Newmann: Keeping the sleigh on the rails |

Newmann: Keeping the sleigh on the rails

Tom Newmann
Valley Voices

“He’s making a list, and checking it twice; Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” — “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

Tom Newmann

Gosh, who’s more thorough than Santa? He’s got the scoop on every child. He certainly knows if they’ve been bad or good. And he takes great pains to check, even double check, his list of all the little tykes’ behaviors.

But once Mr. Claus has the initial goods on the kids, he moves on to other important stuff, like keeping a great working environment for the elves or making sure that the reindeer are in top-notch shape. No need to keep checking his list of kids again and again. And again. He’s already knows. Why waste the time and effort when the list has already been vetted a couple of times?

Santa, with his grasp of efficiency, would be (and probably is) appalled by the apparent need of some lawmakers to count and recount and recount again ballots from an election that has already had those same ballots counted and recounted and then recounted again.

He’d be equally alarmed at some of the same representatives’ lack of cooperation for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol.

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Maybe some of the folks on Capitol Hill who are squawking for an umpteenth recount or have steadfastly refused to approve an independent commission could actually do something useful … like spending the summer working in Santa’s toy factory. Because, as fanciful as that occupation may be, the infatuation with a supposedly stolen election, combined with stonewalling an investigation of the Capitol riot, is even more fanciful. The folks spearheading these two movements would do well to heed a refrain from the above song:

“You better watch out!

You better not cry.

Better not pout … “

Santa is all about civil behavior. Unfortunately, crying and pouting seem to be a norm in many aspects of the political arena. Plus, lots of fingers pointing and name-calling. Talk about naughty — and not nice. And a complete waste of time.

We have a multitude of issues that need to be addressed by real live grownups on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The problem, of course, is finding such adults … and then getting them to actually try to work together. On productive stuff.

Santa is all about positive productivity. Conjuring him up now, in the summertime, might seem like a bit of a stretch. But he’s not just a winter guy. He’s also an over-arching jovial spirit of decency and, above all, humanity. Plus, he has an excellent handle on human nature.

So, if our representatives want all of us to have decent Christmas presents next December (and not just lumps of coal in our stockings), it would behoove them to get it together now, shed the acrimony — and actually work together toward productive goals for the nation as a whole.

And, while they’re at it, they should keep in the back of their minds this final reminder about Santa:

“He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”

Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at

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