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The Thanksgiving Fight

Before you get mad, I should say--

This is not me disagreeing that we should cancel Thanksgiving.

I have never done a large Thanksgiving in my life, so a 15 person Thanksgiving is as foreign to me as the idea of enjoying golf.

My issue is not with people arguing that we should cancel it, it's that, once again, we are fighting a small fight and letting much bigger fights just walk right by us.

You can understand why.

It's easy for local governments to say that what needs to be an issue right now is cancelling Thanksgiving while they allow--pretty much everything else to remain open.

You know I was yelling about casinos until they closed back in March (long after theaters and other businesses were forced to close), and now they're open again, and instead of us demanding that changes, they want us to go on social media and fight with each other about Thanksgiving.

We're told that people gathering in their homes is where the danger lies, but we're also all aware that there is virtually no contact tracing right now. How would we know exactly where the sources of outbreaks are coming from is beyond me. We never even really made an attempt at it.

As of right now, in Rhode Island, you can still sit inside a restaurant and eat. You can still go to bars. Kids are in school. Stores are open.

And they want us to fight about Thanksgiving.

It's because we all feel like we can maybe affect the people we're friends with on social media, or our own friends and family, rather than the government, which actually has the power to make sweeping change that would do way more to keep us safe than prohibiting our neighbors from having ten people over their house for turkey.

Again, not saying people should do that, but why is that the hill we're all dying on right now?

I work at a library.

We have been open since March.

We never closed.

We are also open to the public most of the time that we're open.

That means I'm exposed to random strangers for a reason that is non-essential every single day.

Are we all wearing masks and social distancing?


But we're still encouraging the circulation (no pun intended) of people being out and about, on the road, in and out of stores, for absolutely no reason.

I have seen a resistance from state and local governments, even when things were at their most serious, when it came to closing businesses, but beyond that, closing state and government offices that aren't actually contributing to the economy.

Also, the state has left many towns and cities to their own whims when it comes to regulation and enforcement.

Yes, the federal government has been criminally incompetent during all this, but the state governments, even the ones like Rhode Island's, are starting to catch up to them in the "What the hell are you doing?" department.

And they'd like us to fight about Thanksgiving.

Is it any wonder that people don't see why it would be such a big deal to have a Thanksgiving dinner at home with eight or nine of their relatives if you can go to a restaurant any night of the week and sit under a tent with three walls and a ceiling and be told that you're being safe?

Are we surprised people are getting mad that they're being told it's somehow safe for them to go work in an office or at a store, but that right after they get done, they need to immediately go home, because somehow economic necessity is safe but anything recreational isn't?

Mixed messages are getting people killed.

Thanksgiving being dangerous is not hard to understand, but so is allowing airlines to keep operating.

How is it dangerous for someone's cousin to fly home to see their family, but not the tens of thousands of people still doing business all over the country, tracking the virus wherever they go?

We need to start getting as mad about this hypocrisy as we are about people's social behaviors, because ultimately, the willingness to let people die on behalf of capitalism is going to cost a lot more lives than the backyard barbecues we were told were spreading disease across the land this summer.

It's not a question of "both things can be true," it's a matter of "the denial of one leads to the other."

I am not against shaming, by the way.

I know it doesn't work, but it makes me feel good, and jeez, that's good enough for me these days.

But I get nothing out of it if I'm under the impression that I'm preaching to the choir and that there are bigger things to shame, and that's where we're at right now.

You can rant and rave on social media all you want, but meanwhile, in places like South Dakota, there are zero restrictions in place, even now, and there is nothing to stop all fifteen people from that state from getting on a plane and showing up at the local Chelo's this weekend.

We should be having a bigger fight, and it should not be with each other.

All that aside, I need you to say a prayer for me, because I'm going to attempt to make my own stuffing in about a week, and that means I should have severe food poisoning in a week and a half.



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