“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.” –Jon Stewart
It’s the beastliest of holidays.
Seriously. What culture in their right mind invades a foreign territory halfway across the globe, massacres and demoralizes its inhabitants — presuming some self-proclaimed entitlement, sequestering ownership of the land (and authority over its people) at all costs? What kind of people create some soulless endeavor entitled “Manifest Destiny,” whereby thousands upon thousands of indigenous people (the ones fortunate enough to have evaded outright slaughter) are driven out of their homeland and into inhospitable circumstances… All in the name of patriotism, and worse… religious freedom?
(Has anyone considered what our heritage might look like to the rest of the world? What kind of supposed “destiny” creates a very real Trail of Tears?)
And after all is said and done, these triumphant ladies and gentlemen — the steadfast pioneers, having notoriously manifested their own mindless, careless destiny — resolve to end this horrific venture with a celebratory feast, masquerading as a gracious gesture of peace towards the few remaining victims of their conquest for totalitarian “freedom”. And adding insult to injury, the victors call this
massive “SAVAGE” defeat party uh… I mean, peace offering… THANKSGIVING??
Ooh… I said a bad word. I said that word because we should be somewhat outraged, instead of oblivious. We ought to feel disgusted by the truth of our own past. I am not Native American, but it deeply offends me no less — as it should.
I can’t quite imagine the transition, however. “Hey, thanks for dying so bravely. Sorry we murdered your family. We really appreciate your humiliated surrender. It’s not personal, you know; we just decided you don’t deserve your home as much as we do. We want to worship God our own way, and we needed a new place to do that without fear of persecution; I’m sure you can understand. Let’s just be friends, okay? No need to hold grudges. Happy Thanksgiving! Can you pass the bread?”
…Who does that?
I celebrate Thanksgiving, and I am sincerely grateful there is a national holiday honoring the observance of a collective gratitude. But has everyone forgotten how Thanksgiving came about?
I do not feel thankful for our ancestor’s ruthless, evil behavior. And I am unashamed to say so.
I am, however, immensely grateful for the many freedoms I enjoy, thanks to the countless men and women who so bravely go before me to keep those freedoms forever in place. There is no way to articulate just how grateful I am for that.
I am unspeakably thankful I live in a country where as a woman, I am allowed to research my country’s more accurate history whenever the indoctrinated nonsense doesn’t sit right with my soul. I’m grateful — so grateful — that I am allowed to express my deep distaste of the truths I occasionally discover, without fear of some sinister retaliation against me for speaking what I find, and how the findings make me feel.
And most of all, I’m just grateful I’m an American — despite the unimaginable mistakes we’ve made as a country; despite unforseeable horrors that are surely bound to come; still, no matter what, I am proud — and humbly thankful — of my own unique (yet common) heritage. I’m part of a people who desire to know more; who consistently seek out the less obvious facts about our collective becoming; who rise above the ashes and seek a better way of life for the ones in lesser privileged circumstances. For all these things, and so many more, today… I will be thankful.
Today, I will be cooking my happiest self into a haywired frenzy; listening to beautiful music and enjoying my incredible kids and my family, and celebrating our freedom to celebrate. I’ll feel thankful for our right to give thanks, and live together in peace. But I encourage all of you to take advantage of this moment in time, and make it meaningful. Don’t just go through the motions; let this Thanksgiving become significant somehow. Take a breath from the mayhem and madness of families gone wild, and allow yourself to feel gratitude, as you speak of it. Embrace an awakened sense of sincere emotion when you share in the giving of thanks. Remind yourself what matters most today, and cherish it. It might be gone tomorrow; no day is ever promised.
I dare you.