Open Forum for week of Dec. 5

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.


No Going Back

To those who remember when shopping on the Sabbath was genuinely frowned upon, the trend of chain stores beginning Black Friday on Thanksgiving evening (including stores in this area) is sadly familiar. For decades Thanksgiving seemed more or less immune from crass commercialization, and the idea of store employees working Thanksgiving evening in order to keep their jobs rather than spending that time with their family unthinkable.

No more. In fact, the Black-Friday-on-Thanksgiving trend is guaranteed to accelerate for two reasons:

– For many people dollars trump tradition regardless of religious or political convictions.

– People who shop on Thanksgiving aren’t a single group that can be easily profiled (e.g., godless anti-traditional-family liberals), but to the contrary are our family members, relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers. This means that the probability of restoring the focus of Thanksgiving to family rather than saving $50 on a new microwave is zero.

One cannot blame the chain stores because they are in the business of making a profit. And the idea that these stores should be a positive force in the community beyond simply providing minimum wage jobs and buying little league uniforms has been discredited since the 1980s.  No, this trashing of tradition is owned by those who shop on Thanksgiving.

To those who complain about the secularization of holidays, I say steel yourself: The increased commercialization of Thanksgiving is the opening salvo in a new war on tradition that will quickly spill over to Christmas and Easter.

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake