You’re About to Travel for Thanksgiving. What the Hell Is Happening Out There?

Getting home for the holidays is really, really hard this year.

Stranded travelers in DenverPatrick Traylor/Getty

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Traditionally, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been one of the busiest holiday travel days of the year. This week, 55 million Americans are expected to use planes, trains, cars, and buses to get to their loved ones by Thursday. But a combination of blizzards, severe wind, traffic, and a major protest at a major airport has made getting home a herculean effort. Okay, a nightmare.

At the Los Angeles International Airport, several hundred American Airline workers began their a protest for higher wages on Century Boulevard, just beyond the entrance ramp for the airport. The protest began on Tuesday evening and ended later that day with 16 arrests.

The protest caused such a large traffic jam that an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles reported that passengers were leaving their rideshare cars to walk to the airport. “I walked two miles from my Uber,” one woman told ABC. “We were siting for 30 minutes without moving so I just walked.”

More than 1,000 miles away in Denver, passengers didn’t have the option of walking to their destinations. After more than a foot of snow fell in the area on Tuesday, 1,100 people were forced to spend the night at Denver International Airport.

Alex Renteria, a spokeswoman for the airport, said 484 flights were canceled and another 508 were delayed. 

But it’s not just airline travelers who are being inconvenienced by the weather. A powerful winter storm swept through the midwest, causing impossible travel conditions for the residents of Minnesota and others in the region.

Even Smokey the Bear might be affected by the weather. Each year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the bear and other iconic characters including Snoopy, SpongeBob, and Bart Simpson soar above the crowds who gather on the 2.5-mile route in New York City. But, the National Weather Service is predicting winds up to 26 miles per hour for Thanksgiving Day, meaning that balloons of a certain size may have to be grounded. After a woman was critically injured by a Cat in the Hat balloon in 1997, the city implemented new rules: If the winds exceed 23 miles per hour, no big balloons can fly.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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