Pressure to Attend Thanksgiving? Send Your Family This Rachel Maddow Clip

Rachel Maddow, broadcasting from home on Thusday Nov. 19, 2020. (MSNBC)

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. And, this year, despite 253,000 dead Americans, clear warnings from the CDC, and more than a million new U.S. coronavirus cases a week, many of us are still fielding Thanksgiving invitations. Or, rather, trying to fend them off.

Saying no to spending holidays with family is tough on any normal year. But for those of us facing down multiple relatives who are willing to travel, are willing to break household pods and are willing to eat maskless around a table without quarantining first, being the only one to say “no” can invite a lot of judgment and gaslighting.

Enter Rachel Maddow.

Last night, the MSNBC anchor shared an anecdote that should be enough to turn anyone off from travel and socializing for the forseeable future.

Broadcasting from home, Maddow shared the information that, two weeks ago, her partner of 21 years, Susan Mikula, tested positive for COVID-19. Maddow described nights spent awake, calling doctors over and over, and fighting to keep Mikula breathing. She described trying to care for the love of her life without physically being in the same room. Based on her delivery, the experience has left Maddow rattled and reevaluating priorities.

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“Believe me, whatever you have calculated into your life as acceptable risk, inevitable risk, something that you're willing to go through because, statistically, hey, it probably will be fine, I'm just here to tell you to recalibrate that,” she warned. “Frankly, the country needs you to recalibrate that because there’s no room for you in the hospital anymore.”

Maddow expressed some understanding for those who take risks with their own welfare in order to snatch a tiny slice of normal life back. But she also explained that, unfortunately, that’s not how coronavirus works. “I’m guessing that you might be willing to risk yourself. Especially after all these months and all this time. It’s so frustrating, right?” she said. “You don’t get to just say, ‘I’m willing to get this thing and play the odds.’ You don't get that choice. It won’t necessarily be you. It’ll be the person you most care about in the world. How can you bear that?”

Maddow’s monologue is an important and timely reminder about why we all retreated into social pods back in March—and why we should still be staying in them. “All you can do is move heaven and Earth to not get it and not transmit it,” Maddow concluded. “This thing is scary as hell. Whatever you have been doing to risk getting it, don’t.”

You—and the relatives you think need to hear it—can listen to Maddow and Mikula’s story in full below.