I guess the reduction in school attendance has eliminated a seasonal staple from the news cycle. You know the story: A kindergarten or early grade teacher sends young students home crying by claiming that there is no Santa Claus.
Said teacher proudly grabs 15 minutes of praise from religious zealots on the one hand and the disgust of decent human beings on the other.
But, the similarities between Santa and God as worshiped by most Christians are striking. Both operate a reward-and-punishment judicial system. Do good, you get a gift or heaven. Do bad, and it’s a lump of coal in your stocking or that lit coal under your bare feet.
Santa could serve as a perfect stepping stone exemplar for introducing young minds to a different level of the same theology.
But, that doesn’t mean that Santa forgets us as we grow older. And, for those who think they might be too old to ask him directly, let’s see what we might wish for them:
• Backbones would be fine for the spineless Republicans who keep kowtowing to Donald Trump’s ridiculous lies about the election he just lost. They are embarrassing and threatening the country as long as they cower from the threat of the Trumpista base taking them on in a primary. A sense of shame would serve them well, too.
• Sports fans could use a dose of reality or compassion. Their insistence that athletes keep risking their health and live inside bubbles for public amusement and to line the coffers of TV networks, universities, billion-dollar industries and the gambling community shows a woeful skewing of priorities.
• The U.S. Postal Service – my packages arrived in a timely fashion — deserves leadership committed to its development and preservation instead of trying to destroy it so that profiteers can take over (and manipulate) the very essential service of keeping communication in this country free-flowing.
• The American airways could use a return of the Fairness Doctrine, which would curtail the constant stream of lies from faux news sources. It is because people grew up under the doctrine of guaranteed fair play that they assume what they hear on radio or see on TV is accurate. Now, seeking confirmation over information, they question the legitimate sources that remain.
• I would like to see Greta Thunberg get the international leadership she needs (as do we) to stem the climate crisis. She has constantly urged world leaders to “listen to the experts.” Perhaps those profit-first presidents, premiers and prime ministers could use good ear-cleanings as well.
• It would be nice for my allies on the left to remember that moderate Democrats are not the enemy, and that energy expended on in-fighting is not only energy wasted, but energizes our true political foes.
• Similarly, it would be less boring and much less hypocritical if my opponents on the right could make up their minds whether “states’ rights” and “local control” apply only if it means they get the results they want.
• American workers need a decent, livable minimum wage.
• American millionaires and billionaires need to get tax statements reflecting the benefits they receive from our economic system.
• We all need effective COVID-19 vaccines – and, until then, neighbors who value the lives of everyone enough to take such minimum precautions as wearing masks and social distancing.