Bob Franken




How does a vegetarian who is avoiding NFL football this weekend and wouldn’t be caught dead in a shopping mall on Black Friday celebrate Thanksgiving? I’ve run out of traditions.
However, it’s not all that bleak. I can still eat myself into oblivion without consuming meat, and gorge myself with stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and lots of desserts. There’s always Tofurky, which tastes like rubber, but can be smothered in gravy. It’s the best meat substitute for the holidays, so far. And, I can still have embarrassing arguments about politics and ruin everybody else’s dinner.
By the way, it is always nice to see the president, any president, pardon the turkeys, usually two of them. That leaves countless millions on the dinner table, but by next year we may have Impossible Poultry, just like we can now scarf up plant-based hamburgers and sausages that taste, well, close enough. Perhaps in years to come, a chief executive can pardon a chemically manipulated pea protein isolate.

Of course, President Donald Trump enjoys his power to pardon anyone not named Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s still not clear if he could really pardon himself if he were to leave office facing an uncertain legal future. Although he enjoys wiping the slate clean for his buddies, someone should make sure that he knows he can’t pardon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under indictment for bribery, breach of trust and fraud. Not only that, but Netanyahu is having trouble forming a government and keeping his job. Bibi is having a rough go of it. But Trump can’t pardon him, no matter how the Don likes to break the rules. Besides, his own job is in a tad of jeopardy for breaking some rules. For him, another dish on the Mar-a-Lago menu might be impeachment cobbler.
As for football, it is galling that NFL teams play on Thanksgiving. True, that has become part of the American way, but Colin Kaepernick is still being boycotted by the league’s owners because he wouldn’t stand for the national anthem in a protest against abuse of minorities. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t freedom of expression also part of the American way?
Specifically, I ignore the Washington entry because of the bigoted name of the team, which is all the more objectionable around Thanksgiving, considering the holiday celebrates a feast attended by colonists and native Americans. Actually, I’m in good company in disdaining the Washington R-words. But that’s because they are ridiculously awful.
Owner Dan Snyder has frittered away a franchise where people once had to go on a waiting list for 20 years to pay for ridiculously priced tickets. These days, the home stadium would be entirely empty except for the crowd that comes from far and wide to see the visiting team play, attracted by ticket prices that are embarrassingly cheap. Besides, there is plenty of college football to watch, otherwise known as semiprofessional football, except the players don’t get paid.
If you really want contact sports, there is always rugby, where “you don’t win, you survive,” or roller derby. But the most brutal of all is shopping at the mall on Black Friday. There is nothing racial about Black Friday. It’s supposed to mark the day that retail brick and mortar establishments go into the black. Black Friday is equal opportunity mob violence. One question: What is a brick and mortar establishment?
Notwithstanding that economic sector, it’s fashionable these days to note personal gratitude on Thanksgiving. And I don’t want to pooh-pooh the idea. I’m grateful for my family and friends, including my puppy for lavishing undeserved love on me. I’m also grateful for the suburban families who take time to serve the poor and hungry holiday meals. I would really prefer it if a select few didn’t hoard all our bounty. That way, there might be no poor and hungry. That would be a real cause for Thanksgiving.

© 2019 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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