- - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when several unexpected visitors showed up at the North Pole.

The first one wore what had to be a $3,000 suit. “I’m Elf Sharpton,” he began, “here to tell you: No union, no peace, no Christmas!”

Elf Sharpton handed Santa Claus a legal-looking document. “We went to the National Labor Relations Board,” the elf said, “and they’ve ordered an election before midnight, to unionize everyone in your workshop.”

Santa was puzzled. Nobody had told him that President Obama’s appointees had authorized snap elections with scant notice to employers. Walking to the window that overlooked the floor of his workshop, Santa saw a line of people already voting.

Most of the voters were elves, with a few reindeer mixed in. But others clearly were not from the North Pole. They wore shorts, sunglasses, and purple T-shirts. Santa told his visitor, “They should not be voting.”

“No discrimination,” Elf Sharpton boomed. “You must have same-day registration. And no voter ID!”

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As Santa watched, a banner was strung up on the factory floor. It read: “ELF: Elven Labor Force Local No. 1.” A second line said, “Short people shouldn’t be short-changed.”

Still shaking in shock, Santa greeted his next visitor, a woman.

“I’m from OSHA,” she said. She looked curiously like Betty Friedan but said her name was Clarencia. She rang a bell in Santa’s face. “Naughty, naughty,” she said. “Your workers deserve a wonderful life, but we’ve had reports of dangerous working conditions here.”

Santa assured her that he scrupulously followed every safety regulation. But she would hear none of it.

“Those reindeer,” she began, “have been spotted working at great heights with neither scaffolding nor a safety net to catch them if they fall. Plus there’s the radiation hazard. They’re being exposed to a red nose that obviously is radioactive. Either you fix it immediately or we shut you down right now.”

Clarencia had brought a consent decree which Santa felt compelled to sign, lest children all over the world would miss Christmas the next day.

St. Nick immediately logged onto Amazon and ordered a special delivery. Within 30 minutes, a drone came over the horizon and delivered his order. Santa rushed the package to his stables, providing parachutes to Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, plus Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Santa also gave Rudolph a pink slip. Immediately, all the other reindeer began laughing and calling him names. They refused to let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Santa sighed, but knew that the forecast called for a non-foggy Christmas Eve.

Back at his office, Santa was interrupted again. This third visitor introduced himself as the Bureaucrat of Christmas Presents and handed Santa a thick bundle.

“These are notices of multiple violations,” he intoned.

There was a summons from the EPA for failure to submit an environmental impact statement before locating his workshop at the North Pole. The Army Corps of Engineers declared the entire area a wetland, because any day the snow would be melted by global warming.

The EEOC was suing because some children received coal in their stockings. First, it was illegal to discriminate between who’s naughty and who’s nice. Second, it was racially offensive to use black coal as a symbol of punishment.

The IRS gave notice that Santa’s tax-exempt status was being revoked. Some of his gifts had gone to tea party folks; the IRS said these were illegal campaign donations.

Before Santa could absorb it all, a microphone was shoved in his face. It bore the NPR logo. “How do you feel, Santa?” asked the female reporter from North Pole Radio. “Are you ready to quit being an extremist and compromise? Will you share your wealth with people who don’t believe in Santa Claus? Or will you quit your job?”

“No, Virginia,” he replied. “So long as there is hope in the world, there will always be a Santa Claus.”

He laughed in spite of himself. Nothing was going to stop Santa Claus. He would conquer any challenge on Earth. Santa felt he could even conquer the Martians.

Santa summoned up his strength. His eyes began to twinkle. His dimples were merry. His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his sleigh, ready to dash away from it all!

But out on the lawn there arose such a clatter that he sprang from his sleigh to see what was the matter.

And what to his wondering eyes did appear, but a horde of people headed to the North Pole. By the thousands and tens of thousands they were swarming toward him.

Suddenly, Santa did not feel so lively and quick. Nothing else done by the U.S. government could get him down. But now he was being invaded by illegal immigrants from south of the border.

“Oh, no!” Santa screamed. “Canadians!”

Ernest Istook is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. Get his free email newsletter by signing up at eepurl.com/JPojD.

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