Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in America. It's an old tradition, one which goes back to at least the time of Henry the VIII. Here in the US, its origin is traced to the 1620's at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Puritans and Pilgrims would have been familiar with the ideas of fasting and feasting in Thanks for all that God had given them. (The Canadian Thanksgiving goes back even further.) The story has it that the refugees from England shared a bountiful harvest with the Wampanoag Indians, without whose help they might not have survived.

These days, many people take great delight in skewering the story, labeling the arrival of people of white European ancestry as the purveyors of genocide against the native Americans.  Whenever a holiday rolls around, these folks can be counted upon to proclaim what they see as the truthful history behind the myth. Much of their revisionist history is as "full of it" as the stories they seek to debunk.

The myth of America was created over a long period of time. It was once a myth of hope, a light in the darkness. It's long been apparent that these tales weren't literal truth. The greatness of my country lay in the willingness of good people to go out and try to correct the wrongs in our land, to bring the dreams of equality, the chance to better one's self and family through education and hard work, to life for everyone.

These days, we are presented with candidates for the Presidency who talk about making America great again. The current frontrunner for the Republican nomination has advocated everything from requiring registration of all Muslims, to stating that we should use methods of torture such as waterboarding to defeat terrorists. After all, he noted, "they deserve it anyway". He has ridiculed the press who fact checked him (even mocking one respected reporter's disability), and urged the crowds at his events to beat up and eject those who disagree with him - although he has also mentioned protestor's actions as part of the attraction for his rallies - its entertainment value, after all.

It makes me wonder if he pays the protestors to be there.

Personally, I'll hang onto stories like the origin of the U.S. Thanksgiving - stories of cooperation between different races, breaking bread together, freedom and equality. They might not be true, but they are one hell of a goal. I can only hope that we can honor them, and work towards them before those of us who don't fit in are forced to have registration cards, or are taken off to the camps.

Last Saturday's radio show played a couple of songs for Thanksgiving before the juke box got loaded up with nickels to celebrate the birthdays of Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you......we all have so very much to be thankful for.