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Opinion: This is what we really want for Christmas
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Christmas trees are decorated with ornaments. - photo by Austin Steele

With only a few days to go, we are well beyond the point where it is “beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and deep into the season of holiday lights, repetitious carols, hyperactive consumerism and a remarkably benevolent time of year that truly provides us with annually renewed hope that one day there may be “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

Maybe not right now, but one day.

A highlight of the season for youngsters and parents alike is the anticipated visit of Ol’ St. Nick on Christmas Eve, bringing with him gifts requested by eager children in whispered conversations upon Santa’s lap and in meticulously penned letters addressed to the North Pole.

Though the date may be late, we’d like to add a few items to Santa’s list, in hopes that the jolly old elf might see fit to include some special requests upon his sleigh.

The Times editorial board

Staff members

  • Norman Baggs, general manager
  • Shannon Casas, editor in chief

Community members

  • Cheryl Brown
  • David George
  • Mandy Harris
  • Brent Hoffman
  • J.C. Smith
  • Tom Vivelo

Dear Santa …

Could you bring an end to those ongoing wars that most Americans forget are happening, and get all our men and women in the military home safe and sound? And maybe add an extra blessing of emotional comfort to your pack for all their family members.

Could you maybe see fit to return some semblance of sanity to our national government, and remind those we empower to serve us in Washington that they are there to practice the art of governing, not the art of politics? Could you please move us beyond the partisan impeachment debate and on to something a trifle more substantive, like making a dent in a national debt that is growing faster than your belly after a night of milk and cookies enjoyed millions of times in fewer than 24 hours.

A little closer to home, could the latest ruling in the never-ending “water wars” really signal the end of litigation that’s been around longer than some of your reindeer? And could we have a 2020 election year free of bias, controversy, misdeeds, improprieties, allegations and incompetency?

On a more selfish level Santa, could you please remind everyone how important it is that we have a vibrant free press in our nation that is financially viable, and that “free” means protected from government interference, not without cost to those it serves?

It would be a big deal, Santa, and hard to do, but do you think you could eliminate the word “racist” from our national vocabulary by doing away with any and all reasons for it to ever be used?

And while you’re at it, could you maybe return a little civility and respect to every stocking in every household, maybe by reminding us all that we are in this thing called life together, and while confrontational shock and in-your-face belligerence may make trolling on social media entertaining, it’s really a poor strategy for coping with people in real life?

Could you maybe remind us all that people with opinions different from ours have a right to believe what they believe and to speak out about those beliefs, and that doing so is not necessarily “fake news” nor “hate speech?”

Could you bring us an end to the health care crisis that is crippling our nation, so that those who need medical care can get it without having to have an advanced degree in the science of insurance and a loan from the federal reserve?

Could you bring us a little of the “vision” that once was intertwined in the American spirit, so that maybe we can figure out how to turn empty buildings into housing for the homeless, wasted food into meals for the hungry and willing adults into protectors of children from the predators who prey on them?

Could you toss a little something extra on the sleigh for the farmers upon whom we all depend, but whose livelihoods have become so threatened in recent years?

Santa, we have an epidemic of mental illness in our country. Could you bring us some hope and comfort for those who are afflicted, and an abundance of tolerance and understanding from those who are not.

And we could use a dose of that especially for the parents affected by mental illness, addiction and poverty who are struggling to care for their children and need some help. Can you find some willing adults to love them and their children through the pain of trauma and separation to give them the stability they need.

Finally Santa, as a nation we need a renewal of spirit, an injection of optimism, a freshening of hope. Could you maybe remind us all of the many blessings we enjoy, the quality of lives we lead, and the incredibly unique opportunities we have as part of a country founded on ideals of individual freedom, personal responsibility and social equality?

And Santa, it may take a little humility on your part, but could you also help us to remember as well that, as generous as you are with the Christmas packages, it’s not your birthday we’ll be celebrating on Wednesday? Remembering that might go a long way toward addressing some of those other things on the list.

Merry Christmas to all!

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