For many people, Thanksgiving has become little more than a mild speed bump during the race from Halloween to Christmas. Used to be that Thanksgiving's significance was as a reminder of the colonies' humble "pilgrim" beginnings. Now, it's a salute to the launching of a full-tilt Christmas spending attack. It's enough to turn cheery holiday lovers into cynics — and to my surprise, I'm thankful for that this year.
Yes, I used to gripe about the crass mammon worship that took over the modern holiday season, but no more. I've seen the light. After spending a year covering the cynical goings-on in politics and such, I finally realized the straits we're all in. I learned to accept the new, harsh realities of American life and put away the supposed spirituality of the season and all that slop. Let's face it, after 2013, with its Tea Party legislature in Raleigh, its nihilistic U.S. House, and its bungled Obamacare website, I'm more than ready to throw away my soul for, say, a new TV. Hey, it's the American way — just like Thanksgiving! What follows, then, in the spirit of adapting to the new, tough-love America, is a list of things I'll be giving thanks for come Thursday.
• First, of course, I'm thankful to see local merchants putting up all the lovely, cheap Christmas ornaments, plastic trees, wrapping paper and knickknacks in their stores as soon as Halloween ended. Special thanks to those who were daring enough to deck their halls in October. Nothing says "It's the holidays, damn it!" better than My Little Pony Yuletide ornaments hanging alongside Freddy Krueger masks.
• I'm thankful the federal government has lifted the ban on poultry imported from China. Just because some dogs were dying after eating Chinese chicken snacks, that doesn't mean Americans should be denied a dubiously delicious turkey for Thanksgiving — and just think of the savings!
• Special thanks to Pamela Geller, the anti-Muslim blogger behind much of the Ground Zero mosque baloney, who revealed last year that Butterball turkeys are "certified halal" (aka conform to Islamic dietary rules) and thus will help to install Sharia guidelines as the supreme law of the land in the U.S. This year, Butterball announced that its birds were non-halal. Go Pam!
• Everyone should be thankful that a former Charlotte mayor made it to the governor's mansion. This city's record of electing one fantastic mayor after another made it unfathomable why Queen City honchos have had such a hard time being elected to statewide office. Now that Gov. Pat McCrory has spent hundreds of thousands of bucks to blow away the poop-stink problem in his office bathroom, while signing one millionaire-coddling bill after another, you can bet we'll see more guvnahs from Mahs Pahk in the future. Thanks for that blessing, Pat!
• I'm immensely grateful to Democratic voters in Charlotte who gave their party's nomination to a man who embodies the essence of American government today — cronyism. Nothing says, "be my crony" more than having a mayor whose main source of income comes from contracts with city government. Good show, Dems!
• I'm thankful to the guv for taking a strong stand against bullying in schools. And what a way to show his commitment: naming a world-class homophobe, state board of education member A.L. "Buddy" Collins, to the N.C. Task Force on Safer Schools. The task force will recommend legislation to improve school safety. In the spirit of "It takes one to know one," who better to propose ways to banish hateful, anti-gay bullying in schools than someone who, as a Forsyth County school board member, voted against even considering harassment of gays as bullying?
• Thanks again to the GOP majority in Raleigh for going all-out to clean up our elections process and get rid of so many icky Democratic voters. Starting with the 2014 elections, we'll all have to show a state-issued photo ID in order to vote. In addition, early voting has been cut back; same-day registration was eliminated; and provisional ballots cast in incorrect precincts won't be counted. So what if the Justice Department is suing the state because of the Republicans' bold actions? Critics of the new measures should give thanks for politicians who are more interested in being re-elected than preserving democracy. Hey, it's the new, hard rules being forced on the people by gutsy pols, and we just have to get used to it — and thank God for the blessing.
• Finally, I'm thankful that the General Assembly, the governor and Department of Health and Human Services honcho Aldona "Quit Asking Questions" Wos decided to deny health coverage to nearly a half-million North Carolinians by refusing to expand Medicaid at the federal government's expense. Let us give profound thanks for the hard lessons we're all learning. Now pass the damned gravy.