I reached out via the family group chat on Facebook messenger. I said I wanted to come home to New England for Thanksgiving, I missed my extended family, and asked if anyone would see us.
I wrote: “Hey fam, We’d would really like to come to New England for Thanksgiving and see all of your beautiful faces. Would I be welcomed or are we too scared of covid? Don’t want to make anyone feel weird, I just super miss you guys.”
I was nervous. What if even reaching out was considered verboten? What if this in itself was crossing some kind of line that would make my family think that I wasn’t taking the stupid virus seriously enough and they would think badly of me? I held my breath.
It was only a minute or two before my little cousin—not so little now, with a family of her own—replied that she’d be glad to have us up. “You can come stay with us,” she wrote, “we’d be glad to have you.”
My heart leapt! Family! It’s been so long! I haven’t even met my cousin’s babies yet, or seen her new house, and I can’t wait. Normally we make trips north during the summer months, and this summer, we stayed put in New York. It was sad and depressing, and I couldn’t imagine another several months going by without seeing everyone.
But that’s exactly what New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio wants New Yorkers to do. He wants us to sit home and be depressed, to have virtual celebrations. He has urged people to stay home, to spend holidays alone. So have numerous other politicians.
“I hate to say it but I have to urge all New Yorkers — do not travel out of state for the holidays,” de Blasio said. “Realize that by doing that, unfortunately you could be putting yourself and your family in danger and the risk of bringing the disease back here.”
New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo swooped in as well, to issue more restrictions on gatherings in the state, limiting indoor gatherings of private citizens in their private homes to 10 persons or less. This includes any holiday celebrations.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has proclaimed his intention of spending the Thanksgiving holiday alone, without grandkids around. Fauci said it was because people are not following the guidance on coronavirus management that they ought to be punished by being alone and away from family on the holidays. He said that the risk of out-of-town guests is just too great.
“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” Fauci commented, when asked about the tradition of families getting together for Thanksgiving. “It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”
Around the world, leaders are demanding that citizens forego family, community, gatherings, and holidays. In Paris, officials have said Christmas should be cancelled. In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson said that the new round of lockdowns will end on December 2, but there were also reports that police could be called in to break up Christmas dinners if households aren’t complying with new isolation rules.
This virus that has killed the vulnerable is also destroying our way of life, and it’s not because the virus is forcing us into giving up what makes life worth living. It’s because our leaders are so terrified of being perceived as handling it wrong, or being too soft, that they are restricting our movements and imposing guidelines that won’t stop the virus, but will certainly end social cohesion.
There is a virus, and it needs to be dealt with, but in many ways, the governments have done what they can. But a virus is going to virus. While officials may think they are helping by shuttering businesses, forcing people out of work, denying children an education, closing cultural institutions, and restricting citizens from enjoying the holidays, they are not. Lockdowns are not helping anyone but those progressive, leftist leaders who would prefer an economy and society where all people are dependent on the government for everything they might need, from income to health care to permission to celebrate holidays.
These restrictions are being used to control, coerce, and terrify people. It’s not right. Elected leaders, government health advisors, and municipal bureaucrats do not have the right or the authority to stop Americans from their right to peaceably assemble, whether it’s to stage a protest (something leftist leaders have no trouble authorizing, praising, or taking part in) or to enjoy a turkey dinner with family.
These leaders and their authoritarian dictates on what free citizens may and may not do need to be defied. For starters, have Thanksgiving with your family if you want to, and make plans for Christmas that do not involve Zoom calls and distance. Have a hug, and meet your new baby cousins.
We need to learn how to live with the presence of this new contagion, and not to have it prevent us from living at all. I’ll be in New England for Thanksgiving, and I can hardly wait.