So, here we are at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day week. Wal-Mart, Kmart, Bass Pro Shop and others are all planning to open on Thanksgiving Day, denying their employees time with their families on this holiday.
It has been reported by several outlets, that these stores that plan on being open on Thanksgiving Day are threatening their employees with termination if they choose to stay home and celebrate the holiday. Once again corporate greed is trumping our holidays.
Let’s take a minute to look at this holiday. According to those wonderful patriotic conservatives, this is supposed to be a day when we give thanks to god, or whatever, for our blessings. It is a day to celebrate our country and spend time with family and friends. It is supposed to be a patriotic day.
Somewhere along the line, those sentiments went by the board. Somewhere along the line, these very same ultra-conservatives have lost their zeal for family and patriotism. Why would they be the least offended by this mass movement to ignore Thanksgiving Day celebrations?
Well, it could be that the ultra-conservatives simply aren’t paying attention to the degradation of our nation’s holiday. It could be that they have forgotten about all of these things and got lost in the worship of manna. But, I think that it is more likely that they simply don’t consider the rest of us worthy of being able to spend time with family and friends. We aren’t worthy of an extra day off to celebrate a national holiday.
Why is it so important for a store like Kmart to open their doors for business on Thanksgiving Day at 6 AM? I know that the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes up the bulk of the retail business. I have heard estimates that between 40 and 50 percent of retail earnings are made during this one time of the year. That is the reason stores usually extend shopping hours now.
But, the start of “Black Friday” has screwed up the entire shopping season. At first, stores were opening as early at 4 AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Since many people are off on that Friday, it made sense to get them out for early sales. I have never really had a problem with that. But, in the last few years, more and more stores have “extended” Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day. I do have a problem with that.
I am sure we all have memories of sitting around the big dining room table with our families, in many cases extended families, and having a big turkey dinner. We watched football on TV, or went outside for a friendly game of tag football with our parents and children. It was a time of festive activities and good family fun.
Of course, there were some professions where people still had to work on Thanksgiving. People like EMTs, Hospital Nurses, Police, Fire, and the Military were required to work. But, very few other professions were required to work.
Now, Thanksgiving Day has lost its meaning. Its meaning wasn’t lost because people stopped celebrating it. It wasn’t lost because people became more secular. It was lost because of the ever-present charge for the almighty dollar. The dollar became more important than workers. The dollar became more important than families.
The owners of these stores opening on Thanksgiving Day will certainly be home enjoying the time off. They will certainly enjoy their big dinner in the company of their family and friends. They will certainly be counting their blessings. All the while, their employees will be forced to work so the owners can make more money.
It also strikes me that the vast majority of stores that are threatening employees with their jobs if they fail to go to work that day are the same companies who are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep the minimum wage low. They are the same companies that are subsidizing their profits on the backs of the American Taxpayer by not providing health care coverage and/or a livable wage to their employees.
I ask Fox News why they haven’t manufactured a new story about Thanksgiving? Why hasn’t Fox News campaigned against a “Corporate War on Thanksgiving” in their coverage? Why hasn’t Rush Limbaugh railed against the unpatriotic behavior of these companies? Why hasn’t Glenn Beck screamed into the microphone about how corporations are ruining Thanksgiving for the average people?
We are returning to the days when company’s are treating their employees like property and not people. In the olden days of mining, the company owned everything. They owned the houses around the mine that workers paid rent to live in. They owned the stores where workers were forced to purchase their groceries, clothes and other items necessary. They even charged the miners for their tools and explosives necessary to work in the mine.
The silence on the right is testimony to their total contempt of the “average person”. It is testimony to their belief that workers are nothing more than property or tools for the wealthy to become more wealthy. Then again, when you live in an oligarchy, this is what you should expect.