino district against a white guy (Justin Epker). For these folks, a win is a win, by any means necessary.
The problem is, wrong is wrong, no matter how you justify it. In the days to come, we'll see if the district attorney or local media do their due diligence and investigate the facts. If it is swept under the rug, it will say a lot about the state of our community. We will know if a privileged, connected few can get away with things you and I cannot.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
North Oak Cliff residents are well familiar with the Kessler Theater, even if you didn't know its name. It's the building on the corner of Davis and Clinton with the green curved art-deco glass marquee. It's changed hands over the years and is finally being restored to be a community arts center for live performances and everything in-between. While there's been lots of development by Bishop Arts down the road, this particular area has seen far less attention, and it's nice to see it getting some love now. I remember back in the day renting my tux for prom near the Kessler, and now those storefronts are getting restored. Hopefully we'll see the good times rolling at the Kessler again soon. You can keep up with the progress at the Kessler via their FaceBook page HERE.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Until then, the Morning News blogs have already posted it. In fact, it's mentioned on the DallasNews.com front page today under the "Blogs: Oak Cliff" section. From there, it links to my complete column, with an introduction from Michael Landauer, my editor. Click here for a link.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Remember that credit card legislation that President Obama signed into law that was supposed to save us from high fees and rates jumping on us? Well, as many experts predicted, the banks that issue these cards are finding ways around the law. Among them, I can tell you that Capital One just told me that my card's APR - which was just at 8% - will jump to 15% in just over a year, and I haven't even missed a payment yet. They can't hike it on me now, but I'm sure many Cap 1 cardholders have seen the last of low promotional rates. This is what happens when government sticks their fingers in something they don't fully understand. I've also been able to get late fees or pay by phone fees waived if I barely miss a payment, because I have a good payment record, but I've been told by a customer service rep that they won't be doing that sort of thing anymore. Gee, thanks for nothing, Mr. President!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The DMN doesn't seem to read their own feedback, as each article praising Jasso and dissing Epker has been met with criticism from readers, many of them Latino, who raise an important point: they are sick of the rule of the Garcia family - and their friends - over District 1. They have nothing to show for their time in charge.
Editors at the Morning News should be ashamed they let such a juvenile piece run in their paper.