Santa, baby, just slip a little something useful under America’s Christmas tree. We don’t need hoverboards, Apple watches, drones or the pie face game.
Our country needs courage. Reason. Sanity. But we’d settle for sedation.
Maybe a Valium in every stocking? Probably not. And if Santa did bring us some meds to soothe our collective rage, pharma bro Martin Shkreli would find a way to price gouge it.
There is too little Christmas spirit and too much fear and outright hatred.
The calligraphy threat
A Virginia school district totally shut down for a day last week after a geography teacher assigned kids to try their hand at Arabic calligraphy.
The top of the work sheet said “practicing calligraphy.” And then, “Here is the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”
The text was religious, though it was never translated for the students. It’s something like the Lord’s Prayer in Christianity.
The school was flooded with angry and threatening calls and emails from people worried their children were being indoctrinated in Islam. It received pictures of beheaded bodies and calls for that geography teacher to be fired. Or her head on a stake.
A young, rebel country founded on the basis of religious freedom by patriots who faced insurmountable odds and risked life and family under the harshest of conditions is afraid of . . . calligraphy?
Santa baby, just slip a little reason under the tree there, will ya?
On Monday morning, the schools in Nashua, N.H., closed after a threat of violence supposedly aimed at two high schools. This, of course, follows the closing of the entire Los Angeles County school district after officials received similar threats last week.
The overreaction is understandable. There have been nearly 150 shootings on school campuses since 20 first-graders and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary rampage three years ago.
Oh, wait. A university professor in Florida insists that the Sandy Hook massacre was all a hoax and even harassed parents of one of the children killed, demanding proof that their little Noah was real and evidence they are the rightful owners of their dead child’s photographic image.
Don’t we all wish that weren’t real.
Instead of passing common sense background checks and other limits that the majority of responsible gun owners support, the majority of our lawmakers did absolutely nothing.
Out of fear. Fear of the gun lobby and their millions in campaign cash and their army of angry voters.
Santa baby, slip some courage under their trees, please.
This week, as Christians across the country and the world celebrate the birth of a baby to two Middle Eastern refugees seeking shelter in a stable, too many people are buying into crazy talk about refugees, immigrants and Muslim Americans.
People have raised the possibility of internment camps for Muslims. The leading contender in the Republican race for the Oval Office has suggested that Muslims not be allowed into the country.
Earlier this month, I met the family of a Muslim Daisy Scout who worries she’ll never be able to leave America because she won’t be let back in. My children’s own classmates have worried aloud that the Muslim children in their school will be seized and deported.
More than half of the nation’s governors have said that Syrian refugees fleeing the holocaust in their homeland will not be welcome in America. There are few things less charitable than that stance.
Thousands of people gather at rallies staged by Donald Trump to cheer insults aimed at Muslims, Latinos, women, protesters, Republican rivals and anyone else he feels moved to heap hatred upon.
In Texas, Agriculture Secretary Sid Miller has declared that he is going to slap anyone who wishes him “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” this season.
It keeps getting harder to recognize our country amid all this ugly, mean-spirited rhetoric.
Santa baby, please bring this country courage. Tie a bow around some reason. Pack a giant heap of sanity into all our stockings. Hurry down that chimney.
The Washington Post
Petula Dvorak is a Washington Post columnist.