Well here we go again. Having destroyed the concept of Christmas both as a religious holiday and simply a festive occasion celebrated in mid-winter, the social progressives have set their sights on Thanksgiving (or so it would seem in Seattle). The Seattle school district sent out the third of its annual letters on November 14th this year, warning school administrators to be careful in how they observed this holiday.
It appears that Thanksgiving is actually a time of mourning for many Native American people, and that the use of feathers and other items which Native American people hold sacred to their religious practices is something that we all need to be aware of and sensitive to. Some time not long ago, and apparently with little or no notice, Thanksgiving became a holiday which celebrates white, Christian settlers bringing disease to this continent while taking land from the native Americans who were simply attempting to live their lives in peace and harmony with nature. (Damn, I hate it when I don't get the memo on these things.)
Obviously, this would make the holiday offensive to those Native American peoples, and the use of their religious symbols in its celebration doubly offensive. Seattle in fact, is so concerned that they reference a Native American website in this letter that says that for many Native American people, Thanksgiving is a reminder of 500 years of betrayal.
I have to tell you people, this is putting right off of my anticipated 2nd helping of turkey and dressing (OK 3rd, but who's counting). I believe that we should be sensitive to the feelings of others in every aspect of our lives. This is part of the social compact that we make as a society in order to guarantee the continued freedom that we all enjoy. I do not believe however, that anyone and everyone is allowed to take anything and everything out of context to make their point. We display feathers for Thanksgiving, not as a religious symbols, but because male turkeys have a rather prominent feather display, and turkeys, not feathers, are a symbol of the holiday.
At a time in this country when we are being told that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ (Nor does Easter for that matter, who knew?), and that any display of religious symbols are a violation of the separation of church and state, how can this be? (By the way, for those asleep in civics class, the separation of church and state was only designed to prevent the US from adopting a national church, the danger of which those early settlers were keenly aware of.)
How can I now be told that we must sensitive to the fact that a feather is a religious symbol and that I am not allowed to display it for the holiday not because it is a religious symbol, but because displaying it is offensive to those who consider it so. Should we also be sensitive to Quakers, who feel the same way about those funny hats? Should we be sensitive to members of PETA for the use of the turkey as a symbol for this day and the needless slaughter of thousands of turkeys to feed our bloated society? Should a farmer's feelings be considered before displaying cornstalks, because it might remind him of the bad harvest he had?
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when we gather together as families to celebrate the very freedom that allows this nonsense to be perpetuated. It goes right back to the Founding Fathers themselves. In 1789, President Washington proclaimed:
"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country...for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interposition of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed...and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually...To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best."
The Thanksgiving holiday is in fact a religious one, though on a much quieter scale. Quite frankly, I never remember it being celebrated as such when attending festivities at schools. It was about the friendship that developed between those first settlers and Native Americans. It was also a celebration of the help that those Native Americans gave to those first settlers, in fact saving their lives; and the desire that these people had to give thanks for their continued existence. I want to respect the beliefs of those people precisely because it was only when they worked together that all survived. I do not however, want to let the fringe groups of society dictate the public debate, nor the sensitivity police continue to find ways to ruin everything that is worth celebrating.
So enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and family this year, and give thanks as you deem appropriate regardless of the naysayers. And as you sit bloated once again in front of a TV set watching football, or that first showing of "Miracle on 34th Street", remember that you are only acting in accordance of the wishes of our first president.