Our field reporter, Carlos O'Malski, takes an inside look into the demise of Christmas and why we may never celebrate it the same again. This is his five part series.
July 15th, 2007 - Chicago, IL - I follow the throng of reporters into the courtroom and find my assigned seat. We all rise as Judge Miskinhaufer enters and wait for the command to be seated. After the formalities, the real action begins.
First up on the stand, a lovely young African-American woman. She sobs and at times it is hard to follow what she is saying through hands clenched over her face. She tells a story of verbal assault, the trauma of what was done to her and how she does not feel that life can ever be the same after the brutality of the accused. Others soon follow, telling of similar violations against them.
During this time, the accused sits upright, eyes forward (at times gleaming, as if holding back tears) and does not lean into his lawyer to whisper. He is an elegant looking older gentleman, with white hair and a full white beard. His cheecks seem to glow, but the normal twinkle of his eyes seems to have flickered out. His suit is navy blue today, not his usual red with white trim. As a man approaches the stand, his expression does not change.
On the stand, the Rev. Al Sharpton begins to speak of the horrific ordeals the accused has put these and countless other women, specifically African-American women, through. He begins to recount tales from those who could not make it and the counsel for the defense raises an objection. The judge overules him. He sits back down.
Rev. Sharpton explains how it is that the accused, a white man, cares not for the feelings of the women of this country. How his insensitive comments have become a common household phrase. How it has made its way into many aspects of our culture. Music, movies, TV, books to name the major ones. He says it is time to stop the abusive language and become a more civilized nation.
He stands and shouts, "No more can the black woman stand by and let this big, fat white bigot continue to infiltrate our children and society with his shouts of 'Ho Ho Ho'."
Loud cheers erupt from the courtroom that the judge made little attempt to stem.
The jury leaves and returns within minutes.
The verdict is for the complainant. An undisclosed amount is awarded. Also he is to no longer use the phrase "Ho Ho Ho" ever again. This includes his home, his car, his sleigh, his workshop, the local bar and in dreams.
Santa Cluase and his counsel leave the back way straight into their awaiting mini-van.
Rev. Sharpton and the witnesses go out the front door to make statements and congratulate each other.
Next: Santa makes a comeback