The man is Eric J Schmitt-Matzen and he's part of a recent news story about a terminally ill five-year-old boy dying in his arms, sometime in November. The story went viral for the unique fact that he is perhaps America's most authentic #Santa Claus and he was the last person the child saw, before he died. The story is emotional and heart-breaking, and the tragic incident almost ended his joyous career. For sure, it's certainly human and fitting of the mythical character he portrays. There he is, Santa Claus, showing up in a real beard, majestic whiskers, suspenders and a big belly with a gift for the dying boy.
It's a story that also seems nesessary to tell during a time when the nation finds itself more divided than it's ever been. Dig a little deeper however, and you'll find that #Eric Schmitt-Matzen has contributed, deplorably, to that division.
Santa's beard hides the darkness
Social media was ferociously active for the 2016 President Election and has been attributed as a reason Donald Trump won. There's no doubt that this is true as Trump himself has masterfully manipulated the masses and the media with 140 characters at a time, via Twitter. During the campaign, the media -- and those of us with talent for seeing patterns develop in social media, have seen the characteristics of what makes a Trump follower's account. Schmitt-Matzen is one of these and seeing his mobile uploads on his official Facebook page confirms this..
It's been reported that Eric is a veteran for the 75th Ranger regiment. At sixty years of age, it might put him in the U.S. Army during the eighties? As seen from the comments in the image he shared out above, there are other veterans who thank him for his service. And while it's normal to share these kinds of praises in social media, the current social climate puts those praises on a slippery slope. And oh, does Kris Kringle slip!
Is Santa anti-Muslim?
Eric Schmitt-Matzen didn't really get going with Facebook until 2015. So this time last year, months into the Presidential race, Republicans were aggressively campaigning against Islam, through their criticism of the faith and suggestions that Islamic communities should be monitored. With endless terrorist attacks in the Middle East, Muslims appear to be targeted more than any other cultural group in the world. The effort to string together a broad anti-Islamic view from incidents recorded in the meme is designed to be another form of attack. It contributes to the social stigma against Muslims. Surely, Kringle was just trying to point out a "fact?" But then again, it makes sense as Santa Claus is identified as a Christian symbol. So, why not go after the competition?
Militarized aggression against peace keepers?
Months before that, he also shared out a meme by the page "Cold Dead Hand" which is a short way of Charleton Heston's famous NRA speech, "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands." The hard-as-nails phrase is older than Heston. But obviously, one can't get blood out of a peacekeeper unless you break their skin. And so the meme is clearly a threat against UN Peacekeepers. It's a sign that these veterans might see themselves as free agents. It also needs to be pointed out that veterans, or those in the grunt culture, despise Secretary of State John Kerry because they believe he's a traitor from the Vietnam War, a view he likely shares.
Definitely didn't vote for Hillary
More recently, he's posted other memes that are anti-Hillary Clinton and anti-Democrat which is typical of a #Trump supporter. So his political associations are clear. He doesn't seem to have any pro-Trump memes so maybe he's not a Trump guy? But as seen in the meme above, he's definitely reading and sharing fake news. Eric Schmitt-Matzen's company bio for Packing Seals & Engineering, says that they handle Chinese plastic too, which comes to show that even Santa needs Chinese products. In the end, it's clear that "Santa" has his preferences.