Saturday, December 15, 2012

Is This the Best You Can Do?

Photo:  SantaCon, SF
December 15, 2012

Dear SantaCon Santas,

Yesterday 20 sweet, innocent first-graders and seven educators were senselessly killed in cold blood at their school and today you’re gallivanting around the city in fuzzy red suits, blocking the sidewalks, screaming drunken obscenities at pedestrians from cab windows, and littering our neighborhoods as though they’re the basement of your fraternity house?  Is this the best you can do?  Really?!?

Six weeks ago, the worst storm in our region’s history left thousands homeless, and many others with endless cleaning up to do and you’ve spent today pub-crawling in a loud, rowdy group?  Is this the best you can do?  Really?!?

Each day from November 1 through the end of the year, The New York Times profiles an individual or family that benefits from the paper’s Neediest Cases Fund.  Illness, poverty, drugs, domestic violence, lack of education, and just plain hard luck figure prominently in these stark tales.  With so much in our world that needs fixing, how can you devote an entire day (and, no doubt, lots of money, too) to drinking in noisy, crowded bars, where you can’t possibly hear the person sitting next to you?  Is this the best you can do?  Really?!?

Yes, I know I sound old, crotchety, and judgmental, but the world is in dire need of new ideas, energy and passion—things you seem to have in great supply—and the best you can come up with is a day-long, raucous pub-crawl?  Really?!?

Perhaps next year you and your SantaCon buddies will devote your time, energy and passion to enriching our world? Perhaps instead of bar hopping in your Santa suit you’ll visit a children’s hospital or a homeless shelter?  Perhaps you’ll donate canned goods to a food pantry or deliver holiday packages to shut-ins?  Perhaps you’ll visit kids whose parents are in Iraq or Afghanistan?  Donate a pint of blood?  Help ban assault weapons?  Ensure that a woman's right to abortion remains legal?  Skip the beers and donate to the Marines’ annual Toys for Tots campaign instead?  Deliver a Christmas tree to a family that might not otherwise have one? 

Don’t like any of these ideas?  Devise one of your own.  Give to a charity of your choice.  Help an elderly neighbor string up his Christmas lights.  Shovel her driveway or sort her recyclables.  Read to kids in your old elementary school.  Tutor a kid who’s struggling with math.

There’s so much wrong with our world, SantaCon.  Ditch the alcohol and the Santa suit and help to make it right.