Ugly ties and hideous sweaters? They’re so yesterday.
If we’re going to splurge on gifts for Alabama and its people, might as well make them count. No $10 gift cards, no stale fruitcake. Alabamians statewide have real needs — in employment, in health, in education, in virtually everything that comes with living here. Some people are hurting. A few others, especially those in leadership, need help finding their first clue.
Let’s give them more than wrapped joy on Christmas morning. When we go shopping this weekend, let’s get:
A new ideology for Gov. Robert Bentley.
A new superintendent for Anniston City Schools.
A knee brace for Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins — plus a victory over Michigan State when he leads the Gamecocks in their first game next season.
A Bible for Joshua Russell.
An end date that’s realistic for the construction of Veterans Memorial Parkway.
A solution for Alabama’s embattled prison system.
Relief for Calhoun County’s poor.
A little Alabama snow in January for those who enjoy the white stuff.
A tenant for the Goal Post Bar-B-Que building who will preserve that quirky, irreplaceable sign.
Educational assistance for the thousands of Alabamians who are functionally illiterate.
A bland, run-of-the-mill tornado season for the whole state.
A realistic, doable decision on how to best proceed with the closure of Anniston Middle School for the city’s Board of Education.
A few healthy lunchtime eating options for those who work in Anniston but north of downtown.
Legislative muzzles for Sen. Scott Beason and Reps. Micky Hammon and Kerry Rich.
A face-to-face meeting with the governor for the 300,000 Alabamians whose lives would be significantly improved if Bentley would change his mind on Medicaid expansion.
A once-in-a-lifetime development deal for the McClellan Development Authority that will have everyone saying, “Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about, MDA!”
A viable, potentially electable candidate for governor for the state’s Democratic Party.
A state championship for at least one of Calhoun County’s football teams next season.
A return to two-party politics for the Statehouse in Montgomery.
A bicycle for Anniston City Councilman David Reddick.
A copy of “The Beginner’s Guide To Writing Meaningful Legislation” for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers.
A new executive director for Spirit of Anniston.
A lump of coal for Alabama’s Constitutional Reform Commission.
An engineer who’ll finally figure out how to enlarge the 10th Street turning lane for southbound Quintard Avenue drivers.
A final, adjudicated decision about electronic bingo for Alabamians and their legislators.
A year of recovery and improvement for Heflin Police Officer Jackie Stovall.
For all of us, a year in which the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature doesn’t pass irrelevant, unneeded, xenophobic laws that paint the entire state in a backward, unenlightened light.
Another sushi restaurant for Oxford, because every small town in Alabama needs four or five.
Real, honest-to-God bike lanes for downtown Anniston.
An ending to the eternal “when and where are they going to build the new police station” question for Jacksonville residents.
A new baseball team for Huntsville, since the Stars are bolting for Biloxi.
Speaking of baseball, how ’bout a real baseball stadium for Jax State?
Homes for the unwanted dogs and cats in Calhoun County’s bloated animal shelters.
A cop who’ll get all the Dale Earnhardts and Mario Andrettis to slow down on the Golden Springs Road portion of the parkway for those of us who have to survive that drive each day.
A free Sunday-drink coupon for residents in Anniston and Weaver.
And a delivery man for Panera Bread in Oxford who can bring coffee and chocolate-chip bagels to my house each morning. I’m up early. Just knock.
Phillip Tutor — email@example.com — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star.