Here’s hoping everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families, and will have a spectacularly comforting Christmas and New Year’s.
Unfortunately, if the President of the United States had his way, Thanksgiving would be called Obama Day. So would Christmas. Every day we would wish each other Happy State Day and give thanks to the government. For the president and his progressive allies want to put the state everywhere, to make it the centerpiece of everyone’s lives, and in many ways thay have succeeded.
And so there on Thanksgiving the other week was the pro-Obama and progressive group Organizing for America with a commercial telling people, according to the Daily Caller, “to give their kids a Thanksgiving scolding until they sign up for Obamacare.”
Political pundit Charles Krauthammer thankfully took on the message and its implications: “It’s ridiculous. And it’s got a kind of creepy Soviet element here. The essence of the overbearing state is that they leave you no haven from politics. And there is no place that ought to be yours and outside of politics as the family table, especially with a large turkey on it and everybody gathered all over the country.”
It didn’t stop there. The White House sent an email using Thanksgiving as an opportunity to campaign against food-stamp reform: “When You Sit Down to Thanksgiving Dinner This Year, Remember This: For decades, Congress has authorized SNAP (food stamps) in a bipartisan fashion through the Farm Bill. They don’t have to do it in a way that hurts children, seniors, veterans, and vulnerable families. Learn more, and pass it on...”
That’s right, don’t pass the potatoes or the stuffing, pass the politics.
There was no greeting giving thanks for our blessings as a nation, no humble thought about the importance of families and loved ones. No nod to festive parades. The only thing to give thanks for was politics. Mr. Obama’s politics.
While the politics were blatant, the delivery was by no means random. Everywhere the Left has infiltrated our lives, or tried to. Bob Costas uses half time at football games and other sporting events to rant about gun control and the political incorrectness of the Washington Redskins’ name, and he promises there’s more politics to come.
But is this what football fans want? A few weeks ago, I heard Rush Limbaugh complain that even he wanted down time from politics while watching football and couldn’t have it anymore. Most people want time away from the serious issues of the day, for just a few hours.
But we can’t, because there’s always the elephantine state in the room. Want to get away to watch your favorite sitcom? You’re not going to be able to without hearing Obamacare promotions written into the scripts. There are grants for that.
Increasingly, the state shows up in all sorts of supposedly nonpolitical forums. Tap a friend with a balloon at school and you could get suspended for bullying. Don’t be surprised to hear political commentary at your church service or theatre performance. Pretty soon, under Obamacare, doctors will lecture you about the evils of gun ownership.
The liberals are everywhere, and they are going to let you know it.
To be sure, one hears that voters should be more informed. Fair enough. But there is an appropriate time and place for political discussion, and that’s when it’s voluntary.
Thanksgiving dinner can be a partisan brawl if a family wants; but the government’s plan for our lives shouldn’t be forced onto the menu. It’s the difference between propaganda and education, between freedom and totalitarianism.
All of this is tied up in the inexorable growth of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. By that I mean the left wing of the Democratic Party as opposed to its more traditionally liberal side. It’s the difference, to personify it, between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton.
It’s an important distinction. Liberals have always supported entitlements, and long ago those entitlements were corrupted beyond a safety net for the poor to encompass benefits for all kinds of special interests. Such a belief system corrodes free enterprise and fosters dependence, but liberalism believed it could hand out goodies without mandating state control of every aspect of life.
At its core, liberalism retained its capitalist cast, and, however naively, its belief in the constitution. The adherence has been shaky at times, but it’s there.
Not so progressivism. Progressivism isn’t interested in growing entitlements to enhance the standard of living for those at the bottom. It isn’t interested in what people think or want. It doesn’t believe the constitution is anything more than an outdated relic in a collective rather than individual world.
It believes in the state, not in the individual. It believes in entitlements merely as a tool to enslave individuals to the government gulag. It wants you to know what it thinks, not the other way around, and it will tell you at half time.
Mr. Limbaugh seemed to think all this would backfire. According to him, Joe Football may not be political and may not know what a progressive is, but he will learn soon enough and hate them when they intrude upon his football game.
Perhaps, but I wonder, for this is a schmoozy type of fascism – we’re here to take care of you, we’re here to be your friend – not the terrifying brand of yesteryear, when tyranny and real gulags loomed large in Americans’ daily thoughts. Nazi Germany, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis – all those were in your face and served as incessant reminders of the evils of tyranny.
Of course, back then, the menace came from foreign governments. They made it clear whom the enemy was. We were, and our way of life; and, as Khrushchev infamously said, they intended to bury us.
Today the perils of a monolithic state hail from our own government and its accomplices in the state-run media. They make it clear, too, whom the enemy is: we are. We know because the military schools its soldiers using government reports and briefings that characterize as extremist those who are skeptical of the federal government and who support the constitution.
This training of the troops occurs, but it doesn’t make the government playlist. No, the government’s story to the public is fuzzy and warm. It wants you to know all it has done for you, even if it doesn’t comport with the reality of your pocketbook or with your vanishing freedoms.
On Thanksgiving, the government wants you to only thank it. If it succeeds, there won’t be festive parades because that would be politically incorrect. There won’t be a large turkey on the table because that would be unhealthy. There won’t be a football game – that’s not safe – only the half time political speech.
There will be nothing left to give thanks for but the government. Pass the politics, please.
Richard Moore writes The Daily Constitutional at www.rmmoore1.com