Thanksgiving 2022


“Winston, come into the dining room,
it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to
her husband.

“In a minute, honey, it’s a tie
score,”  he answered.

Actually Winston wasn’t very
interested in the traditional
holiday football game between
Detroit and Washington.  Ever since
the government passed the Civility
in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing
tackle football for its “unseemly
violence” and the “bad” example it
sets for the rest of the world”,
Winston was far less of a football
fan than he used to be.  Two-hand
touch wasn’t nearly as exciting.
Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston
was uninterested in.  It was more
the thought of eating another Tofu
Turkey.  Even though it was the best
type of VeggieMeat available after
the government revised the American
Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding
fowl to the list of
federally-forbidden foods, (which
already included potatoes, cranberry
sauce, and mincemeat pie), it wasn’t
anything like real turkey.

And ever since the government
officially changed the name of
“Thanksgiving Day” to “A National
Day of Atonement” in 2020, to
officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’
historically brutal treatment of
Native Americans, the holiday had
lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a
bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of
government-mandated fluorescent
light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey
look even weirder than it actually
was, and the room was always cold.
Ever since Congress passed the Power
Conservation Act of 2016, mandating
all thermostats – which were
monitored and controlled by the
electric company – be kept at 68
degrees, every room on the north
side of the house was barely
tolerable throughout the entire
winter.

Still, it was good getting together
with family. Or at least most of the
family.

Winston missed his mother, who
passed on in October, when she had
used up her legal allotment of
life-saving medical treatment. He
had had many heated conversations
with the Regional Health Consortium,
spawned when the private insurance
market finally went bankrupt, and
everyone was forced into the
government health care program.  And
though he demanded she be kept on
her treatment, it was a futile
effort.  “The RHC’s resources are
limited,” explained the government
bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the
phone.  “Your mother received all
the benefits to which she was
entitled. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Ed couldn’t make it either.  He had
forgotten to plug in his electric
car last night, the only kind
available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel
Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the
combustion engines – for everyone
but government officials.  The fifty
mile round trip was about ten miles
too far, and Ed didn’t want to spend
a frosty night on the road somewhere
between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston’s brother, John,
and his wife were flying in.

Winston made sure that the dining
room chairs had extra cushions for
the occasion.  No one complained
more than John about the pain of
sitting down so soon after the
government-mandated cavity searches
at airports, which severely
aggravated his hemorrhoids.  Ever
since a terrorist successfully
smuggled a cavity bomb onto a
jetliner, the TSA told Americans the
added “inconvenience” was an
“absolute necessity” in order to
stay “one step ahead of the
terrorists.”

Winston’s own body had grown
accustomed to such probing ever
since the government expanded their
scope to just about anywhere a crowd
gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of
2022.  That law made it a crime to
single out any group or individual
for “unequal scrutiny,” even when
probable cause was involved.  Thus,
cavity searches at malls, train
stations, bus depots, etc., etc.,
had become almost routine.  Almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the
statute, but most Americans expect a
Court composed of six progressives
and three conservatives to leave the
law intact.  “A living Constitution
is extremely flexible”, said the
Court’s eldest member, Elena Kagan.
“Europe has had laws like this one
for years.  We should learn from
their example,” she added.

Winston’s thoughts turned to his own
children.  He got along fairly well
with his 12-year-old daughter,
Brittany, mostly because she ignored
him. Winston had long ago
surrendered to the idea that she
could text anyone at any time, even
during Atonement Dinner.  Their only
real confrontation had occurred when
he limited her to 50,000 texts a
month, explaining that was all he
could afford.  She whined for a
week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was
another matter altogether.  Perhaps
it was the constant bombarding he
got in public school that global
warming, the bird flu, terrorism, or
any of a number of other calamities
were “just around the corner”, but
Jason had developed a kind of
nihilistic attitude that ranged
between simmering surliness and
outright hostility.  It didn’t help
that Jason had reported his father
to the police for smoking a
cigarette in the house, an act made
criminal by the Smoking Control
Statute of 2018, which outlawed
smoking anywhere within 500 feet of
another human being.  Winston paid
the $5,000 fine, which might have
been considered excessive before the
American dollar became virtually
worthless as a result of QE13.

The latest round of quantitative
easing the federal government
initiated was, once again, to “spur
economic growth.”  This time, they
promised to push unemployment below
its years-long rate of 18%, but
Winston was not particularly
hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which
to be thankful, Winston thought,
before remembering it was a Day of
Atonement.

At least, he had his memories.  He
felt a twinge of sadness when he
realized his children would never
know what life was like in the Good
Old Days, long before government
promises to make life “fair for
everyone” realized their full
potential. Winston, like so many of
his fellow Americans, never realized
how much things could change when
they didn’t happen all at once, but
little by little, so people could
get used to them.  He wondered what
might have happened if the public
had stood up while there was still
time, maybe back around 2012, when
all the real nonsense began.

“Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are
today if we’d just said ‘enough is
enough’ when we had the chance,” he
thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

Mark Twain once said: It’s easier to
fool people than to convince them
that they have been fooled