Detail from Flying Nun


Will Santa Win the Election?

Oct. 31, 2008
N.J. Lukanovich

T'was the night before voting, and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a louse.

The ballots were hung by the poll booths with care,
in the hopes that a great President soon would be there.

The voters were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...

Will the stockings be filled with the promise of a new America, the possibility of hopes and dreams fulfilled, or a lumpy pile of coal? Will the Grinch steal Christmas? Maybe knock Santa out of his sleigh with a sharp elbow to the ribs? Santa's grooming the reindeer and ready for flight; he's jolly and gracious and thus far averted the fate of Kerry and Gore, but even Santa's not taking anything for granted.

The Grinch has tried his level best to thwart Santa's efforts. He's stomped around on stumps making wild claims that Santa is a commie who will punish the successful and dash Joe the Plumber's dreams. Patriotic Americans need to remember that Christmas isn't about sharing, but about giving the rich shiny new toys. Keep the poor in their place because that's what they deserve.

The Grinch has a helper by his side, an evil fairy who stomps on stumps with a charming smile while thrusting the knife, claiming Santa pals around with terrorists and doesn't care about America, that he is nothing short of a fool and a hooligan who will drag America into a socialist miasma of poverty.

But Santa is tough as nails and chuckles at the attacks, delivers rebuttals with graceful aplomb. His wife is also a smooth customer, preparing for voting day without a frisson of visible resentment, and Santa's helpers are a capable and industrious lot. On the whole, it all looks pretty good for the Christmas crew. America will probably see its way to making the change that's so desperately desired, not only by many Americans, but the rest of the world.

If American voters put another Republican administration in power, the fear and loathing of the Bush administration will transform into fear and loathing of Americans themselves. Not fair for those who aren't voting Republican, but then not much in life is particularly fair. It's certainly not fair that less powerful nations are subjected to the whims of an angry America, a nation riled itself up into a such state of paranoia it's lost its shine as a beacon of hope and freedom.

A world Gallup poll conducted from May to October shows 3-1 support for Obama. The only countries that would choose McCain are Georgia and the Phillippines. Obama has not only managed to inspire Americans, he's stirring up dreams of a more benevolent America for both America's allies and its foes; neither of whom wish to be dragged into any more wars.

I believe that lurking in the heart of many, is the hope that a change for America could mean a change for the world. War is a distraction from a multitude of other issues across the globe that cause endless heart break and sorrow; war is something that should be reserved for stopping genocide. A successful war is one that saves more lives than it takes.

There's a number that keeps rolling about in my mind, the number of children that die every day from starvation and poverty related illnesses: 30,000. It's a number that's hard to absorb, a number so large it begs disbelief. How is it possible that 30,000 children are dying every single day from poverty? There needs to be some kind of leadership that makes this number matter, and religious leaders have failed.

Imagine a little girl being tucked into her bed after saying her prayers. Her mother pulls up the covers and the girl asks: "Mommy, why does God hate little children?" And the mother looks shocked and says "God loves little children." And the girl replies: "So is it just people that hate little children?" The majority of Americans profess to be religious, as does the vast majority of people around the globe. Leaders from all major religions claim their religion is non-violent, and promotes caring and justice, and yet 30,000 children are dying every day. Maybe it's time that people stop relieving their consciences by following a religion, and instead, remember their humanity and begin to think and vote in ways that force leaders to take action against poverty. The "people" do have power in democracies, despite the many imperfections that include electoral systems .

America is the richest nation in the world and it allows American children to suffer. It's still the most powerful nation in the world, and has tremendous influence. If the trillions spent invading Iraq had been spent on projects that would help people in desperate regions in the long term, then America would have a shine that couldn't be denied. Freedom and justice in America might be seen as a real phenomenon instead of words that inspire cynicism and ghoulish laughter.

Leaders can steer humanity into horror or greatness, and while many in America still aren't sure who to vote for, because "Obama promises a lot of things but I don't know if he can do them," the only way to find out if he can make the promise real is to allow him the opportunity. Mass desperation may in part be responsible for casting the glow of greatness upon Obama, but perhaps he truly is a great leader, and capable of instigating change and not just inspiring hope.

Obama can only create change if he is given the trust of the people; if they believe in him enough to help manifest the changes. Santa may be a fiction, but he still manages to shimmy down those chimneys and deliver the goods. For many, Santa is a reliable dream more real than God. A great leader that delivers has a far bigger impact than any imagined gods. And a powerful Grinch, a leader without compassion, is far more damaging than any devil.