Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, as surely as blah, blah, blah. It was in the New York Sun in 1897 and is probably the most famous editorial ever blah, blah, blah. My boss made me run that on the editorial page every year. He left, so I quit running it. Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Leo, ho-ho-ho. I thought I had gotten rid of the silly thing for good, but I got this e-mail just the other day:
DEAR LEO: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says if it’s in Opening Arguments, it must be true. So tell me. Is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA.
I guess I have to answer her. We are supposed to be interactive these days.
Dear Virginia: I am very busy right now. You think I have nothing better to do than answer questions from silly little girls? I have passed your concerns along to a few other people in hopes that they might be able to address your concerns. Following are some of the responses I received.
GEORGE BUSH: Yes, it is true that I originally believed there is a Santa Claus. But if you look at the record, you will see that EVERYBODY believed it, including France and members of the Clinton administration.
TEDDY KENNEDY: It has become obvious that no one over the age of 8 continues to believe there is a Santa Claus. George Bush lied, children cried.
NANCY PELOSI: Hearings will begin on that issue shortly after the first of the year. We will focus specifically on the question of what ethical considerations might have been violated in connection with any promises that might have been tendered or exacted by the previous leadership in regards to all these "gifts." Rest assured that Christmas will now become a transparent holiday that the American people can once again have faith in.
AL GORE: Certainly he exists, but unless we change our ways, he is doomed. The North Pole IS MELTING as we speak!!!
GOV. MITCH DANIELS: It seems a disservice to taxpayers to try to get all those toys delivered on one night by one man. My administration is now in talks with Toys ‘R Us, and we should be able to get $1 billion up front for all-day kindergarten and a plan to save horse racing in Indiana.
MAYOR GRAHAM RICHARD: The problem isn’t Santa Claus, the problem is that we just haven’t made Fort Wayne attractive enough for him to stop here. We will take care of that in the next phase of our downtown redevelopment plan, which will require us to take over the top floors of all buildings through eminent domain for the installation of bigger chimneys.
THE INDIANA POLICY REVIEW: A study we commissioned by economist Sam Staley indicates that whatever illusion of "joy" and "good will" is created by this one day of gift-giving quickly dissipates before the first of the year. Anyone with a minimal understanding of economics will realize that a cost-benefit analysis reveals Santa’s mission to be a fool’s errand.
NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL PAGE: Santa Claus is merely encouraging dependency among a group of people who should learn self-sufficiency. When they get gifts for free on one day, merely by asking for them, they tend to expect the same treatment from then on, forgetting that they must only expect the benefits of their own hard work.
JOURNAL-GAZETTE EDITORIAL PAGE: "Santa Claus" is a polite fiction invented by conservative reactionaries who want us to believe that private charities can take the place of a compassionate government that best understands the needs of a diverse population and can redirect its resources accordingly.
INDIANAPOLIS STAR EDITORIAL PAGE: The evidence arguing against the existence of Santa Claus is persuasive, and mounting, but the heartfelt belief of generations of children cannot lightly be dismissed. Much further study is required.
I also received many responses from local bloggers. A lot of it was gibberish that I couldn’t quite make out, but a few comments stood out. Mitch Harper at Fort Wayne Observed pointed out that he was one of the first people in this area to support Santa Claus, pushing through a bill when he was a member of the General Assembly that made the jolly old man exempt from the gift tax. Angry White Boy at Fort Wayne News wonders why Santa, always seeking to have young people sitting on his lap, isn’t on a registry somewhere yet. Robert at Left of Centrist observes that Santa is surely a Democrat who secretly sat in at drums for the Beatles between Pete Best and Ringo Starr. Bob G. notes that, if Santa comes to southeast Fort Wayne, he might need more than a .38 special to protect his milk and cookies. I haven’t heard yet from Nancy Nall, but I understand that she has spent five minutes on Google researching everything there is to know about Santa and is prepared to smack down anybody who presumes to write too superficially about him.
As you can plainly see, Virginia, the world has changed. It is no longer the case that one overworked editorial writer will create something that tries to take one specific question from an 8-year-old girl in one city and make it touch a universal chord within all of us. There is no common ground anymore, Virginia. We are all just shouting into the well, hoping the echo makes us feel good. Go listen to your iPod, Virginia, or put the video of your teddy bear on YouTube. Some of us have serious personal issues we need to get out there in hopes that we get noticed.
P.S. I did send your query to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. He sent back 367 links. I don’t have time to check them out, but you might find one or two of them of interest. Tell Your dad to go back to his newspaper and stop being a troublemaker.
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