Merry Christmas, and clean up that garbage mess!

Merry Christmas, and clean up that garbage mess!

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Merry Christmas, and clean up that garbage mess!

I live my life by certain principles and conduct and I think that everyone should respect some basic commonsense and acts of respect in our society. These are mine.

By Ray Hanania

I live my life by certain concepts.

Don’t move next door to an airport and complain about the noise.

Don’t buy a big home at a cheap price in a region filled with forest preserves, and complain about the coyotes. Stand by the door and watch your dog when you let it out!

Pay attention to your children. Know what your kids do during the day. Do you realize they might be in a street gang and up to no good? Or do you close your eyes to the truth and when something happens you blame everyone except yourself?

Garbage cans line the streets in Chicagos suburbs. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Garbage cans line the streets in Chicagos suburbs. Lined up the way they should be. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

If your son is out on the street at midnight with a knife in his hand, don’t blame the police when they refuse to disarm or get down on the ground.

Say “Merry Christmas.” I don’t care if some people think it’s politically incorrect to say it. So, I’ll say it again. “Merry Christmas.” Christmas is both a religious celebration and a national holiday that is a major part of American culture.

From Jimmy Stewart in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”

That doesn’t mean we don’t respect other religions. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and Happy Ramadan, too.

America is more diverse today than ever, but that doesn’t mean that we must erase our cultural foundations. If you’re Jewish or Muslim, say “Merry Christmas” to a Christian. It’s the right thing to do. And I’ll say, “Happy Hanukkah” to Jews, “Happy Kwanza” to Blacks – if they celebrate it – and, “Happy Ramadan” to Muslims.

Don’t demand respect for yourself and not give it to others.

Handicapped parking spaces should be reserved for people who need assistance walking, not just because they are old or have another disability.

If you have a disability and can drive, that probably means you can park anywhere in a parking lot without a problem. If you don’t have a wheelchair, walker or cane do you really need to take that handicapped parking space?

Keep your home clean. It’s your reflection. Mow the lawn in the Spring and the Summer. Rake the leaves in the Fall. Shovel the snow during the Winter. Pick up the litter on your property.

Does your refrigerator look like a mess when you open it? That’s a reflection of your life, too. Clean up that reflection.

Slow down when you drive. You’re not Vin Diesel in a remake of “The Fast and the Furious.” The newly widened LaGrange Road is not the Indianapolis 500. Do you really have to go 55 in a 35 mph stretch of the road? Do you really have to speed to get in front of someone, and then slow down?

If you’re a real man, open the door and let the woman walk through first. You’re not being sexist! It’s amazing how many women look at me with surprise when I do that. Are today’s men that bad?

Thank the people who do those tough jobs no one wants. Give them some Christmas cash. The garbage man, the recycler, the mailman, and the lawn waste collector. They deserve it.

How about taking time to put that trash out properly? Have you seen how people just throw their garbage along the curb in broken boxes, ripped bags and knocked over garbage cans? Don’t just toss the garbage into a pile and expect it to be picked up. Put it out properly.

Finally, remember this holiday season a great conversation from one of my favorite Humphrey Bogart movies, “We’re No Angels” (1955):

Bogart: “I’m going to buy them their Christmas turkey.”

Aldo Ray: “Buy? Do you really mean ‘buy’?”

Bogart: “Yes, buy! In the Spirit of Christmas … The hard part’s going to be stealing the money to pay for it.”

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall political reporter. Email him at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
Ray Hanania