This isn’t a law blog (i.e., “blawg”), and I’m not in the area of criminal law or certain areas of civil rights law to really discuss with any great articulation about this week’s news regarding Ferguson, MO. PBS Newshour has a tidy and expansive coverage, and I’m a PBS supporter, so I’m linking it. I’ll also link to the coverage over at Slate, which includes some incisive legal analysis by Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West.
I’ll also share the commentary by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA legend/writer), posted over at Time.com, and I especially admired his closing thoughts:
But we have to remember that the goal of protesting is to raise awareness in those that don’t agree. This is not done instantly, through one gathering. Nor is it done through the persistent occupation of one space. It has to be a national movement, and it has to keep its energy high. When enough people across the country gather to say something, more and more people will listen.
Second, the violence and looting is counter-productive because it redirects the message away from the reasoned arguments to just the emotion. The roar of the fires and the sound of shattering glass drowns out the voices demanding change. The level of frustration that leads to violence is understandable: When you’re treated as if you’re not a valued member of society, why should you uphold society’s values? But violence turns away potential allies and only provides more targets to start the cycle over again. Yes, we must be passionate about the situation, but only because our passion will fuel the open discourse.
A lot of food for thought, and I can only wish that civil dialog, with the intention of persuasion not merely opposition, could occur alongside civil disobedience. But, we’re living in interesting times, as usual.
So, this year, Slate’s current Moneybox writer, Jordan Weissmann, poses the argument on why one shouldn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day.
I’m linking to last year’s post, a lot of which I said still holds up (and was in response to the past Slate Moneybox writer Matthew Yglesias, on why it might not be so bad to work/shop on Thanksgiving); as I said last year:
I get that there are people who are willing to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas. And, Christmas, in my mind, is more of a religious holiday, even if a lot of secular folk and the American government have taken advantage of it. If you want to be open and/or work on Christmas, go ahead. There are a lot of non-Christians who need servicing. I won’t judge.
But, Thanksgiving – notwithstanding its complicated history (much like anything and everything else in this country) – is a uniquely American holiday and unites everyone, because it’s not about race, gender, national origin, religion, lack of religion, or whatever. It’s about being American and being grateful. Maybe Thanksgiving is more than grouching about whether you’re working or not and shopping demonstrates greed/lack of greed/save capitalism and the free market/economy and how much free will is involved when someone chooses to work/open the business on a holiday… the debating is endless.
I feel like it comes down to our national values and our culture. Do businesses have to be open on Thanksgiving – for just one day? Are businesses just about money? Do corporations – assuming they’re people too, as former Gov. Mitt Romney said and legally, they are – have one core value? Do they have one element of patriotism? Just pick one day where you don’t cross a line and say why. And, can’t we as Americans have one nice thing to agree on?
The lines are blurred. All the crazy arguing – this is why we can’t have nice things. (insert sarcasm there, in case you didn’t catch the sarcasm).
I know: weird that I’m quoting myself… Anyway, bottomline for 2014: hey, corporations, as legal people, you ought to have values; give your employees a living wage and don’t be open on Thanksgiving, when it turns out that the deals aren’t even that great anyway (except you want to exploit people’s desire to buy gifts for others).
Past links to past triscribe observances of this great American holiday - the master post. I couldn’t find a Thanksgiving 2012 blog post. That was the year of Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy, so go figure.
My Nat’l Novel Writing Month project just hit 50k words. I don’t even know how to end the damn “story.” And it is a glorious mess indeed, without wormholes. Eh. (no, that was not a joke to Christopher Nolan’s movie “interstellar,” which I still haven’t seen yet).
Don’t overeat, watch the parade, and some football. But, take a moment to be grateful for what we have; we are all luckier than we may think we are.