Many big-box stores were open on Thanksgiving, including Macy's, creator of the famed Thanksgiving parade. At some Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Old Navy and other retailers, police were stationed at front doors to maintain order as shoppers rushed the entrance. More than a few people camped out overnight on Wednesday to be first in line for Thanksgiving Day shopping. Pizza Hut fired a manager in Elkhart, Ind., for daring to close his pizzeria on Thanksgiving. The manager has his job back, but the corporate arrogance shown is only one of several social indicators making Thanksgiving a "most lamentable day."
Perhaps it's spitting into the wind to say there is too much materialism, not enough sense of gratitude or reflection. After all, no one put guns to Americans' heads and forced them to abandon their communal tables, forget the meaning of the day, and rush to stores. People did that of their own free will. Perhaps Thanksgiving Day shoppers obtained significant savings. Chances are many did not -- they just let go of that whole gratitude nonsense and got on with the far more important task of materialism. In the modern context Tony Rohr, who refused to open the Pizza Hut, is a revolutionary.
Christmas can be vexing because it is both a religious and secular holiday. Observant Christians long have been concerned with the commercialization of Christmas. But there's no reason why those who aren't observant Christians should not approach Christmas purely as a gift-giving, feast-eating and under-the-mistletoe event. Wonderful as Christmas can be, it played no role in the nation's history and makes no claim on the American national spirit. The methodical corporate destruction of Christmas via commercialization can be objected to only by observant Christians, which most people are not.
But Thanksgiving Day is supposedly a national celebration of thanks for America's freedom and plenty -- engaging all citizens regardless of religious or political beliefs. Now corporate America is methodically destroying Thanksgiving, too.
And we are cooperating. There is a three-word solution to Black Friday becoming Black Thursday: Just say no. Don't go to corporate retailers on Thanksgiving. Be with friends and relatives, even if they drive you nuts, and keep your thoughts on gratitude and the meaning of the day. If a couple years pass without crowds rushing the doors of big-corporate stores on Thanksgiving, then retailers will go back to being closed and giving their workers a day off.
Lawsuits and legislation are not needed to return Thanksgiving to its original meaning -- all that's needed is for Americans to refuse to enter stores for one day of the year. Has materialism become such an almighty that Americans cannot do this? Then maybe Thanksgiving is a religious event after all.
"We Score More!" as the College Chant Goes: NFL teams are averaging 23.4 points per game, up slightly from the season record of 23.2. Don't count the chickens just yet -- scoring tends to tail off late, so a record season is far from assured. But if the record is beaten, bear this in mind: The best-ever NFL season for scoring per game was 1948.