December 18th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Letters to the President: #698 'Oh! Christmas tree!'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama asked for advice a long time ago, and I’ve been sending letters pretty much every day since. They’re not all full of advice, but they are certainly persistent.

Dear Mr. President,

I am so glad it is Saturday. I’ve mentioned how much work has been stacking up lately, but you don’t know the half of it. Or maybe you do. I assume from your lack of phone calls or letters back to me that you must be pretty busy yourself.

Did you see this absurd story out of Birmingham, Alabama, about the vandals/thieves/Scrooges who set fire to the town’s Christmas tree? Apparently it was some kind of wacky bid to steal about $20 worth of copper wiring. The details of this crime remain shaky for me. I can’t figure out precisely how it would have been a money making venture for the miscreants even if it had worked properly. I mean, subtract the gas to get there, their time, the matches, the work to snatch up a bunch of smoking hot copper wiring…I just don’t see the profit margin being worth the effort.

In any event, it really makes we wonder what some folks are thinking these days. I know times are tough. I know a lot of people feel kind of desperate. But burning down the Christmas tree?

Maybe some people see things like Christmas trees, 4th of July parades, and concerts in the park as quaint relics of yesteryear which deserve no more respect than say, a dumpster or a newspaper box. (Speaking of relics…)

But I don’t think so. I believe a lot of the things we do (while admittedly not supported by the entire population) help knit the majority of the community together; help remind us that we can respect diversity while also celebrating what we have in common, including a celebration of Christmas.

We bought a beautiful painting many years ago in Santa Fe of people gathered in the night around a giant bonfire of old Christmas trees. We were told that it was inspired by what was then (and maybe now for all I know) an annual observance of 12th night in Pelham, New York. This, of course, has nothing to do with what happened in Birmingham, but I was just reminded of it. If you stop by some day remind me to show it to you.

Not much of a letter, I know, but I need to take care of some things so I’m sort of in a hurry. More tomorrow. Call if you can.


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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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