Dear Santa,

Although I have everything I need to be content, financially secure, healthy and happy, there are many gifts I wish for our country and people everywhere:

I wish for all our citizens to be united in supporting the democratic ideals put forth by our Founding Fathers where, although we may disagree with each other on policy, we can engage in civil discourse without lying and demeaning the opposition.

I wish for a government where compromise is no longer a dirty word and is instead recognized as a way forward. If every faction gives a little so that no one is completely satisfied with the result but everyone can live with it, that is the nature of democracy.

I wish for a time when issues are discussed using proven facts and when propaganda, “alternative facts,” “truthiness” and wild, unfounded conspiracy theories are recognized for what they are.

I wish for a time when all forms of news media and public broadcasting are required to report only verifiable facts and when opinions are both clearly labeled as such and are required to distinguish between fact and fiction in supporting the opinions.

I wish for a time when corporations are no longer considered “people,” and when the wealth and power of corporations and individuals can no longer be used to exert disproportionate influence on government.

I wish for an economic system that fairly rewards the contributions of its workers with at least a living wage and which treats everyone the same regardless of sexual orientation, race or religious belief.

I wish for a system of taxation that recognizes that the cost of doing business should reflect the social, health and environmental costs, not just direct costs, and one that no longer supports extreme income and wealth inequality.

I wish for a health care system that is accessible and affordable for everyone, a system that rewards prevention as well as treatment of disease and recognizes that stopping the spread of disease is the responsibility of everyone, not just the medical community. I wish for the right for decisions about one’s health and treatment to be between only the person and their physician.

I wish for a world in which the right to worship as you wish regardless of religion is inviolate and in which no particular religion is allowed to impose its beliefs on others. I also wish that all religions would acknowledge that there are levels or stages of spiritual consciousness and would provide the guidance and encouragement needed to advance to “higher,” more inclusive levels of consciousness when the seeker is ready.

I wish for a world whose peoples recognize that the choices each nation makes affect not just that nation but all other nations and that exploiting the resources and population of one nation to benefit another should be actively discouraged.

Santa, I know this is a lot to ask, but I believe all this is both possible and that it will ultimately be a gift to the entire world.

Gary O’Connor is a Powderly resident and Lamar County Democrat Party chair.

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