Has Trump rightly busted the Santa Claus trope, or should he have done a Kennedy?

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First Published 26, Dec 2018, 6:40 PM IST
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Has Trump rightly busted the Santa Claus trope, or should he have done a Kennedy?
Highlights

US President Trump was trolled on Twitter for asking a 7-year old girl if she believed in Santa Claus. Should a leader play along or get real? 

Washington: US President Donald Trump is known for speaking his mind at times and so he did while answering calls from children on Christmas Eve. His question to a 7-year old girl, “Are you still a believer in Santa Claus? 'Cuz at seven it's marginal, right?" raised eyebrows around the world.

Trump’s response was compared vastly to President Kennedy’s response to a girl named Michelle in 1961 who wrote to him to stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole. President Kennedy’s reply was, "You must not worry about Santa Claus. I talked with him yesterday and he is fine. He will be making his rounds again this Christmas."

 

While clearing comparing two different personalities, Trump gained a lot of criticism for, what most people would consider, bursting their Santa bubble. Should a country’s President though sustain the superstition?

To keep with tradition, to this day, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks the whereabouts of Santa on December 24. This is done in order to keep season of Christmas and Santa alive in every child on Christmas. This 63-year old tradition, however, came about because of a misprint in a newspaper.

 It started in 1955, when a Colorado newspaper advertisement misprinted a phone number to connect children with Santa and mistakenly directed them to the military nerve centre hotline. To avoid disappointing the eager children, NORAD's director of operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, asked his staff to check the radar to see where Santa might be and update the children on his location. And the story of the Santa tracker continued to this day where volunteers are armed with a 14-page playbook with talking points to respond to queries from excited children.

It would have been wrong for us to assume that Trump would play by the book though. The understandable ire of people when Trump made the child doubt the existence of Santa Claus, was seen through the numerous trolls on Twitter.
 

 

 

Millions of dollars are made during Christmas Season. The retail industry, movie industry and all commercial establishments benefit hugely during the Christmas sales. It calls for many traditions across the globe and everyone hugely benefits. The removal of Santa’s existence from the minds of children would cost everyone dearly to say the least.

Was the President just getting real though? An utterance in what seemed to be him speaking his mind, saw him dispelling a myth and making a child doubt her dream in a few words. The backlash from people seem to suggest that perhaps it wasn’t right time for the US President to subtly suggest his disbelief.

Christmas is the season of love and sharing and it obviously is no surprise that people are wowed if not awed by empathetic responses like Kennedy’s. Although it should be noted that President Trump and the First Lady still participated in tracking Santa in keeping with the tradition that keeps the dreams of millions of children alive.

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