Opinion Column

Keep Santa out of politics 0

KATHRYN MARSHALL, 24 HOURS

We're used to seeing Santa in familiar places - squeezing down chimneys; gobbling cookies and milk by the fire and delivering festively wrapped parcels with the help of his reindeer allies in a shiny, sturdy sleigh.

One place we're not used to seeing Santa is politics. Thank goodness for that, considering the number of politicians that must make it on the naughty list. Santa is wise to stay non-partisan.

Jolly Old St. Nick is one of the most recognized faces in the world and his 'ho-ho-ho' endorsement would certainly go a very long way.

Santa's objective is to deliver merriment and candy canes, not votes. He doesn't care about public opinion polls, he cares about the North Pole, and all the toys he and his elves make there.

In a world where everything seems divisive and political, Santa is refreshingly universal. Conservative or liberal, we can all unite in our common adoration of Mr. Claus.

Yet there are some groups out there trying to politicize Santa. That's right, they want to ride the red coat tails of his success and use him as a festive pawn to sell their message and cash in.

Recently, the David Suzuki Foundation launched a campaign claiming, "the North Pole is no longer safe for Santa's workshop" due to global warming.

The campaign features a distraught looking Santa, and asks people to cough up some coin.

I don't recall Santa ever asking people to open their wallets for him. Mr. Kringle is a giver, not a taker.

This past weekend in Vancouver, Santa was used as part of a protest for International Migrants Day to stand up for the rights of Mexican farm workers in BC. He displayed a politicized naughty list and collected wish letters.

Last I checked, Santa doesn't make his naughty list public, and he doesn't use his wish lists as political tools.

He leads parades, not protests. He distributes toys, not leaflets and petitions.

There are plenty of worthy causes out there that could benefit from the backing of Mr. Claus and the influence, credibility and public support he brings with him.

But Santa doesn't take sides, and he doesn't have an ulterior agenda. He's in it for one thing: bringing joy and warming hearts.

So let's keep Santa out of politics, and let him keep bringing smiles to children.


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