I always loved the tradition of tracking Santa across the globe. When I was a kid the local news did it (the weatherman, usually, because no one trusted him anyway) and there was a number you could call that would give you the latest update as to where on Earth Saint Nick was. In the last few years the Internet has revolutionized Santa Tracking, and NORAD brought the whole operation online at noradsanta.org. But this year NORAD has added a new wrinkle: they're giving Santa an armed fighter escort.
Yup, Santa Claus is flying with military jets this year. To protect him. From who? Jack Frost gets name-dropped in a video on the site, but you'd think Santa would have that angle covered by now (and Rise of the Guardians tells us Jack and Santa are pals anyway).
If the militarization of Santa Claus strikes you as... well, incredibly inappropriate, you're not alone.
“Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas,” said Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and cofounder of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “They are associating this with the military in children’s minds. It is completely out of line.”
The Pentagon insists they're just trying to keep everybody aware of their mission, which I guess is often misconstrued only as 'guarding fictional characters.'
“It’s still cutesy since it’s for kids, but we don’t want people to lose sight of our true mission,” Navy Captain Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for NORAD, told the Boston Globe. Can you imagine if Congress thought NORAD's budget was spent only on tracking Santa? Thank god this video clears it up.
The NORAD Santa Tracker was such a nice thing, the sort of smiley face that made you feel a little bit better about our military-industrial complex. And then they go and do something like this. If you can't trust the men with black budgets who gin up wars of choice in order to justify their expenditures, who can you trust?