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Christmas wish list goes beyond gifts neatly wrapped

By Julie Doll
Special to Gannett Kansas

With Christmas about a week away, it’s time to send out my wish list.

At the top of the list is a wish that people would stop stereotyping people by their generation.

I don’t really mind the insults directed at us Boomers. By now, we’ve lived enough to toughen up and laugh at ourselves.

Boomers who aren’t at that point? Well, they just prove our critics correct.

But it is simple-minded to catalog individual people as selfish, ethical, honest, hard-working or any number of other adjectives based on when they were born.

There are, of course, generational differences. As technology, economic status, culture and family situations change, so do people’s behaviors and attitudes.

Research has quantified, for example, that millennials are more likely to support gay rights than are older generations. And Gen Z Americans (those born after 1996) are more likely to vote as young adults than were their parents or grandparents.

Translating generational trends into criticism of individuals, however, almost always misses the mark.

We all have heard people talk about how “workers today” or “kids today” can’t do math, spell or work hard.

That has not been my experience. From coast to coast, I have found that age has nothing to do with such attributes as honesty and dedication, or with math and spelling skills.

Rather, those who catalog people by age usually are attempting to lift their own worth by demeaning those who are younger — or older.

Number 2 on my list: I wish fewer people felt the need to share conspiracy theories. The spread of hogwash on social media and elsewhere does not bode well for our democracy.

Number 3: I wish videos of cats and dogs online would become passe.

Number 4: Ditto for selfies.

Number 5 is a gift exchange idea: I wish Republicans in Kansas would finally stop blaming Barack Obama for crap and that Democrats would stop blaming Sam Brownback.

Number 6: I wish people whose jobs depend on public funds thought a little longer before complaining about having to pay taxes.

Of course it’s their right as Americans to complain about taxes. It might even be a requirement.

But there’s definitely a logic disconnect when military personnel and other public employees bitterly complain about paying taxes — any taxes.

The same disconnect occurs among many Americans who get publicly funded pensions, or whose employers are government contractors. And then there are those who receive taxpayer-funded subsidies, Medicare and other government benefits.

Many of us want to believe the government funds and subsidies we personally receive are “earned,” but that virtually all the other stuff government spends money on is excessive or foolish.

What’s foolish is to simultaneously desire more government funds for ourselves while bitterly complaining about being required to pay taxes.

Number 7: I wish that politicians who choose to run for office — often spending millions of dollars — would stop trying to convince us that they don’t like politics at all, and that they aren’t really politicians.

Number 8: I wish authorities would enforce the laws that have been passed regulating email spam and telephone marketing.

Number 9: I wish that this time next year, we are all wishing one another Merry Christmas without masks — and with a calendar packed with plans for parties and visits to family and friends.

A native of Garden City, Julie Doll is a former journalist who has worked at newspapers across Kansas.