I'm too dispirited to link to the numerous stories about retailers opening early on the day after Christmas (some as early as midnight) or even staying open on Thanksgiving itself. I never minded the old Blue Laws in Texas that kept most businesses closed at least one day every weekend. Taking an occasional respite from the demands of commerce has got to be good for the soul, and this nation could use a bit more soul.
The day before Thanksgiving, I ran into a convenience store clerk who was preparing to work the 3:30-11:30 p.m. shift on Thanksgiving Day. She wasn't happy, and I don't blame her. What's the value in losing a day of rest and peace with friends and family compared to the value of having one more place open where somebody can pick up a six pack or a pack of cigarettes on the holiday? There's no comparison.
The Thanksgiving retail crush is another instance of how traditional values have been reversed. Conservatives and Christians were the ones who pushed for the old Blue Laws in hopes that the idle time would turn people toward the spiritual or at least give the small business owner respite for one day a week from the grind of fighting big retailers.
Now the fight against holiday commercialization, to the extent that it is fought at all, seems to be another one of those hopeless causes taken on by liberals trying to shape the world in their own image. But for all those workers forced to work on Thanksgiving or to cut short their day off to resume the grind before dawn on Friday, what's lost is more than a day of peace and thanksgiving. It's another chunk of shared experience, of community and solidarity, chipped away.
And, I suspect, most of those Wal-Mart shoppers still think they are conservatives.