Health professionals continue to point out the persistent denial of what only patients who come to them, even those at serious risk of disease, can call Covidus denial. We find the same attitude among Americans who, despite the objectively undeniable risks, try not to change their holiday plans because of Covid.

This widespread resistance to necessary health measures is alarming. But to this fear is added a kind of nostalgia that reprimands America, which apparently no longer wants to suffer for the welfare of others. This generation of Americans struggles with the concept of sacrifice, wrote Deseret News columnist Jay Evensen, begging people to limit their gatherings. He was concerned that too many Americans who had survived the depression and World War II had died, and with them a spirit of devotion. We could already use their wisdom, as well as their memories from books about food, chocolate shortages and the need to drive bare tyres, because rubber was needed for the war.

The same call to the sacrifices of the Great Generation appeared in the media as a call and condemnation: calling on Americans to make sacrifices to save lives and mourning our selfishness. However, this appeal to the past does not understand how reluctant the Americans were in the 1940s to obey the new economic restrictions in wartime. The understanding of today’s egocentric, outright, comfortable Americans who want to know what happened in the past, because it shows that the problems we face today reflect the failure of American leadership, not the American spirit.

It was during the Second World War that the Americans started rationing the government. The First World War was based on voluntary restraint. Meatless Tuesdays and wheat-free Wednesdays encouraged Americans to keep supplies, but did not force them to do so. But volunteering was not enough in the 1940s, and soon customers needed food stamps for meat, sugar, gasoline and other necessities.

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I mean, if they play by the rules. But not everyone wanted casualties. The result was a noisy black market, so strong that an estimated 20% of the meat was present. Even the legal market is flooded with forged and stolen food stamps or coupons that have been abused. Stockpiling is also common because households with sufficient resources and contacts always build up stocks when they find goods such as oil and sugar. What applies to food also applies to petrol: Collier magazine reporter traveled across the country without ever getting into his fuel regime, it was so easy to get smugglers’ gasoline.

Government rationing officials were well aware that many Americans would not abide by the rules, so they decided early on not to engage in individual harassment and instead focus on black market suppliers.

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Not only were the Americans unwilling to sacrifice property during the war, but it was also a consolation. In New York City, officials asked residents and office buildings in some neighborhoods to dim the light after sunset to protect ships off the coast that were threatened by nearby German submarines. (The light produced a coastal glow that made it possible to see the silhouettes of the ships and leave them naked). But New Yorkers are reluctant to sacrifice their evening light. It took an army command to finally get the people to obey.

The celebrations strengthened the feeling of hardship and the desire not to make sacrifices for at least one day. The first signs that Thanksgiving would be particularly controversial came during the Great Depression of 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt, hoping to give the economy a much-needed boost, brought Thanksgiving forward for a week to extend the Christmas shopping season. The Americans have risen. Republicans laughed at the change as they laughed in Frankfurt, and only half of the states acknowledged the new date and rejected what they saw as government interference in the sacred tradition.

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Only a few of them suspected that in a few years the war would radically change the harvest festival and make traditions more desirable and difficult to maintain. Today, for the first time in his life, no turkey mourned the author of the Boston Globe in 1942. Also no grandmothers, which is much worse, but one has no petrol and the other is too patriotic to travel when not needed. There were often too few turkeys to buy them legally; oil and sugar rations were so dense that no pumpkin pie was available. Roosevelt tried to make this part of national service history in his Thanksgiving declaration of 1943, in which he emphasized the great determination of all peoples to produce and preserve food and to share and play with it. But for many Americans, these were not voluntary sacrifices; they were motivated more by scarcity than by good will.

This is not about trapping Americans during the Second World War, but about admitting that it is incredibly difficult to make a personal contribution to society. The Americans sacrificed themselves during the war, as they still do today, for various reasons: Altruism, food scarcity, poverty, regulation, social pressure. The sacrifices made by the Americans during the Second World War were generally obligatory and scandalous. They demanded not only laws, but also extensive propaganda campaigns, severe social sanctions and regular admonitions that a small sacrifice to the country in the front line would save countless lives.

We can put ourselves in the shoes of those Americans who yearn for the comfort of creatures and who are shocked by the limitations they feel that they have already sacrificed so much for dangers that seem so abstract or so far away to them. And we can be jealous of them, because even though they were no longer courageous, reticent or selfless, of course, they had what Americans don’t do today: a clear message about the common good and the common goals. Instead, we have a president who quit government a few weeks ago, a Republican Senate who refuses to move to additional legislation, and a presidential health advisor who, when asked about Thanksgiving, shrugged his shoulders and basically said it was the party like it was your last Thanksgiving.

The crisis is not the selfishness of this generation of Americans. It is the selfishness of the government and its allies in Congress, a moral and political weakness that has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and will cost thousands more by the end of the year.

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