By Kylee Zempel
More than eight months after “15 days to flatten the curve,” our so-called medical experts, politicos, and pundits are bidding us to avoid our family at all costs over the holidays, lest we die. This Thanksgiving week, family separation is the name of the game, with governors and local authorities implementing onerous restrictions to discourage people from leaving their homes.
“If you are planning to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, we urge you to reconsider,” wrote a group of governors in the pages of the Washington Post. These authors included little tyrants such as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose lockdown orders arbitrarily outlawed the sale of gardening seeds while allowing patrons to purchase lottery tickets, Gov. Andy Beshear, who ordered that Kentucky police record church attendees’ license plate numbers at Easter services as “the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else,” and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose family violated his own lockdown orders on more than one occasion to travel to their second home in Florida.
Instead, these hypocritical governors insist, “Get together with your family via Zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe.” Nothing says grateful gathering like a conference call with your kin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise the same, qualifying Thanksgiving gatherings as “highest risk,” although the CDC’s own data suggests lockdowns could kill as many people as the Wuhan virus itself.
The media goes right along with all of it, instilling fear and shaming Americans who question them, while also violating health orders themselves and then lying about it. These media elites are already wishing us a very COVID Christmas too, with CNN’s Jake Tapper declaring, “Christmas is probably not going to be possible.”
‘Short-Term’ Is a Myth
“We must make short-term sacrifices for our long-term health,” the governors wrote trying to make their rhetoric more palatable in the Washington Post article. “None of us wants the guilt of gathering and unwittingly spreading this virus to someone we love.”
Nothing about these sacrifices has been “short-term,” however. The March days turned into the summer weeks, which have led to the winter months, which is turning into a full year and more — just gone. The fearmongering has guilted families into objectifying their loved ones, viewing them as threats, and now many of them are gone anyway — dying of cancer, dying of old age, and dying alone. We’ve turned fear into our friend and family into our foe. Is this really best “for our long-term health”?
“Think about your last Thanksgiving and the people you were surrounded by — your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends, or the family you have chosen for yourself,” the group of governors urged. “Picture their faces — laughing with you, watching football with you or even arguing with you about politics. As hard as it will be to not see them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if their chairs are empty next year.”
COVID-19 Rhetoric Is Exhausting and Absurd
Americans are exhausted of the rhetoric and are weary of trying to discern the right thing in the highly politicized pandemic. Of course we don’t want to subject our friends and family to danger, and of course we don’t want their chairs to be empty next year — but we are rational actors. We know every single time we gather around the table, it could be the last, pandemic or not. What is “thanksgiving” if not gratitude for the gracious gifts we don’t deserve, including people, with whom our days are numbered? What an awful prospect to think of relinquishing our limited days with family as though time with them next year were a guarantee.
Should we put our trust in the advice of health experts and the elected that have been known to lie and cheat, and hold at arm’s length the people who most give us life lest they kill us? These “experts” are the same people who insist church is more dangerous than mass protests and rioting, and the same politicians who advise you to wear your mask between bites of food.
Is it so much more dangerous to gather with loved ones over a meal than to eat surrounded by strangers at a restaurant? What about our mental health? Is it wise to progress through the cold winter months, as seasonal depression sets in for many people, with a dismissive attitude toward those who should be under our care?
Joe Biden used the same “empty chair” rhetoric during the last presidential debate, warning that we’re headed into a “dark winter.” But are family separation policies and paralyzing fear of a virus really less dark than the possibility of physical death? Shouldn’t we be permitted to make these assessments and take these risks without condemnation? Eliminating all risk goes against all the things American, and shunning community weakens the bonds that make life worth living.
Gather This Thanksgiving
Life is too short to live it in fear of dying. Of course, we should not be reckless, but rather prudent and charitable so we truly can enjoy an abundant Advent season and gather once again next November with gratitude.
For at-risk family members, use this opportunity to find ways to serve them and to demonstrate your affection even though they might not be present at your table this year. Their need for caution doesn’t eradicate their need for community; don’t make yourself feel better by cutting them out of your life and telling yourself it’s for their safety.
For young, healthy family and friends — whose coronavirus recovery rate is north of 99.9 percent — gather, and give thanks. There’s simply no rational reason to isolate yourself.
One public health expert even advised The Federalist that Americans should “have a Thanksgiving or Christmas get-together with no restrictions, but if older people (60+) are going to be present alongside younger people (18-60), be sure to get rapid antigen tests for everyone — especially the young — before the event.” These are reasonable precautions.
The group of governors concluded, “We will get through this together.” But that isn’t true — and it isn’t what they want. This holiday season, they want you to get through it alone. Be smart, but don’t let the petty tyrants keep you away from your loved ones this holiday season. Cherish the time with them because it is fleeting.