Christmas columns tend to be a little overdone, but I‘m going to set my hand to one anyway.

This has been a rough year for our country, between the continuing recession, political division at home, strife abroad and a general malaise world-wide it‘s hard to be hopeful (and how‘s that hope and change working out for you anyway?)

We could all use a Saint Nicolas to come in and give us a few gifts.

To that end, here is my Christmas list:

• An end to the hysteria over global warming/cooling/climate change/climate disruption. I‘m not convinced man is causing this particular problem, and the fact that the scientists who are proponents of that hypothesis are unwilling or unable to debate their opponents is telling. That being said, it is within the realm of possibility. It‘s also more than a little possible the Earth is either warming because of natural forces or simply not warming at all. Instead of whipping up a crisis and using it to force more regulation and government control of our lives, I would like for Santa to bring all the sides together for a reasoned debate on the subject.

• An end to the cries of racism every time someone opposes something the president does. I, for one, do not care that the man is black. My opposition to him has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with his policies. There is real racism out there, but you belittle the real victims every time the charge is made falsely.

• While we‘re at it, can we have an end to the victimhood culture Santa? Really, I‘d very much like to stop seeing individuals and groups act the victim in order to shut down debate. As the Rhode Island delegate said in the movie 1776, “Well, in all my years I ain‘t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn‘t be talked about.” Let us begin to sit down and discuss our grievances, like adults. Perhaps we can come to accommodation, perhaps not. Simply because you didn‘t get what you felt you deserved does not make you a victim, or entitle you to a large payday.

• On that note, perhaps Shakespeare was right, perhaps we should kill all the lawyers. I‘m kidding, mostly, but there‘s something wrong with a nation that produces many times more attorneys than it does engineers. I cannot be certain what this portends for our nation as a whole, but it can‘t be good. I would like for Santa to bring real tort reform, and to return common sense to the law.

• Actually, can we just have a national infusion of common sense? I have noted before that common sense doesn‘t seem to be particularly common, but as a nation we seem to have gone stark raving mad. We sue over the slightest insult. We use the law to block needed water to farmers because a minnow might be hurt, putting hundreds of families out of business. We have rolling blackouts and major cities which resemble third-world nations because environmentalists use the law to block needed power plants. Development with no damage is impossible. Of course we should seek to minimize it, but we should not destroy ourselves to protect the great spotted snail lizard, either.

• One more thing, let us all, of whatever religion remember the reason we celebrate at this time of year. Can what Jesus taught, love for your fellow man, love for God and self sacrifice are principals worth living, whatever your faith?

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. He can be emailed at editorial@columbusdailyadv.com.)