Some dummies are still doing Thanksgiving this year, just like normal, just as if there wasn't a pandemic. It's fitting, I suppose, as Thanksgiving often highlights family dysfunction and denial, and our country is fucked up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. That's the ultimate doctor's note for avoiding the busiest, least pleasant travel period of the year, but no, way too many Americans are going old-school this Thanksgiving and blithely spreading disease to unsuspecting people.

Republican politicians aren't helping model safe behavior and thus are making Thanksgiving more of a culture war than usual. The Texas National Guard was deployed last week to help with morgue overflow in El Paso, which has been devastated by COVID-19, yet this was Senator Ted Cruz's holiday message.

come and take it with roasted turkey pic Twitter

No one's taking Thanksgiving from anyone. We're just suggesting that we slightly alter our usual celebrations so undertakers aren't working overtime during the Christmas holidays.

COVID-19 has shown how little interest conservatives have in shared sacrifice. They fondly recall the “good old days" when queer people were in the closet and Black folks tap-danced our asses off for their entertainment, but they ignore the corresponding sense of collective duty.

Thanksgiving during World War II, for instance, was drastically different. People lament that this year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be “unrecognizable," filmed over a couple days for a television audience without the usual packed crowd of freezing tourists. However, there was no Macy's parade for a while during the war because the company had donated the rubber in its balloons to our fight against Nazis.

There was no reprieve from rationing for Thanksgiving during the war. There was limited access to sugar, cheese, lard, shortening, butter, canned fruit ... even coffee. Turkeys were especially hard to find. Now, the usual gang of idiots at Fox News wouldn't stop complaining.

Even traveling to the homes of distant family members or friends for Thanksgiving dinner was curtailed, since gasoline and tires were rationed and bus and train travel were discouraged to open up seats for servicemen and women on furlough.

Donald Trump declared himself a “wartime president" presiding over the pandemic. He has spent most of his weekends golfing and chafed at any change to his normal routine. Despite the needlessly large number of American casualties in our “war" against the virus, conservatives resist the temporary sacrifices that might prevent any further losses.

It's quite a change from 75 years ago.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, The Evening News

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced that the Detroit Lions would play their Thanksgiving game against the Houston Texans without fans in the audience. This frustrates the morons who believe Whitmer is a dictator because she pays attention to science. During World War II, there were fewer Thanksgiving football games in general because young men were fighting overseas. Lions fans can cope with just catching the game on TV this year.

Kelly Stafford, the overprivileged wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, complained that she was living in a “dictatorship" because Michigan businesses were facing another shutdown.

STAFFORD: I'm so over it ... I understand there's a pandemic. I understand it's very scary.

I question the extent of her understanding. COVID-19 cases are surging, primarily because people like Stafford failed to take the disease seriously. Stafford claims she feels for the small businesses, but there are few scenarios where these businesses thrive while hospitals are being overrun with sick people. A reported 98 Michiganders died just on Nov. 21 — a 105 percent increase over 14 days.

STAFFORD: If you're at risk, don't leave your house until there's a vaccine.

If lab partner here means “at risk from COVID-19," that's literally fucking everyone. Presumably, she means at greater risk of dying from the virus. They should all remain confined in their homes while “healthy" people are free to live their lives and spread COVID everywhere. This is repulsive marginalization of millions of Americans, many of whom work at those small businesses Stafford is worried might not recover from COVID-19 shutdowns, much like the more than 250,000 Americans who didn't recover from COVID-19.

Rachel Maddow delivered a moving monologue last week about her partner Susan Mikula's struggle with COVID-19, and some asshole on social media remarked that Mikula was "over 60 and overweight." How evangelical! That's a significant portion of the population to callously dismiss as not worth wearing a mask or inconveniencing yourself in any way.

It doesn't seem like much of a Thanksgiving anyway if you're not inviting anyone who's “at risk" to your dry turkey and weird Yankee “stuffing" banquet. Let's all just wait until we can safely gather again. We'd have something to truly feel thankful for instead of hoping that you didn't accidentally kill your aunt. “Hopesgiving" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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