Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020



     Happy Thanksgiving!
     I suppose I should just leave it at that. After a brutal, endless, emotionally-wringing 2020 presidential campaign, with its unprecedented attempt by a sitting president to subvert the election process, conducted against the background of a raging viral pandemic, we deserve a moment of relief, of stepping away from the maelstrom and concentrating on our own personal lives. I still feel blessed, and hope you do too. I hope there is food on the table and a loved one or two in your bubble and you find time to pause, and reflect, and give thanks for the good things, the rocks that are not washed away in the tempest, solid enough to set up a table and sit and share something plentiful and good.
     Period. End of post.
     But this is far from the usual Thanksgiving, even though an alarming number of Americans are pretending it is just another holiday, hopping on planes and gathering in big family groups, while all of the medical experts and the responsible parts of government beg them not to. Why? I suppose being heedless, even stupid, has something to do with it, or at least on automatic pilot, zombies vacuuming a house that's on fire.
     It isn't entirely their fault. We've been grinding through eight months of this. The impulse to say, "The hell with it," is human and strong. Plus many are being led astray. It isn't as if Trump is alone setting fire to the curtains. Yesterday I notice a post on Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas' Twitter feed and, well, perhaps it's best if I just show you:
     In one sense, that is a standard GOP bullshit, the hallucinatory conjuring up of some insane stand—the War on Christmas migrating to Thanksgiving—and projecting it on the bogeyman of liberals, so it can be decried. Squeezing a little imaginary victimhood into a paper bag so it can be huffed, for the high it obviously produces. Not that there aren't academic sorts pointing out that the actual first Thanksgiving took place in September, or that it didn't work out so well for the Native-Americans welcoming the pilgrims. Not that some don't cluck at Thanksgiving, as people do about literally everything. Yet all of it scraped together doesn't amount to a collective eye roll, never mind "losing their minds." Rather, it's the same comic Yosemite Sam bow-legged bluster, Cruz firing his rhetorically six-guns into the air, swaggering against imaginary enemies who are, again remember, trying to cut down the number of conservatives who are dying on ventilators in three weeks.
     It is grotesque enough from a stupid man, from a man like Donald Trump. To see it from Cruz, who was educated at one point, and knew enough to denounce Trump in 2016, before he fell at his feet and began rolling like a puppy. It's despicable and should excuse him from the office he holds—in Texas, remember, where they called out the National Guard to help with the morgue overflow—never mind let him aspire toward higher office, as he so obviously does. That he is a member—I almost said "respected member" but don't want to overstate the case—of the United States Senate, and not some fringe loon, is a hard pill to swallow. Never mind the prospect that he might be the 47th president since, after Trump, anything is possible. So I had to take that tweet and seal it in a bottle and set it on the shelf, here, where we can find it in 2022 when Cruz starts vigorously running for an office even further beyond his abilities. (Assuming he's still not crouched over Trump's shoes, licking). 
      This is criminal negligence, to make business-as-usual Thanksgiving into an act of political defiance and egg his flock of Lone Star State sheep to rush baaing to the nearest pack of wolves and show their bellies.
     Enough, let me let you get back to your celebration, the more modest, safe and low key the better. If Ted Cruz can wildly cheer on folly, then I can provide a knowing nod of approval to caution. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from the herd. When you're giving thanks, you might want to give thanks for being able to breath, unassisted, because not everyone can.
    We will always remember this Thanksgiving. Crisis holidays are like that. I remember a distant New Year's Eve, 2000. The coming of the millennium was a big deal, and people were doing all sorts of wildly excessive things, rushing off to the pyramids, seeing laser shows in Paris. Not only did I not do any of those things, but I had to work, the newspaper sounding an all-hands-on-deck alert in case the Y2K computer melt-down some experts feared actually occurred. (Before COVID, before 9/11, we had no idea what a crisis looked like...)
     So it's 11:45 p.m., Dec. 31, 1999. A quiet night, none of the bad stuff we feared occurring, and I look up at the harsh florescent-lit newsroom at 401 N. Wabash and think, "I'll be damned if I'm ushering in the millennium sitting in this goddamn place." And I get up, and go downstairs, and stroll south on Wabash Avenue, an unusually warm December night, and stop at the middle of the Wabash Avenue Bridge, lean against the rail, and watch the clock on the Wrigley Building slowly advance toward midnight, utterly alone, the street empty. It was quiet and solitary and peaceful. At 11:55, a knot of partygoers, rushing somewhere down the block. Then still again.
     At midnight, a soft cheer, from somewhere, from everywhere, and some fireworks popped in the general direction of Navy Pier. It was a very nice, comforting moment that became a beautiful memory. I hope this COVID Thanksgiving is the same for you. There will only be the one, if we're lucky, and we might as well make the best of it. We can celebrate in the traditional fashion next year. Those of who live to see it, I mean. Stay safe. Happy Thanksgiving.



8 comments:

  1. The abject stupidity of so many people this year is truly disheartening. Those of us whose parents went through the horrors & privations of WWII just can't believe how appallingly selfish these fools are.
    It's just one year, we can't get together to celebrate holidays with family & friends, just one year.

    Next year, all of us sane people will be vaccinated with at least one of the vaccines, created by scientists, that the wing-nuts disparage regularly & whose hero, an orange faced moron threw out the pandemic playbook created by his nemesis, the previous president, who just wanted to leave the country a better place than went he went into office!
    I don't believe anyone from Obama's administration was ever indicted & convicted of any crimes, let alone needed to be pardoned.

    Yet we've had dozens that were indicted, convicted or just had to quit, due to their criminal behavior & we all know there will be dozens of pardons coming in the next seven weeks, including drumpf's entire corrupt family & I believe drumpf will resign just before January 20, so his Q-Tip looking lackey can become president long enough to pardon him, from federal crimes, thus guaranteeing that New York State will indict him for all sorts of the financial shenanigans he's pulled over the last few years.

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    1. I grew up hearing the whining in other nations about the "Ugly Americans"...those were the days. Now, half of us are the selfish, ignorant, clueless, stupid Americans. Can't even put on a mask, stay the f'k home, and give up our gatherings, both public and private, to save ourselves and our families and our countrymen.

      I'm saddened, appalled, angry, and disgusted. Half my countrymen don't give a flying fork, and are actively trying to kill the other half. Including me. Is turkey and all the fixins REALLY worth dying for, you covidiots?

      America's millions of wingnuts and sheeple, and America's prevailing attitudes of avarice, hostility, and outright meanness, have made me want to emigrate tomorrow, if I could. But I can't. Gonna die here one day, hopefully with a snow shovel in my hand and not on a ventilator. Truth is, no other place on the planet, including Canada, wants any of us around. And who can blame them?

      Thanks to all those short-sighted covidiots, anti-distancers, and all the maskholes, I see this going on for at least another year, if not longer, and maybe a million or more deaths. If we'd behaved this way in 1942, after a year of war, we'd already be bowing and heiling to our new overlords and masters, and lining up to learn German and Japanese. I'm relived that my parents and grandparents are no longer around to see what we've become.

      The original "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (1944) assured us that "Next year all our troubles will be out of sight." Both Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland sang the original lyrics. Next year? I seriously doubt it, even with Our Joe.

      They also sang "Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow..." Americans no longer know the meaning of that term, which we borrowed from the Blitz and the Brits. Sacrifice for the common good, perseverance, postponing of gratification now for a better outcome later...all that is gone with the wind. We've also borrowed "Keep Calm and Carry On" from the English. But we smirk when we say it, and we certainly don't mean it.

      America, despite its multitude of crises, persists in its shameless attitudes of "I want it all and I want it now" and "The hell with you!" and "It's all about ME." None of which originated with Orangy the Clown and his bottomless glasses of the Red Kool-Aid. All that began decades ago.

      Ted Cruz and his ilk are like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, raving at "the leftists" and whining that somebody is pulling their tails. Nobody did all this to us. We did it to ourselves. Is he so stupid that he doesn't realize that countless Americans have already had to unwillingly "give up" their holidays? My wife and I are home alone this Thanksgiving for the first time in 25 years. Thanks, wingnuts. Thanks, maskholes.

      Innoculations may soon save our lives, but too many Americans will remain unvaccinated from the self-centered greed that has been so rampant during this Crisis of 2020. Even when the masks come off and we can go to festivals and concerts and ballgames again, too many of us will still be among the "sick"...

      But, hey, that's America, buddy. Ain't it grand?

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and the missus, Mister S, and to all the EGD die-hards out there. Stay home this winter, so you don't die hard.

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Neil. Thanks for your blog.

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  3. i GAVE THANKS FOR YOUR COLUMN AND BLOG, AND THE AMERICANS STILL INTERESTED IN REASON AND RATIONAL THOUGHT. SKIMMING THROUGH A FEW STREAMING "NEWS" CHANNELS I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT IT MAY BE HOPELESS. THOSE WHO WOULD LISTEN TO THE FACTS MAY NEVER HEAR THEM. TOO MANY OF THESE CHANNELS ARE SO DEDICATED TO RIDICULOUS CONSPIRACIES AND DOWNRIGHT WORSHIP OF TRUMP AS THE DELIVERER OF AMERICA THAT THEY DON'T EVEN PRESENT ANOTHER SIDE. THEY PROPOSE THAT THE ELECTION WAS STOLEN, THAT THE COUNTS ARE ALL LIES - A LIBERAL MEDIA AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONSPIRACY TO STEAL AMERICA FROM AMERICANS AND GIVE IT TO ????? (THEY NEVER SAY IT OUTRIGHT BUT I THINK THEY MEAN EVERYONE WHO DOESN'T CONFORM EXACTLY TO THEIR VIEW OF THE WORLD, WHICH IS DEFINITELY CONTRARY TO AMERICAN IDEALS) - WHEN WE ALL KNOW THAT THE FACTS SAY THAT, IF ANYONE IS CONSPIRING TO UNDERMINE AMERICA, IT IS DEFINITELY THE SIDE THAT WANTS TO SILENCE EVERY VOICE THAT DISAGREES AND HAS TIES TO DICTATORS AND FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS THAT HAVE STATED THEIR WILLINGNESS TO DESTROY DEMOCRACIES. AND THE NUMBERS OF THE TRUMP FAITHFUL HAVE GROWN.
    MY DAUGHTER IS HOOKED ON "KAREN" VIDEOS THE DISPLAY OF IGNORANCE AND ENTITLEMENT IS MIND SHATTERING. I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION SO MUCH IGNORANCE EXISTS.
    OH, SORRY. I RANTED LIKE THOSE THAT SCARE ME.
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE. HOPE YOU GOT A LAUGH.

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  4. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for family, of course, and that Trump was voted out. I am thankful for others who think as I think and welcome a new Administration. I am also thankful for you Neil and for your commitment to an everygoddamnday column. You probably don’t even feel like writing it some days. I usually find something to smile about when reading it. Today it was when you wrote about Cruz possibly running for the presidency in 2022 “(assuming he’s still not crouched over Trump’s shoes, licking).” Great line!

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    1. Well, beginning in 2022, to get a running start on the 2024 election.

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  5. Are Americans just spoiled children, unwilling to gracefully endure this little hiccup in our lives so fewer die from the pandemic? Do the anti-entitlement conservatives feel entitled to the primacy of an America not wholly our doing but assisted by the arc of history? Ted Cruz voted to deny New Jersey FEMA funds after Hurricane Sandy, but he was first in line when Texas got slammed. Too many Americans resent neighbors more than they appreciate what they have. Liberals didn't kill Christmas and Obama didn't take away their guns but still they cry, ungrateful bastards. Thanks for another year, Neil.

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