Dear Starbucks: Your Cups Runneth Over with Red, White & Blue…and Green.

 

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Dear Starbucks:

On behalf of all of us who believe that the United States is much, more more than a Christian nation, I want to extend my warmest gratitude to you for showing us some sensitivity, and standing up for the Red, White & Blue.

Your Red Holiday cups are a stroke of genius, because they were NOT a tribute to Jesus, or anything that could be remotely identified with Jesus—such as snowflakes, candy canes, reindeer, snowmen and, or course, Christmas trees. As a Jew, I appreciate this. I am guessing there are millions of American Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists , people who don’t eat candy canes, and yes—even many Christians—who feel the same way.

Every year, between Halloween and Christmas, we Jews are expected to go silently into the night, and smile politely while commerce and Christianity meld into one brand over every form of media and at most retail outlets. In fact, even Starbucks offers red and green-packaged ground coffee in “Merry Christmas” packaging.  When non-Jews toss us a bone of recognition around Hanukkah (like Starbucks’ own blue-packaged “Holiday” grinds)  we’re expected to feel grateful for the kindling of even the faintest light of acknowledgement—kind of like we’ve been forgiven once again for the death of Jesus, something we were never responsible for in the first place. Er….thanks, but no thanks. We’ll burn our own Menorah candles at both ends, thank you.

Ironically, the day there was such a brew-haha over your Red-suited Starbucks cups just happened to be the 77th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of the Broken Glass”, when Nazi’s and their sympathizers, smashed the storefront windows of Jewish merchants throughout Germany because they were…well, Jewish. It would not have surprised me at all to see some of the same Fundamentalist fanatics crazily critical of Starbuck’s Red menace, to have smashed the windows of Starbucks stores across the nation. That’s essentially what they tried to use social media to do. It’s so much neater that way, and they can’t get arrested for viral vandalism.

Apparently, what these Redcup-haters fail to recognize is that America is NOT a Christian nation, nor has it ever been since its’ inception. In fact, the country was founded, and the U.S. Constitution was adopted, to specially prevent having ANY state sanctioned religion.

As a free nation, we even fought two World Wars against such narrow-minded fanaticism and forced beliefs, and we’re fighting a war on worldwide terror for the same reasons. My father, a practicing Catholic, fought in one of those World Wars, and my wife’s uncle, an observant American Jew, died fighting for religious & cultural freedom against Fascist forces. Lost in the Deified design disagreement over a drink holder made of cardboard, was a Red, White & Blue program expanded by Starbucks for Veterans who have risked their lives to protect the freedom to practice the religion of our choice, or no religion at all.

According to the Washington Post, Starbucks not only used RedCup day to unveil its commitment to hire more veterans and military spouses, but also announced the expansion of its employee College Achievement Plan to cover the full tuition for a spouse or child of a veteran or active duty service member. Starbucks noted that it has hired some 5,500 Veterans & military spouses since 2013, more than halfway toward its goal of hiring 10,000 current or former service members or their spouses by 2018.

So, I salute you, Starbucks for your consideration of those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas, and respect the right of people who do. I also want to congratulate you for reinforcing the finest in human values, by generously giving back to our Veterans and their families, a small measure of how much they’ve given to all of us.

I’d say your Red, White & Blue spirit is enough to fill anyone’s cup—regardless of color, design or religious denomination.

Sincerely,

Steve Villano

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