I’ve discussed how the rightwing noise machine dominates the national debate:

There is a simple formula for rightwing dominance of our national debate, even when Democrats are in charge: move the conversation as extreme right as possible, then compromise toward the far right. Negotiation 101. And it’s completely lost on Democrats.

It’s no accident that in 21st century America, torture has been mainstreamed, climate denial has taken firm hold, book burning, racial dog whistles and brazen religious intolerance are part of our discourse and par for the course. This is how the right plays the game, using Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox, Drudge, blogs, chain emails, talk radio, etc. to shamelessly and defiantly drag the conversation as far right as possible.

So when we see seemingly inane local controversies brewing, we should keep in mind that these can quickly become national conflagrations if the right determines it’s a way to manipulate the public discourse.

In that regard, the “war on Christmas” has been raging for years and now it seems the war on Happy Birthday has begun:

Fox News Radio’s Todd Sterns reported that a Missouri elementary school tried to ban the singing of “Happy Birthday To You” in order to be “sensitive” about those students that might find singing in public to be “offensive.”

In a letter sent home to parents, school Principal Jodi Davidson (pictured) explained that the ban on the venerable song was because, “singing is not permitted due to the sensitivity of all student beliefs.”

As soon as outraged parents began to complain, our supersensitive principal reversed course and on August 23 sent a letter rescinding the ban.

UPDATE: Over at Legal Insurrection, there’s apparently some confusion about what I’m getting it, so I’ll clarify further. The myth that the left is trying to destroy venerable cultural institutions is the larger frame for the “war on Christmas.” Even though this birthday story is seemingly insignificant, it fits into that larger liberal-bashing frame. In today’s climate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see mainstream outlets pick it up and run with another manufactured ‘controversy’.