When I was a kid in Indiana, we thought it would be fun to get a turkey a year
ahead of time and feed it and so on for the following Thanksgiving. But by the
time Thanksgiving came around, we sort of thought of the turkey as a pet,
so we ate the dog. Only kidding. It was the cat! ~ DAVID LETTERMAN
These are the folks joining us again this Thanksgiving for our annual stuffed turkey, cranberry and brussels sprouts extravaganza. Before dinner, we all crowd into the living room and listen to Alice's Restaurant for the umpteenth time. Then there's dinner, touch football in the back yard before pumpkin pie and ice cream for dessert, and brandy for the grown-ups while the kids arm wrestle on the floor. Then we all watch Home Alone for the ump-umpteenth time before passing the Zantac and going our separate ways.
Despite all the turmoil in the world and sometimes in our own lives, we all have oodles to be thankful for, as our grandson Toby puts it, again this year. I'd like to introduce each of us and explain why.
That's Toby on the left. He had an anxiety disorder that went untreated, and he fell behind in school. Then President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides quality health care to kids like him. Today Toby is a straight-A student. (Well, maybe not in gym class.) Republicans opposed renewing CHIP, even for children who were uninsured.
Next to Toby is Courtney, or Curtsy as her brother Toby calls her. She went to work as a quality control technician at a pharmaceutical plant straight out of high school and eventually found out that she wasn't making as much as the men in her lab. She didn't mind the flirting, but getting paid less for doing the same work seemed unfair. Under the Obama-supported Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, she's now making the same. Republicans opposed the act and sued to try to block it.
Next to Adrian is Matt and next to him is Armand. Matt and Armand are Iraq war veterans who happen to be gay. They have been living together for years and are very much in love, but weren't permitted to get married because of a state law until Obama's lawyers argued forcefully before the Supreme Court that their union is constitutionally protected like Mom's and mine. Republicans adamantly oppose same-sex marriage and predict a social apocalypse.
Next to Matt and Armand is Kelly. He struggles with a form of paralysis linked to contaminants from a Reagan era Superfund site where he played as a child. Then Obama signed the Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis and backed embryonic stem-cell research into the causes of paralysis. Republicans didn't want to fund the act and oppose anything to do with embryonic stem cells.
That's Mom and me at the head of the table. I'll get back to us in just a sec.
Next to us is Adnan. He was an orphaned refugee from the civil war in Syria when Barbara and Frank adopted him last year. They were unable to find child care while they worked. Under an Obama administration program, money was provided for child care and his English teacher's job was saved through the president's Recovery Act. Republicans opposed the program and Recovery Act, and oppose even orphaned war refugees being granted asylum.
Next to Bart is Beverly, or The Bevster as her brother Toby calls her. She's asthmatic but couldn't afford health insurance when she decided to work for a veterinarian for a year before attending community college to become a vet tech, but because of Obamacare she can stay on her mom's policy until she's out on her own. Republicans oppose all forms of health-care reform.
Next to Beverly is her and her siblings' mom, Barbara. Obama's stimulus bill saved her job at the auto assembly plant and she is celebrating a big pay raise because of record sales and profits. (You may have noticed that she's wearing a new wig, which is the subject of some dinner-table tittering). Most Republicans opposed bailing out automakers.
And finally there's Barbara's husband, Frank. He likes to joke that he's the Frank in Dodd-Frank, the financial reform legislation supported by Obama, and there's actually some truth to that. The agency created as part of Dodd-Frank to protect Americans against predatory lending saved their house from being taken when they couldn't keep up with usurious mortgage payments. Republicans oppose Wall Street regulation and support removing what little there is.
As for Mom and me, we too thank the president, and have done so every year when we say Grace.
We know Mr. Obama hasn't been perfect, but we sure feel like middle class folks like us finally have a chance again. Also, we were able to install solar panels on the roof of our house because of his administration's generous tax incentives, and we're selling our surplus electricity to the local utility. We also were able to get rid of our old car through his Cash for Clunkers program and buy an energy-efficient model. Republicans are intent on making things tougher for the middle class, oppose "green" power, and voted against Cash for Clunkers.
The only person missing is our next-door neighbor Leo, who usually sits at the opposite end of the table from Mom and I.
Leo is a widower, poor guy, and lost his wife to cancer in 2008. It had gone untreated because their darned insurance company refused write a policy when they found out she was ill. Leo would never blame the Republicans for that, although his wife once told Mom they were to blame. Anyhow, Leo said he wouldn't be joining us for dinner after that darned Toby asked him if he was a racist at the Labor Day picnic because he flew a Confederate battle flag and had a Trump for President sticker on the rifle rack in the back window of his pickup truck.
You can't choose your family, of course, but we've been blessed, and hope your Thanksgiving be as wonderful as ours. Uncle Frank likes to say that we "mustn't view everything through an ideological prison," so yes, our blessings even go out to the Republicans who are against everything.
Politix Update is an irregular compendium written by veteran journalist Shaun Mullen, for whom the 2016 presidential campaign is his (gasp!) 12th since 1968. Click HERE for an index of previous Politix Updates.
PARODY OF NORMAL ROCKWELL'S "FREEDOM FROM WANT" (1942)
COURTESY MODERN FAMILY