Politics BlogBlack Friday: The Anti-Thanksgiving
Yet, even if Black Friday were not so terrible for working families, and even if it did not threaten to steamroll Thanksgiving under the weight of Christmas-season merchandising, I would still be opposed to it. Black Friday is the Anti-Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends and practice gratitude for our blessings. It is a time to cultivate awareness of all the ways in which God provides for us, and to pay special attention to providing hospitality to others who are hurting. Black Friday, on the other hand, is a celebration of greed, unbridled consumerism and disregard for others.
Now, I have to admit, I haven't been one of those who gets up early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving to be among the first in any store's doors. Just not a great interest of mine. On the other hand, I have done some similar types of things, like stay in line all day to get into the first practice for the nearby college basketball team.
So, I'm don't have anything against people who do the early-morning Black Friday thing. I think of it as being kind of like those who, for example, insist on camping out in order to get in early when the Star Wars movies were released--it's rather silly, it's not necessary, but, hey, there is a certain amount of camaraderie and fun to it, and so long as they behave themselves, then no big deal.
Thanksgiving is, at its best, a fleeting incarnation of the peaceable kingdom, where we can all come together in peace and mutual respect. Black Friday, on the other hand, is an intensification of the hyper-capitalist, corporate order that already dominates most of our lives. Rather than gratitude, it promotes greed; instead of cooperation, competition. While Thanksgiving fosters brotherhood and peace, Black Friday is a celebration of self-centeredness and bickering.
Wow, one would think that the people at Black Friday were as bad as those of Generation Brats who make up OWS.
If you need evidence of this, examine the fruits of the Black Friday rush for the latest consumer items. There was gunfire in a shopping mall. And at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart, the "competitive shopping strategy" of one woman involved the pepper-spraying fellow customers. Amazingly - though perhaps not surprising - the Wal-Mart remained open through the entire incident, and the woman was allowed to buy her merchandise and leave the store. Nothing, not even outright violence, was allowed to stop the flow of consumption.
Considering how many millions of people were out and about that time all over the country, I have to admit if there were only these few incidents, people were rather well-behaved. At the least, compared to those of Occupy Wherever, they were rather civilized.
To begin with - and, I confess, it is a modest beginning - I commit myself to resisting Black Friday. I will not participate in this anti-holiday.
And when the businesses you don't support go out of business, they should send you a thank-you card. But...wait on it...
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