Tomorrow will be a day of Thanksgiving, a wonderfully unpretentious holiday in a terribly pretentious time.
Thanksgiving is a national celebration about simply having enough food to eat and about eating it together . . . and recognizing, at least for a moment, how great that is.
The “dining together” part is so important that enormous controversy has erupted in recent years as retailers jump the next day’s usual start of the Christmas season, “Black Friday,” by daring to open up on Thanksgiving Day itself. Many complain that stores are frustrating the feast by “forcing” their workers to work.
Last year, I made the point that families truly committed to eating a meal together could find a way to do so, and that workers are not “forced to work,” but actually enjoy a meaningful degree of freedom in when they work. And I remember being very grateful for the opportunity to earn a living by working on a holiday.
In fact, the abundance on our Thanksgiving tables every year is only possible through the freedom to work and produce and trade with each other. This American holiday is also about giving thanks for that freedom.
Freedom has, like it or not, led to long lines of eager customers waiting for those retail doors to open. I’m no big fan of shopping, but more power to those who are.
Still, freedom has also led to a full-throated public discussion — and backlash. A New York Post article credits social media with mobilizing public sentiment against stores opening on the holiday and causing some stores to roll back their hours.
Brian Rich runs Boycott Black Thursday, a Facebook page with over 100,000 likes. “We are not anti-capitalism,” says the Idahoan, who suggests shoppers spend to their hearts’ content on Friday, but celebrate “a good old-fashioned holiday at home” on Thursday.
I’m thankful stores can open if they wish and that customers have money to trade for products they want. And I’m mighty glad that we don’t have to shop if we don’t want to and that we can speak out freely against stores opening and in favor of folks spending more time with loved ones.
On Thursday, I’m grateful for all those in my family and my wife’s with whom I’ll get to break bread. On Friday, well, my youngest daughter will get me up way too early to take her shopping.
And, doggone it, as painful as it is: I’m thankful for that, too.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.