What I REALLY want for Christmas is no presents for me, first of all. Not even ammo, ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS TO BUY ME AMMO WHEN YOU WANTED TO BUY ME A PRESENT!!! Now, not even ammo.
Nope, I think I want just two things, and I can't rank them, because they are both life-changers. I'll start with what I think is the easiest thing I want; instead of buying me anything, including ammo, spend money on this.
NUMBER 1. Provide food, shelter, clothing, transportation, job training, and health care for someone who has limited access. Now, that can be money, or volunteer work, or donating items. In my opinion, the BEST programs are those that provide job training, along with social support, childcare, and so on. My PERSONAL favorite to recommend is the City of Refuge in Atlanta, which is located in the heart of the city, and provides all kinds of services; they even are staging a fund-raiser fight, between the sweet lady who runs the safe-house and long-term care housing program for survivors of sex trafficking; three rounds between her and whoever dares get into the ring with her.
Another great local organization I have personal experience with is Must Ministries. When I was working with the Cherokee County School System, they often helped families we served, and they do great work.
My own home church also is worthwhile, but I don't want to give a link to what we are doing, since some might find it self-serving. However, If requested, I'll make a link in the comments.
So: That's my number 1 request. Don't get me ANYTHING; instead, make a donation to one of these or other similar organizations.
Note to my children: That doesn't count with respect to pictures of my grandchildren. You can give me all you want of those.
NUMBER 2: This one is way different, because it's not for ME, it's for the entire country. Mr. President, before you leave office, I ask to you to pardon all non-violent drug offenses, de-criminalize marijuana to the fullest extent you can, and commute all death sentences to Life Without Parole. Every dime that is spent on cops filling out paperwork on a marijuana bust is a wasted dime. Every dime spent by a prosecutor on death penalty case, instead of opting for LWOP, is a wasted dime.
LWOP won't actually enhance revenue, just slash expenditures, but if you can decriminalize marijuana, regulate it and tax it, you've just gone a long way toward paying for renewal of our infrastructure, which will create thousands of jobs, and that's a really good thing. It will automatically cut the guts out of a LOT of criminal enterprise, just as the ending of Prohibition did.
And note: this isn't something that is going to provide me with a ticket to dope city. I can't use marijuana, both because of the pain-treatment contract I signed, and because it makes me psychotic. I know that from experiments some 40+ years ago, and do not require additional evidence. Something about my brain chemistry; I'm assuming I'm riding the edge of insanity always anyway, and pot just pushes me over.
So, for those of you with influence in such things, don't wait for the Macy's Day parade. Start writing your checks to various homeless ministries and letters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue TODAY, and if we all make ourselves heard, we can make a change.
(P.S. Sometime ago, I commented that I felt discounted, because no one ever said "Pat, you are a frappen idiot." I penned this missive in the hope that that I will now unlock that achievement.