She'll have a green Christmas, that's certain

And when that ol' checkbook starts hurtin.'

She'll become Santa Claus, with Christ as a cause,

And she'll have a green, green, green, green Christmas.

Alden Graves

Sarah Palin has positioned herself at the vanguard of one of those trumped-up non-issues that the far right thinks is so threatening to their conception of life in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Unlike some of the others, however, this one is emerging as a sort of holiday tradition, like unwrapping socks or wondering if you didn't get a card from someone because he's dead. It would be easier to deal with if we didn't have to listen to Michael Bolton in those car commercials on top of it this year. (I never leave the television remote, with its blessed mute button, any further than an arm's length away.)

As one naughty pundit recently stated, Palin is to deductive reasoning was Mr. Magoo was to clear vision. John McCain's lump of coal to the country thinks that the Christian aspects of the holiday season are being shunted aside in favor of political correctness. "Political correctness" is a derogatory term used by conservatives to condemn something with which they don't agree. The words are generally leveled with a sneer that, incidentally, Fox News titan, Bill O'Reilly, has elevated to something in a league with Jack Benny's deadpan expression when Rochester said something funny. O'Reilly is the only guy in the world who can say "Happy Holidays" with a believable sneer.

Out of the mouths of denizens of the far right, the words "traditional" and "values," when offered together or separately, should evoke the same response in rational minds as the word "fire" in a crowded theater. Ms. Palin has donned her crusader's costume to defend traditional Christmas values using a familiar right wing refrain as a rationale to reach a conclusion that is completely at odds with the precepts upon which America was founded. But, small matter when traditions are at stake.

If America is largely comprised of Christians, why shouldn't the traditions and customs of other faiths -- or the right of someone to embrace no established religion at all -- have to stand at the back of the bus, to use a not entirely inappropriate metaphor? And, not quite coincidentally, why shouldn't Sarah Palin make a couple of bucks by keeping that peculiar strain of Christ's followers who won't tolerate any beliefs but their own all riled up over the issue? I suppose that it is only fair that, if the cast of "Duck Dynasty" can put out a CD of Christmas music, then Palin should be able to write a book about the holiday. Alaska's half-term governor has embarked on a tour to promote "Good Tidings and Great Joy," in which she bemoans the commercialization of Jesus Christ's birth while HarperCollins, her publisher, shovels more money into her bank accounts.

Ms. Palin's book tour was evidently planned by people who are aware of her limited appeal in areas that can boast a preponderance of high school graduates. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are strictly Sarah-free zones, but she'll presumably be a familiar face at general stores in the Ozarks. The public relations people have also convinced her not to mention that she could "see the North Pole" from her front porch because Santa things are the not serious part of Christmas and Christ is the serious part of Christmas. You might recall that the former vice- presidential candidate -- only a heartbeat away!-- had the same problem with North and South Korea.

Palin is adding her voice to what I am sure she and a lot of other conservatives think is a heavenly choir, assembled to reinsert symbols of established religions into public venues, such as schools and town meetings. In Palin's case, the undermining of the fundamental strictures upon which the country was founded is beside the point. Grand Principles are as out of her realm as New York, L.A., and Chicago will always be. Sarah's intent is to rake in more bucks. With this tome, of which HarperCollins should hang its collective head in shame, she will no doubt have herself a green Christmas.

It is astonishing to me that the same people who are the first to scream "execute them," "invade them," or "bomb them," the same people who have fought the implementation of a health care system in the United States that has the potential to save millions of American lives, the same people who scoff at a living wage for someone else because they have found their little place in the sun, the same people who have facilitated , condoned, and encouraged an income gap between the rich and the poor that would put the Grand Canyon to shame, the same people who never miss an opportunity to stymie any semblance of social progress because they might have to acknowledge that they hold certain responsibilities as members of that society -- these are the people who are so mightily offended by the manufactured perception that Christ is being slighted at Christmas.

If a silly, shallow, and unashamedly greedy person like Sarah Palin ever emerges as a defender of Christ's teachings, the world really is in big trouble.

Alden Graves is a Banner columnist.