This is not one of those made for TV movies found buried in your cable TV programming guide this time of year, a less artistic version of the Grinch when your holiday is stolen from you, which makes you realize what the true meaning of the holiday season is all about. No, this is reality. There are governors around our country who are limiting Thanksgiving celebrations. Illinois Governor J.P. Pritzker, California Governor Gavin Newsom, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are all placing heavy restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings, limiting time, capacity, singing, use of bathrooms, and mandating masks, even between bites. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has told Chicagoans to “cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans”. It’s as if these politicians are all auditioning for the role of the Burgermeister Meisterburger in the TV special Santa Claus is Comin ' to Town.
In essence, these politicians are controlling how and when the citizens can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones under the guise of protecting you from Covid-19. As proof that this is about control, and not about health, recently, Governor Newsom was caught violating the very rules he just imposed on everyone. You don’t matter to them. Remember, no such restrictions were placed on the riots this summer nor on the recent mass celebrations of Joe Biden’s victory. Why was it more essential to these politicians to allow the citizens to loot stores, burn down buildings and celebrate political victories, then it is for the citizens to come together with family and friends in the spirit of love and thankfulness? Are they afraid that if we really reflect in thanksgiving how truly special this country is, and the rights that have been bestowed on us, it will be that much harder for them to incrementally take all that away from us?
These politicians are so willing to dismiss thanksgiving because they do not believe there is anything in this country to be thankful for. This summer, we watched many people tearing down statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and others disrespecting our flag, our national anthem, and they were urged on and applauded by the very politicians who are restricting our Thanksgiving.
The concept of thankfulness, gratefulness, appreciation for what the people before us have given us, completely and mysteriously eludes these politicians. They have no appreciation for those who built this country, who gave us this country. All they do now is point out every fault, mistake and misdeed those who came before committed, and completely ignore the courage, the sacrifice that they demonstrated in their lives for us to have this country. And everything bad there is today, is blamed on them, but the good is never attributed. These politicians assume all that is good in this country came to them at birth as if they are that inherently special to deserve it without lifting a finger and without ever needing to say thank you to anyone because they are that virtuous. They have a complete lack of understanding and thankfulness for what America is and has been to so many people since the first Thanksgiving which indicates why they so easily toss aside everything that make us want to give thanks.
This lack of thankfulness that they are imposing on the rest of us is intending to lead us to want to “fundamentally transform America”. But they never say into what. They leave the idea hanging in midair. But it doesn’t matter to them because this country, and those who came before are so fundamentally and irrevocably flawed and evil that any change must be better than the hell we are living in right now.
It’s only one thanksgiving, they’ll argue. That’s the way it always starts. The first income tax was a 1% tax on the top 1% of earners done for our own good. 99% of the country agreed on allowing the government to cross that line. When they crossed that line, they did so in a full sprint. Justice Samuel Alito has said, “The Covid crisis has served as a Constitutional stress test, and in doing so, it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.” He also warns that, “in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” Take away our holidays, lock down the country, take away our freedom in the name of Covid-19. Do you not think, the politicians will not reference Covid-19 in the future when justifying other unjustifiable denials of rights?
The sad part, as we all know from our own lives, is that the appreciation and thankfulness will only be felt after all that we have been given is taken away or “fundamentally transformed”, but once it’s gone, it’s never coming back. There is no ctrl-Z when transforming a society, a country, a world; no reset button. And all you can do at that point is long for the days of freedom and individual rights, when we truly had something to be thankful for. But those who have nothing to be thankful for now will simply transform the past as they will have transformed the future so they can feel better about the present-day hell they created for all of us.
Until then, you will find me hiding in my attic with the lights turned down low, sharing a slice a Turkey with my loved ones, and whispering a silent prayer of thanksgiving, because I’m not sure if they’ve outlawed God yet.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.