Well, they might sound like contenders for the bare-knuckled boxing crown of the US back in the late 19th century when John L. Sullivan and a host of other sons of Erin ruled the ring roost in this country, but actually it’s a much more timely–and for Haverfordians much more interesting–combat taking place right now.
In the right-hand corner, Bill O’Reilly, aging loudmouth from Fox News, exulting in his “victory” against secularists in their “war against Christmas.”
Across the ring, Haverford religion major and former field-hockey star ALEXIA KELLEY ’89, president of an organization named Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
The bout took place on December 4 on O’Reilly’s show when the host took on Alexia, claiming that if he had not done his campaign “the forces of darkness would have won the ‘war’ on Christmas.” According to Bill, none of us could say “Merry Christmas” to anyone this year if those forces of darkness had prevailed.
From the transcript of the show, it’s obvious that the result was a unanimous decision for the Haverfordian.
O’Reilly chose to rain a flurry of ineffective would-be haymakers at Alexia, an unlikely “force of darkness” as anyone who knows the gentle, appealing and articulate Ms. Kelley would tell you. With rarely a chance to get a word in edgewise, Alexia still threw plenty of careful counterpunches that left O’Reilly bruised and battered.
Many ringside commentators and bloggers have since written about the fight, and their comments about O’Reilly just can’t be reprinted in my blog, but you’d enjoy them for sure.
The casus belli for O’Reilly were ads that Alexia’s organization put out saying that “We believe the real assault on Christmas (as opposed to that waged by O’Reilly and his ilk in their ‘culture wars’) is how a season of peace, forgiveness and goodwill has been sidelined by a focus on excessive consumerism. The powerful message Christ brings to the world is ‘good news for the poor…'”
Haverfordians, even old Scrooges like this writer, have to be pretty darn proud of Alexia for telling “truth to power” and then some. We’ll close with wishes for “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Joyous Kwanzaa” and even “Happy Holidays” to all our readers, and even to Bill O’Reilly, may he think twice in the coming year before taking on one of the Ford’s finest!
(Philadelphians should be sure to check out Carol Towarnicky’s column in today’s Phila. Daily News, p. 31, for another strong voice weighing in on Alexia’s side.)
-Greg Kannerstein ’63