I saw the movie Winnie Mandela, starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrance Howard, over the Thanksgiving weekend. The performances by both individuals were great and should bring Academy Award nominations. 

The most poignant scene in the film was when Winnie was a little girl and white administrators came to her rural school. The children barely had four walls and a rooftop for a school — no desk, books, paper or pencils — and yet they learn off one blackboard using chalk. When Winnie’s father, who is also the teacher, is told his ability as an educator is in question, he responds that he was willing to put any of his underprivileged children’s knowledge up against any white child. He then has the young Winnie recite a Shakespearean sonnet, the message being that even with few resources, the children were learning. 

That is something parents who grumble about Chicago Public Schools should take under advisement. A good teacher with students willing to learn can educate them even under the worst of circumstances.

There has been a lot of grumbling by some black people about being sick of “slave” movies. It became very pronounced once Twelve Years a Slave was released after The Butler had come out earlier. Yet if you were born after Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison during your lifetime. I wonder if any South Africans will grumble about being sick of movies that portray their fight to end Apartheid? I doubt it. 

Thanksgiving weekend also commenced the annual slavery event known as Christmas shopping. The greed from corporate America to open some big box stores as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day proper, and the willingness of those showing up to risk life and limb over towels, electronics and toys, has devalued both Thanksgiving itself and the Christmas shopping season. 

They should remove the word “Christ” from the holiday season and call it Greedmas. Remember, these are the same folks who claim their employees cannot wish you a “Merry Christmas” because it might offend those who are not Christians while at the same time doing all they can to part you from your money and urge you to spend it.  

If retailers are going to have thousands show up for bargains that number in the hundreds, then full disclosure should be posted as to the number of items available. One story reported over the weekend how a woman pulled a stun gun on another woman over a shopping cart. There were Internet posts about people fighting over towels! Yet you can bet none of the things people who work hard for their money were grabbing were things made in this country.  

If the shoppers lost their jobs tomorrow, there are not lots of jobs to go to because too many of us are so willing to spend our dollars with no regard to where the product was made. We are enriching others while impoverishing ourselves.

When companies open up on the holiday, they are forcing their workers to give up their holiday. So if the lines are long and the cashiers slow, remember they may not be as joyous over losing their time off from family as the shoppers are in getting their bargains. I, for one, fully support them boycotting work on Thanksgiving Day. What’s next? Will stores open on Christmas Day so that folks can get an even earlier start on the day-after-Christmas shopping? 

Finally, I have one horror story about a business being closed on the day after Thanksgiving. The Secretary of State’s Office was closed on Friday. Seeing that the last day of the month was Saturday, many, like me, waited until the last minute to get our plate stickers. As I drove to the driver’s license facility on Saturday, the one on Lexington had traffic backed up all the way to Laramie. If you were coming northbound on Laramie, the traffic was backed up halfway up the bridge. It took me more time to get down the street and park than it did to go inside and buy the sticker. And why does that sticker now cost over $100? Every Illinoisan should be irate that the sticker for the plates costs so much. How much does the state spend and what kind of profit are they making? As those who hold major offices will soon be asking us to vote them back into office, that is a question we all need to ask. 

What is the state doing with our money?

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