In this season of fighting over the true meaning of the season, I offer my short (and admittedly incomplete) list of things which could make the world a better place all year round:
1. End the War on Christmas and end it now
What does a truce in the War on Christmas look like? How would the eight weeks we partition off to mark the historically questionable day of Christ’s birth be different? What would this season be like if saying “happy holidays” (a contraction of “holy days”) instead of merry Christmas was no longer controversial? Largely the same.
Someone somewhere is trying to kill Christmas for everyone: It’s a straw man in a synthetic Santa hat. We celebrate this season discussing a phony war on a patched together holy day headed by a composite omnipotent mythical figure. This year it got particularly creepy when Megyn Kelly of Fox News declared both Santa and Jesus to be white.
It’s an imaginary war. Declare a make-believe armistice and, really, move on.
2. Stop targeting doctors in Syria
The “civil” war in Syria has been raging for more than two years now. The world was shocked by the images of chemical weapons being used on children in the conflict. And according to U.N. reports more than 100 doctors have been killed and around 600 have been jailed. Assad’s regime has effectively criminalized giving medical aid to the rebel faction. “Government forces deliberately target medical personnel to gain military advantage by depriving the opposition and those perceived to support them of medical assistance for injuries sustained,” the investigators said.
The family of British surgeon Dr. Abbas Khan was just told this week that he died days before he was to return home after a year of incarceration in Syria. He was imprisoned for treating patients.
3. Curb reporting conspiracy theories as valid opinions
“Evolution is just a theory,” begins the conspiracy theory about how scientists tempt people of faith by distracting them with monkeys! Death panels! “Comin’ to take our guns!” Bilderberg! Birth certificates! Obamacare! Vaccines! Conspiracy theory gets covered with the same deference as religion but with far less scrutiny. My theory: It’s a lazy way of reporting a story without actually doing any real research or investigation. Stop that.
4. Made in America: Massacres in South Sudan
We arm the world. We arm the children. We arm the ones who make a bloody scourge all over the world. “Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion [in 2011], or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals,” reports The New York Times.
So when there are massacres in places like the one this week in South Sudan killing more than 500—including women and children—those are our exports at work. We have a conflict when it comes to foreign conflicts. End the gun gag order.
5. Free Journalists!
In the U.S. we have a First Amendment right to a free press. (Also a First Amendment right to freely criticize said press.)
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 211 journalists are in jail around the world in 2013. Columbia Journalism Review writes, “Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists for the second year running, closely followed by Iran and China.”
(And while “moderate” Iran is freeing journalists they can release some hostages. Specifically the man whose wife describes as “America’s longest-held hostage,” Robert Levinson and the Iranian dissidents taken from Camp Ashraf in Iraq.)
Only one of those 211 journalists is in the United States. Roger Shuler is in jail in Alabama for denying a judge’s order to scrub his website. Congrats to Alabama – you’re up there with Turkey, Iran and China when it comes to freedom of the press!
6. End Affluenza—call it Kim Jong-un’s Disease
That’ll cure it, real quick.
Peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind. Happy holy days.