"And the beat goes on..........................."
I've got a long list this year. I don't mean to be greedy, but these are things I need. And not just me Santa, but everybody on your list I think. Now I know most of those who write to you are kids and that kids want toys and stuff. I'm no kid anymore. And I don't want toys. But what I want is, I think, crucially important to not only the future of those kids, but their very survivability.
The world's in a mess Santa. Across the planet there has been a trend towards authoritarian regimes, and now frequently those governments are military dictatorships. Increasingly freedom is under attack - free speech, academic freedom, freedom from hunger and pain, freedom to live one's life quietly and with dignity. Increasingly, Santa only a select few are able to enjoy the economic freedom to live quality lives. Wars are everywhere. Intolerance and hatred is growing.
And I understand Santa, that most people when asked, will tell you they want money and things, and I'm sure they do. But I think deep down, most people want what I am going to ask you for - and that the things I hope you will bring to the world are the very things that will make them safe and protect their children.
So here's what I want for Christmas Santa. I'll spell it out for you:
Civility. The world could use a little more civility Santa. Just some common respect and fair treatment for everyone no matter who you are, where you are, your station in life or what you believe. Enough so we can at least communicate.
Honesty. Public corruption and greed are on the rise Santa. Too often, lies and deceit are the norm. It's hard to know where the truth lies anymore. It's become far too common to just make stuff up and falsely accuse, and, unfortunately, too many people are swayed by false arguments and end up acting against their own self interests. And more than that Santa, it's as though everyone sees everyone else as fair game, as a target to be exploited. We need a return to when honesty was a value worth preserving, a value which everyone saw as the underpinning of our living together. And we need the courage to embrace that value in our public lives, and challenge those that trash it.
Reason. I'm afraid that rational thought and reasonableness are being threatened Santa. Facts are no longer important, evidence is irrelevant. It's as though it's fashionable to be irrational. We decry thinking, and applaud raw emotion, and that can't serve us long.
Intelligence. We use to value intelligence Santa. We use to understand that what we called being "smart" was a good thing; that as human beings, use of our faculties and cognitive thinking to meet the challenges we face was to be lauded. We use to put a premium on the evolution of our brains, but now that seems something to fear, to make fun of and disparage. It's almost as though being stupid is "cool", or at the very least it just doesn't matter.
Sanity. Santa, a certain malaise, a form of insanity, seems to have engulfed the world. It's hard to offer any other explanation for the things people are doing, then that sanity is on the wane. It's like a collective mental breakdown is at hand. We need to restore basic sanity to the world somehow.
Tolerance. Intolerance has gripped the planet Santa. Everywhere dogma rules thinking. It seems nowhere any longer are people willing to live and let live, nowhere are people willing to let other people have any beliefs different from their own. At the very least Santa, we need some decency in this world, where people can find it within themselves to mutually allow other people to live their lives with just a modicum of respect. It's become far too easy to demonize all the "others" in the world, and dismiss them as the enemy, and that Santa has resulted in increased cruelty and indifference everywhere. We won't survive if that continues.
Maturity. Santa, it seems like too many of the adults in the world are acting like petulant, spoiled children, and this immaturity is celebrated rather than criticized. We desperately need to bring back some maturity to how we act - especially by our public officials. We don't just need a grown up in the room, we need everyone in the room to be a grown up.
Art. This is a very personal and selfish item on my list Santa, I include it because art is one of the few things left that speak to our higher instincts and better qualities. Art represents an affirmation of life; it's our appreciation of beauty and a manifestation of our more lofty aspirations. Our souls and spirits need the kind of nourishing that art provides.
Sensitivity. There is too little caring in this world now Santa. We need more compassion for our fellow human beings, and to encourage people to act to help where possible. Suffering is so ubiquitous that we've become indifferent. Callousness ill serves our species. No one person can save the world Santa, but together, we might. A little goodness in the collective psyche might be a start.
Merry Christmas Santa. Can you help?
I know my list is usually beyond what you do, but I and the world are desperate Santa. It will take a miracle for my wish list to come true, but your very existence is a miracle - you are the very embodiment of all the things I'm asking for.
And it's all these things that are essential Santa, if we are ever to truly have PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
Thanks Santa. And if these things don't come to pass right away, I understand Santa that it's each of our jobs to try to get us there somehow.
Merry Christmas, and the Happiest of Holidays to you all.