My Thanksgiving plans changed. Allow me to explain why.
I live in Illinois. Check that. I reside in Illinois. I wouldn’t say that any of us is living here. Just surviving. Hanging in there. Getting by.
You can’t make plans here. Not any meaningful plans that involve others. Just can’t do it.
Most places where you would want to go are closed. The city streets of Chicago are empty. If Hollywood had plans to make a sequel to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” shooting locations would be plentiful.
Of course, it may be too dangerous to film there anyway because while almost all other recollections of normalcy ceased months ago, gun crime has trended upwards and the city is on pace to challenge a record number of homicides this calendar year.
The presidential election remains undetermined. Voter fraud has been alleged. Nobody in the legacy media seems to care much. Not enough to look into it. Like the fly that landed on the vice president’s head during the debate season, more focus was given this week to the president’s attorney’s Grecian Formula drip than what he had to say. The presumptive winners continue to tell the presumptive losers to hug it out and get over it. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A poll suggested that 47 percent of Americans don’t believe the results of the election were correct.
This time of year, night falls before 5 in the afternoon and temperatures are dropping. The sun only makes guest appearances here between October and March anyway. It’ll snow again soon.
Like you, I have lost track of where I can go. I think the answer is to essential places for essential supplies to do essential things. I am not sure what that means anymore.
I guess I could go the grocery store, you know, beat the rush to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water and whiskey. Maybe try to find an ammo store with anything other than nothing on the shelves.
Amidst all of that, all I truly was thinking about was celebrating my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.
I will do that at home, I guess, with most members of my immediate family. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I had other ideas.
My state’s governor is concerned that I am going to kill all of my older relatives. He said so this week when he canceled my Thanksgiving trip.
I intended to go to Pennsylvania, where I was born. It would have been about 1,000 miles round trip in a minivan. The governor there didn’t want me to come any more than the governor here wanted me to leave. The governor in Pennsylvania made the lift so heavy — with requirements both before I left Illinois and after I arrived in the Keystone State — that the family in my traveling party couldn’t do it. They are not testing people who are well.
No test, no travel. No Thanksgiving with my extended family.
Set the bar high enough, and Olympic pole vaulters can’t clear it.
My governor was talking late last week about flying to his mansion in Florida for Thanksgiving. Or maybe he was staying in Illinois at a different mansion. He may have a mansion in Wisconsin. Maybe two. I lost track because I didn’t care in the first place. And I have things to consider that supersede wherever he decides to fill his gravy bowls.
Journalists are not special people. We have a special responsibility. We are entrusted to be fair, contextually complete and to tell the truth.
The truth is that I am not certain where permissions and liberty intersect, or if they intersect. Context is becoming more difficult to dial in. I consider that a fair and honest appraisal of all things.
A lot has changed. Most Americans now live in regions rather than villages, cities or counties. These regions are randomly color coded or designated as operating in mitigation “phases” that are as straightforward as common-core math. The colors change every so often. So do the phases. It’s confusing.
Oh, and there’s the COVID to deal with, too. It’s a virus. You may have seen something about it on TV.
So, I am staying home. Not because the government told me to. No, because now I want to.
I’d rather focus on the holiday. Maybe think about things a bit more. Make some plans that I can keep.
So Happy Thanksgiving.
May you and your family find peace and happiness this week however you best see fit and wherever you wish to celebrate it.