All I want for Christmas

Posted: Dec 22, 2006 12:08 AM
All I want for Christmas

My six year old lost her two front teeth a few weeks ago and was thrilled that she would be able to sing “All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” with a big authentic gap this year. Needless to say, that song has gotten a lot of play around my house his Christmas. I started thinking this week about what I want for Christmas. Unfortunately, nothing I want will fit under a tree.

When I was a little girl I wore out the Sears “Wish Book,” putting dog ears on the pages and circling the toys I wanted with a marker. There isn’t anything I have my heart set on this year that could be found in a wish book. My list of wants is topped with the wish that my kids continue to be happy and healthy. Many of the items on my wish list though extend to the world outside of my family.

I could include the beauty pageant wish on my list and ask for “world peace” (or even “whirled peas” as the bumper sticker says). I am not even sure what world peace would look like, though, and judging by what currently passes for peace in some countries, it might even be somewhat overrated.

There are some other wishes, however, that would bring peace into my world if they ever were granted.

One of those things is a fair, honest, open and unbiased press. This gift would certainly lower my blood pressure significantly. I don’t think there is any way to completely remove bias from reporting, at least as long as humans are involved in the process, but there are quite a few guidelines that could be followed to improve on the current state of reporting.

One of those guidelines might be to start with the facts, rather than starting with a template and then squishing the facts to fit into it like a size ten trying to squeeze into a size seven shoe. Using credible sources would be a plus (preferably live, breathing ones), as well as using authentic documents. (Sorry, but “fake, but accurate” just isn’t good enough.) I am really dreaming on this one, but I would love to see political news stories reported fairly enough that I would be left wondering the political affiliation of the person, group or legislation being reported. Maybe if reporting was a bit more balanced there could be some progress made on the next item on my wish list.

I wish there could be more agreement on basic fundamentals between those on the left and right. The question, “can’t we all just get along” has become fodder for comedy bits, so I will rephrase it somewhat. Aren’t there a few things on which everyone can agree? In today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere, where President Bush’s “new tone” was met with a slap in the face, it seems almost impossible to get opposing sides to agree the grass is green, much less to agree on anything controversial.

There are a few things, though, that everyone should be able to agree to support. In the days following September 11, and continuing into the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, it appeared that even anti-war activists were determined not to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam by disrespecting the U.S. military. It seemed that all could agree on appreciation for those making such a sacrifice. Sadly, that has not held true. I wish that those on both sides of the aisle could fully appreciate the role the military plays in securing the freedom we all enjoy. Maybe if more of the accomplishments of our troops were reported as prominently as the problems created by a few, more people would fully appreciate their sacrifice.

Another wish I have is that there could be as much respect for diversity of thought (especially conservative thought) as there is for diversity of skin color. This would be especially valuable in our nation’s colleges and universities. Instead it seems that on a regular basis we hear of politically correct thought enforcers cracking down on students who dare to express conservative views, while at the same time some over-the-top conspiracy theory spouting professors are allowed to say and teach some truly outrageous things in the name of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

It would be cool if that acceptance of diversity could include Christians, too. Last year my daughters’ holiday program included no traditional Christmas songs referring to the birth of Christ. Instead the Christmas songs included were about snow, sleigh bells and reindeers. There were songs about Hanukkah and Kwanza, but no traditional Christmas songs. It isn’t just the traditional that doesn’t make the diversity cut though, even the generic “Merry Christmas” is no longer as acceptable as it was when I was a child.

My daughter’s front teeth are coming in quite nicely and the gap should be filled in a few more weeks. I wish the same could be said for the items on my wish list.