Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Redefined


The Pitt News Editorial Board recently published an article titled “It’s OK to not like Thanksgiving,” in which it recommended that readers ‘redefine’ what Thanksgiving means to them. That’s odd, the term seems perfectly clear to me. Nevertheless, the editorial claimed that “Thanksgiving is a weird holiday as is,” and asserted that the holiday is “forced upon” students. It added, “We are celebrating the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe by eating with our families and saying what we’re thankful for.”

Who hasn’t sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, bowed their heads, and earnestly prayed: “Dear Lord, we thank thee for the turkey and fixings, football, all our blessings, and especially for the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe?” Are the Pitt News Editorial Board members clinically insane or just tragically woke? Thanksgiving is not “weird” nor “forced upon” anyone. Those who don’t wish to observe (let alone celebrate) it don’t. Sadly, many in our ever more faithless and jaded society just think of the erstwhile reverent holiday as “Turkey Day,” a day off work given over to watching football, eating and drinking. And some no longer even have the day off.  But how could thanking God for—or simply acknowledging-- our current blessings be construed as “celebrating the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe” hundreds of years ago, however it occurred?!

How would we “redefine” Thanksgiving, other than as its opposite? Well, the alumni associations of several universities are taking part in a webinar titled “The Thanksgiving Dilemma: Reevaluating Our Annual Celebration” in which they are addressing that very question. According to something called the Alumni Learning Consortium, the “national mood” has changed recently, leading “many Americans” to ponder whether Thanksgiving should be “rededicated” as a “National Day of Mourning” reflecting the “centuries-long displacement and persecution of Native Americans.”  

Washington State University is one of the participants, an extremely sad irony in that President George Washington instituted the holiday by issuing a proclamation on October 3rd, 1789, designating the last Thursday of that November as “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God…”


Not to be outdone in turning gratitude into mourning, University of Oregon alumni recently led an hour-long discussion titled “Thanks, But No Thanks-giving: Decolonizing an American Holiday.” The subject of reparations was brought up at the event, the bulk of which was spent in an open forum. Attendees had the opportunity to share their thoughts on “decolonizing our understanding of this holiday and the cultures surrounding it,” reconciling “relationships damaged by colonization, both human to human, and human to earth,” and how “inviting diverse perspectives” might play into this “while speaking truth to power.”


We all know how tolerant progressives are when exposed to perspectives of those with whom they disagree. If, say, an unvaccinated person or a Trump supporter tries speaking truth to power it rarely goes well. But I’m sure they sought out differing perspectives, just like the New York Times and the Washington Post do. (For example, the former might characterize my writings as “bigoted and xenophobic” while the latter might label them “xenophobic and bigoted.”)


The truth is, when the Mayflower pilgrims and the Wampanoag sat down for the first Thanksgiving in 1621, it was a routine—and amicable-- harvest celebration. Seven months prior to that feast, they had negotiated a peace treaty, one which lasted for nearly 50 years. In fact, that 1621 treaty was the only one between Native Americans and English colonists to be honored throughout the lives of all who signed it. It was diseases such as smallpox and leptospirosis that largely and tragically led to the decimation of the Wampanoag tribe.


So it’s all in how one looks at things, I guess. I, apparently naively, previously thought that gratitude was a good thing. One of the keys to a happy, rewarding, successful life. My dad has long since passed, but I remember his reaction when someone was complaining about a problem with their car. He would say, “How many moving parts are there in a vehicle like that? Where do the raw materials come from? How many people and factories are involved in the assembly? Maybe we should all wonder at the fact that they carry us wherever we want to go and give thanks that they work at all and don’t routinely blow up or fall apart.” Many would call his observations simple or na├»ve now. But perhaps it was a valid perspective, legitimate perception, and the frame of mind that leads to happiness and contentment. My oldest brother-- who recently passed-- had cancer, glaucoma, and Alzheimers…and when anyone asked him how he was doing, even shortly before he died, he would reply “Better than I deserve!”


I guess that is partly why I previously found Democrats’ incessant grievance-mongering and cult of victimhood so repulsive and so damaging. Dividing us by identity, I thought, was disgusting. Encouraging jealousy, entitlement, and bitterness a recipe for disaster. Wouldn’t it be much healthier for all of us as Americans to come together in the love of our country, heritage, and unique founding ideals? Or our shared ordeals? I used to believe that if we could all come together with gratitude, that itself would be something for which we could all be thankful.


But no more. I have seen the (progressive) light. Which celebrates darkness.

So, I am here to inform you that Thanksgiving sucks. I’m redefining it to reflect just that assertion. My truth, my Thanksgiving, is that there is nothing—absobleepinglutely nothing—to be thankful for. I propose we rename the “holiday,” steeping it in wokeness. Let’s dub it “Thanklessness Day” or “Unthankful Day.” A date which, like the United States, will live in infamy. Let it forever be “Mourning in America.”

So, screw you, George. And all of you in the dominant white patriarchal culture can kiss my ass.

Pass the turkey.   



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