The Crowd: Putting the thanks back in Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011|By B.W. Cook

Today is Thanksgiving.

On this uniquely American celebration of fellowship — coupled with appreciation for the blessings of life, liberty and sustenance — tens of millions of members of this great society are racing about preparing to get a jump on the so-called "Black Friday" shopping deals. Many major as well as minor retailers will either open Thursday at midnight or at various intervals on the clock in the dark of night preceding Friday morning.

The national news is reporting that an employee of Target, the retail giant headquartered in Minneapolis that has plans for a midnight shopping debut on the eve of Thanksgiving, has circulated a petition with some 190,000 signatures requesting Target to reconsider its plans. The Internet is buzzing with folks chiming in on the dilemma.


Why? Because the man at the center of the petition, and ostensibly all the rest, want time to be with their families on Thanksgiving. They want time to give thanks, not run the register and restock the shelves.

It is unlikely that Target or any other retailer, for that matter, will relent and reverse its policy. Not at this late hour, and perhaps not ever. The retail thunder ball has a life of its own.

And let's face it — the holidays have lost their spiritual center. Many will cry blasphemy, yet it is difficult to deny the reality of our society and the push to buy, buy, buy.

There was a time when stores, all of them, along with restaurants and even gas stations, closed not only on holidays like Thanksgiving, but every Sunday. The Bible tells us that even God rested on the seventh day.

For those born and raised post the 1970s, this time for rest and reflection vanished. It never existed. Can you imagine a society that actually shut down on Sunday? Why folks might actually have a moment of peace, a time to regroup, recharge and face the new challenges of a week ahead.

Fast forward to our world economic crisis today, and specifically to the "occupy" protests around our nation and beyond. Hardworking Americans don't understand the basis for these cries of anguish.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said this week, "Tell them to take a shower and get a job." His assessment is to the point, but also, on some level, misses the point.

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