America, for shame! How dare this nation's retailers -- led by the Evil Empire, Walmart -- open on Thanksgiving!
There is a war on Thanksgiving. Why aren't the usual voices being raised in alarm?
Okay, I'll be glad to do it.
There have always been people who worked on Thanksgiving. Hospital workers, for instance. Police officers. The Detroit Lions.
But let me tell you young whippersnappers: Thanksgiving was different back in the 20th century.
First of all, everything was closed, including gas stations and restaurants and grocery stores. People planned ahead. They got their cranberries and petrol the day before and stayed home on the holiday. It would have been considered a sin, where I grew up, if any kind of store was open on Thanksgiving. I don't think even McDonald's was open on Thanksgiving, let alone the department stores.
I won't say the 1960s were a kinder, gentler time, not by any means. It just wouldn't have occurred to people to shop on Thanksgiving. Now that the Black Friday cat has been let out of the bag, Thanksgiving will very quickly become yet another working day for all of the world except us lazy public school teachers and postal employees.
And yet there's no umbrage about this. No righteous indignation at the cheapening of a national celebration. If Sarah Palin has complained about a clear sign of disrespect for family values, I haven't heard it. No one seems alarmed that rampant consumerism has trumped the one day of the year when we were asked to contemplate what we already have.
I'm almost idly curious about the kind of person who would go out shopping on Thanksgiving. Conceivably, this person would have people to shop for. So why isn't this person with those people? Have we become too unmoored from our ancestral homes?
Ah, I don't think I need to be so philosophical. Stores are opening on Thanksgiving so people can go shopping for poor, besieged Christmas. Maybe this is the way Christmas will win the war.