How a decade of the GOP's 'war on...' rhetoric finally destroyed Thanksgiving

How a decade of the GOP's 'war on...' rhetoric finally destroyed Thanksgiving
Photo via the White House.

It is Thanksgiving. Like every holiday in the world, individuals and families celebrate it or don't celebrate it in their own way. Christmas is similar—you may celebrate it, or you may not. But one thing is for sure: Whichever holidays you and yours celebrate together or apart, you do it differently than everybody else. This fundamental fact has always been the basic flaw in the conservative narrative that liberals were waging some kind of cultural war on Thanksgiving. The irony, like everything with the conservative movement in this country, is that it's the conservative movement in our country that has led to Thanksgiving being ruined for millions of Americans.

However, this year is different. We are in the middle of an out-of-control pandemic that could have been mitigated at any point if the Republican Party could have seen its way to doing the most basic of leadership jobs. Now, having done nothing except throw up their hands, the White House is telling Americans to prepare for their "last Thanksgiving." It's important to note that if at any time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and soon-to-be former president Donald Trump had just allowed their hearts to grow a couple sizes larger for a week or so, and sent out meaningful stimulus that didn't just line the wealthiest sectors of society's pockets, Donald Trump would likely still be president for the next four years.

Let's talk about Thanksgiving, and why the only "war" that could ever be "waged" against it is a Republican-enabled pandemic. Some people look upon it as a day of mourning: a time to remember the lives and culture lost as Europeans, fleeing their own political oppression, visited their violence and bigotries on the Native American communities they encountered. For others in our country it is a time to take an audit of friends and family.

Some people cook a big turkey. For some it means a big ham. For others it means trying out new dishes and experimenting with recipes usually deemed too ambitious to try otherwise. Some people travel long distances. For many it means cleaning up one's living space in order to give the impression that you aren't living in chaos. For some it means seeing people they see but once or twice a year. It can be potluck, and you will be forced to eat that side dish you loathe that is made by that relative you love. It can be the one time of year that your grandmother, your mother, your cousin, or your father makes that one dish you love so much.

It might be the one time all of your parents' siblings are in the same space. It may be the one time that you get to eat 1,000 different kinds of pies. It may be the biggest cheat day in your diet. Maybe it's the time of year where you have that drink you don't normally have any more. Maybe it's all about watching football on television, or it's about starting a new tradition with your new family and your new friends and your new community.

Maybe it's a day off from work. Maybe it's a long weekend trip for you.

This year, it isn't any of those things. Instead, it's a pandemic. Every one of us will celebrate it or not celebrate it in our own way—in many cases, a different way than previous years. But every American will definitely do one thing on Thanksgiving Day this year, and that is hope that next year is different and better and safer, and that the loved ones we are unable to see now will still be with us when the post COVID-19 pandemic celebrations begin.

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