15 November 2014

Will Thanksgiving become an extinct American holiday? Just see what Corporate Retail America is doing!

Last year right around this time I posted an article on my blog about my view as well as my reaction to retailers that want to make a quick profit before Black Friday by opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  Now that Thanksgiving 2014 and the Christmas holiday season is just on the horizon the trend of retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day is reaching an alarming rate.

Sound concerned?  You should be.

I got to agree with you 100 percent:  Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas holiday season is my favorite time of year.  Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and friends, especially when you gather around the table and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.  And we can't forget the rites and rituals of Thanksgiving including of course the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City that is televised live by your local NBC affiliate (which for us Tampa/St. Petersburg residents, is shown on WFLA-TV Channel 8) and the constant stream of Christmas music everywhere that kicks off the Christmas holiday season.

Back in my childhood days, I remember when practically everything retail was indeed closed on Thanksgiving Day, even fast food restaurants such as McDonald's.  In fact, I still remember the wording on the store hours posted at the door into McDonald's:  We rest on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The only places that were open on Thanksgiving included gas stations and convenience stores.

Thanksgiving is indeed a true time to be with family.  Thanksgiving is indeed a true time to be with friends too.  It certainly is, and I believe it should stay that way.

Except to Corporate Retail America.

You know all about Black Friday, the Day After Thanksgiving.  That's the day when you can shop all over for the great deals!  In the past, retailers have opened their doors early in the morning on Black Friday in order to gain a competitive edge.

Now that competitive edge has crossed into a newer kind of territory which would have been unheard of fifteen, ten or even five years ago:  Opening for business on Thanksgiving Day.

What?  Opening for business on Thanksgiving Day?  You got to be kidding me.

Before I go on further, please let me emphasize that this is about retailers deciding to be open on Thanksgiving Day.  There are services that have to be open on all holidays including Thanksgiving, and that includes public safety (fire/police/EMS) and transportation providers - after all, we depend on our courageous public safety officials to keep us safe and we depend on our transportation providers to get us where we want to go.  Ditto for mid- to upscale restaurants that provide an option for those that want to partake in the tradition of Thanksgiving but for one reason or another cannot prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.

Unfortunately, Corporate Retail America made a decision on how to make a quick profit now that the Christmas holiday season is just on the horizon.  Let's be a lot more competitive as it can by throwing Thanksgiving Day in the shredder and open for business on the last Thursday in November just like any other regular day.

Yeah, be competitive all right.  But think of what Corporate Retail America is doing here:  Requiring employees that work for a retailer that has decided to open on Thanksgiving Day to work on Thanksgiving Day, away from family and friends that could otherwise enjoy the Thanksgiving Day holiday at home enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  All in the name of greed and profit.

By so doing, Corporate Retail America has decided to do away with Thanksgiving as we know it even though Thanksgiving is a major American national holiday.  If you want to get rid of Thanksgiving altogether you might as well consider adding a week to the school calendar and have school on the week that used to be Thanksgiving.

In fact, Corporate Retail America can lobby Congress all it wants to in order to remove Thanksgiving as a legal American holiday.  if Corporate Retail America succeeds, then Thanksgiving as we know it in America will be in all likelihood extinct.

If you think Corporate Retail America is doing anything to erase Thanksgiving as an American national holiday, it can by opening for business on Thanksgiving Day.  Believe me, repealing Thanksgiving as an American national holiday will not happen.

After all, Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in American tradition beginning from the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce de Leon landed on Florida's east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.  After all, Florida at the time was still a part of Spain until 1819 when the Adams-Onis treaty was signed that gave Florida to the United States.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863 when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November.  Thanksgiving as we know it today on the fourth Thursday of November was fixed into law by Congress beginning in 1942, according to Wikipedia.

Believe me, any attempt at a repeal of Thanksgiving as an American national holiday, especially at the hands of Corporate Retail America, will not happen.   It won't.

Here is my view of Thanksgiving as an American national holiday, and Corporate Retail America's attempt to make Thanksgiving extinct:

1.  Being a native born American citizen and a native born Floridian, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.

2.  Thanksgiving is a holiday to be with family and friends.  That being said, I do not conduct any business whatsoever on Thanksgiving Day.  Besides, I was born and raised in an era where practically everything was closed on Thanksgiving Day and we knew better to stock up on what we need before Thanksgiving.  It is very unfortunate that we now live in an era of instant gratification, also known as the I gotta have this right now era.

3.  My message to Corporate Retail America is this as far as opening on Thanksgiving Day is concerned and ruining the livelihood of your employees and associates who would rather be home with family and friends:  If the spirit of the American holidays such as Thanksgiving offends you in any way, shape or form, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, preferably a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

What can you do to send a loud and clear message to tell Corporate Retail America to keep their profit greedy hands off of our American national holidays?  After all, one person can't move a locomotive (or even a mound of Interstate 275 overpass dirt) by hand but there is strength in numbers!

1.  First and foremost, don't spend your hard earned money on Thanksgiving Day at retailers that decide to violate the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday by being open.

2.  If you live in Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island consider yourself lucky:  Your state laws forbid most retailers from opening for business on Thanksgiving Day among the major holidays.  Unfortunately, no law forbidding retailers from opening for business in Florida exists:  Call, email or write your legislators in Tallahassee and tell them that Thanksgiving is a holiday and retailers need to show respect for the Thanksgiving holiday by not being open for business.

3.  Patronize retailers that show respect for their employees and their families by being closed on Thanksgiving Day.  Don't give retailers that disrespect family values your business.

That being said, we need to take back Thanksgiving as it should be - a holiday with friends and family.  And we do need to take back Thanksgiving as we know it now before it's too late.

With Thanksgiving upon us, onward with the Christmas holiday season!

02 November 2014

Election Day 2014 - Be Ready at the Polls!

On Tuesday, 4 November 2014 we Floridians go to the polls to elect a Governor of the State of Florida among other things.  Ever since Rick Scott got elected governor four years ago in 2010 the State of Florida as we see it is not the same.

After all, Rick Scott did nothing more than turn against the people of the great State of Florida.  Ditto with Pam Bondi, Florida's Attorney General.  You'll be surprised:

Unauthorized turning of public meetings into private meetings and using law enforcement as a tool of intimidation such as using trespass warnings.

The refusal of federal healthcare money.

Throwing 25,000 potential jobs into the trash by refusing money for high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando on the Interstate 4 corridor.

The constant lying and deceit to the people of the State of Florida.

Telling people that were unemployed and are still looking for work that you are on your own.

People who are discriminated against in looking for work, including the use of credit reports as public record.

Your child treated by your school district as its property.  Try to even speak with your child's teachers regarding your child's progress and you will be trespassed from school property.

The warehousing of disabled and elderly persons into nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities (ALF), thanks to Florida's guardianship laws.

Making it very easy for a law abiding Floridian to acquire an arrest record, thanks to Pam Bondi's goals.

The constant use of Section 810.09 - Florida's trespassing law - as a tool of intimidation, especially against the homeless.

Making sure that Floridians that are legally registered to vote are purged from the voter rolls.

Now that Election Day 2014 is just around the corner, ask yourself:  Do you want four more years of the constant lying, deceit and threats that is now in Tallahassee?  Or do you want change in Tallahassee starting from the Governor downward?

We do not have to put up with another four years of Rick Scott as well as Pam Bondi.  We Floridians can make a change come on Tuesday, 4 November 2014 at our assigned polling place.

If you have already participated in early voting or you have voted by mail, that's great!  For those of you that want to go to the polls it's best to be prepared before you make the trek to your assigned polling place.

Remember, the polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM on Election Day.  What if you are in line at your assigned polling place at 7 PM when the polls close?  As long as you are in line by 7 PM, you will be able to vote!

You can go over to the website of your county's Supervisor of Elections and even generate a sample ballot based on where you live.  Print it out and take it with you so that you can use it as a reference when you actually vote.

For reference, here are links to the Supervisors of Elections in the Tampa Bay region (a selected list of Supervisors of Elections links):

Links to above Supervisors of Elections offices in the immediate Tampa Bay region are provided to you as a public service.

When you arrive at your assigned polling place, be sure to have a picture and signature ID with you when you go to check in with the poll worker.  A Florida Driver License or a Florida ID Card is best but Florida's voter ID law allows you to use the following as ID when you go to vote:

Florida Driver License
Florida Identification Card
United States Passport (either the book or card is OK)
Debit or credit card
Student or Military ID
Retirement Center ID
Neighborhood Association ID
Public Assistance ID

When you registered to vote or updated your voting information, your Supervisor of Elections will more than likely sent you a Voter Information Card, which used to be a Voter Identification Card many years ago.  A Voter Information Card is NOT valid voter ID.

If in the event you do not have valid voter ID with you when you go to vote, you can still vote.  However, you will only be able to vote a provisional ballot and you will be given instructions on proving your identity at the polling place.

If you have previously requested a mail ballot and you decide to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, you can still vote!  Having your mail ballot with you is the best, as your mail ballot will be cancelled and you will be given a regular ballot.  However, if you do not have the mail ballot with you don't fret - the poll worker will check to be sure that the mail ballot was not received.

So, what can we Floridians do to see change in Tallahassee?

That, my friend, is very simple.  Get on over to your assigned polling place on 4 November 2014 and VOTE!  I don't care how you get to your assigned polling place, whether it may be by your own vehicle, on foot, by bicycle, by public transit or whatever, but get out there on Tuesday, 4 November 2014 and VOTE!!!