Yes, Virginia

Dear Editor,

I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in Flagpole, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?


Your dad is right about Flagpole. As for your little friends… what do you think, Virginia? An old man in a ridiculous suit, riding reindeer around the sky? You are eight years old now, Virginia!

When a grown-up tells you some strange story that no child could believe… ask yourself why, Virginia. Why do people on TV want you to buy the latest in this or that, or build up this person while tearing down another?

Look with childlike eyes, Virginia, when politicians promise to solve problems that nobody can see, but ignore the real ones all around… Or when they go chasing enemies near and far, yet have no friends here at home.

  What’s wrong, Virginia, when the poor are left no choices, and the wealthy few decide everything for their own benefit? When the land is destroyed around us to live for the present, yet nothing is saved for the future? When fear and ignorance are hawked like a magic drug, to make people powerless?

Virginia, there are times to believe the unseen, or glimpse the unknowable—to heed the still, small voice within. That is common to our human quest; let no one take it from you. But neither should you let men poor in spirit sell you cheap or mundane substitutes.  

When the frightened and ignorant dress up their prejudices as religion—don’t let their false virtue fool you. When power is stripped of vision or humility, what kind of patriotism salutes it? 

If Santa came to give us great gifts, what would they be, Virginia? Food for all? Cures for our sicknesses? Machines to end work? Something more? But what… ? Believe it or not , Virginia, the world will soon be in your hands. And when it is… what do you want it to be?