Sure, that sounds counterintuitive. Thanksgiving Thursday is the first day of a (for most of us) four-day weekend, a time devoted to gorging on comfort food and nonstop viewing of college and professional football games.
It's a time as well for contemplation, already primed by overfamiliar songs in shopping malls, of an even longer holiday season. I grew up in Detroit, where the auto assembly lines shut down entirely for last two weeks of the calendar year. Who needs work?
Each of our two political parties, ancient by world standards, seems to be facing a gathering storm.
Three days after the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans were primed to hear their president express heartfelt anger, which he did in his press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of the G-20 summit. And they did hear him describe ISIS as "this barbaric terrorist organization" and acknowledge that the "terrible events in Paris were a terrible and sickening setback."
Riots in black neighborhoods. Rebellions on campus. The news these past few months and particularly in the past week has been full of stories that remind us, as William Faulkner wrote a little more than half a century after the Civil War, "the past is never dead. It's not even past." We're seeing something that looks eerily like the recurrence of events that led, half a century ago, to the destruction of much of our cities and much of our campuses.
Tuesday night's Fox Business/Wall Street Journal debate in Milwaukee provided clues as to why Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have been climbing, not by wide margins but perceptibly, into the top-polling positions of the candidates behind the two poll leaders, Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
The widespread assumption among political insiders is that in the crunch time when things really matter Republican voters will abandon the frontrunners for candidates with experience in public office. That hasn't happened yet. But if it does, Rubio and Cruz are clearly better positioned than anyone else.
You don't have to wander long in the liberal commentariat to find projections that the Republican Party is in a death spiral, doomed by demographics, discredited by the dissension among House Republicans, disenchanted with its experienced presidential candidates and despised by the great mass of voters.
'Shut up,' he explained. That's a sentence from Ring Lardner's short story "The Young Immigrunts." It's an exasperated father's response from the driver's seat to his child's question, "Are you lost, Daddy?"
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immoveable object?That's one question raised by the 2016 presidential campaign.
The immoveable object is the close and bitter partisan division that has prevailed in general elections for the last two decades. The irresistible force is the corrosive discontent of American voters, their sense that the nation is headed off on the wrong track and that experienced leaders are more the problem than the solution.
Free college! That's what the Democratic candidates were offering in their presidential debate. And it's likely that, if the subject had come up, they would have offered something like free home mortgages as well, to judge from Hillary Clinton's statement that she had urged Wall Street to stop mortgage foreclosures. Sounds a lot like free houses!
Nothing new there. Nothing to see here. Time to move on for good.
That was the attitude of most in the mainstream media to the 11-hour questioning of Hillary Clinton by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. It was not the prevailing attitude, as I remember, toward the hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee or the impeachment debate at the House Judiciary Committee (on whose staff Clinton served) 40-something years ago.