Thanksgiving will be celebrated again this week, as it is on the fourth Thursday in November every year. In theory, we will commemorate three days of feasting (which seems a bit over the top. by the way) by early colonists who arrived in to this country after voyaging nine weeks from Plymouth, England found themselves ending up in Plymouth, Massachusetts (many choose to call this a simply coincidence, but I'm still skeptical). Many died on the voyage over from disease and hunger, and more still in the winter that followed from much the same causes. When spring of 1621 came however, with the help of the local indigenous population they planted what they could, and with the following fall's harvest chose to celebrate their good fortune. Though we now repeat their celebration each year, it was a tradition they themselves never repeated.
After almost 400 years and in this politically correct society however, the idea of maintaining holiday based on the one-time celebration by a bunch of white people seems doomed on the face of it (you know, like the 4th of July). It only becomes slightly more palatable (pun intended) if we give them some credit for at least inviting some of the Native Americans who came to their aid and helped keep them alive in those early days to their party. (Of course, they probably made them bring most of the food.) Consider if you will as well, that while neighboring Native Americans (the Waupanoag tribe) were largely the architects of this colony's survival and were invited to that original celebration; these same Native Americans were, like most others in this country, later chased from their homes and the greater part of their lands by the greed of the very colonists that they saved ... hardly something to commemorate with pride. Only adding to the historic difficulty is finding reasons to celebrate the culture and traditions of the same people who would some 70 years later be giving us the sham trials and witch burnings in Salem, MA.
Speaking of arcane rituals, Thanksgiving has always been considered a semi-religious holiday, since its original purpose for coming into being was to allow these colonists to thank their GOD for bringing them through the illness and privation from the previous year; and we know how popular religious holidays are in this country. Adding insult to injury (much like the holiday that follows), the religious nature of this celebration involved thanking only a Christian God; specifically ignoring the practices of their Native-American guests, among others. Quite frankly, it's amazing that there are not atheist groups across the fruited plain demanding that Pilgrim and Turkey displays on government property be taken down as violations of the separation of Church and State. (I have more to say on this subject, but not here or today.) How anyone can therefore consider continuing a national holiday with religious overtones that ignores the cultural and religious diversity that has become so dear to the progressive ruling elite of this country is simply beyond me.
But if this typical, well-documented, and disgraceful treatment of an indigenous population by a white and European invading population were not enough to see this practice ended once and for all (that of bringing disease to the natives while stealing their land), consider instead the treatment of the main course of this so-called holiday ... the Turkey. Now Turkeys, for those of you who don't know your history, came very close to being the symbol of these United States. They were supported in this effort by no less Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who considered the eagle as being little more than a dandified vulture. The turkey is not the brightest of birds (perhaps adding to its suitability as a national symbol according to today's standards), but it does have a couple of rather interesting traits. Not only does it seek females for mating by showing them a their butt, but this bird is also know for being too fearless (or too stupid) for its own good to run away properly when being shot at (both seeming counter-intuitive to species survival by human standards).
If this symbolic destruction were not enough, the Turkey menu of this national holiday exposes the public to a naturally narcotic substance (tryptophan), which often induces the need to sleep in humans. (Much like the speeches in the election season which immediately precedes it.) This begs the question of how a caring government can allow the exposure of its citizens to such toxins (turkeys I mean, not politicians). Of course alternatives have been offered over the years, but the slaughter of geese, ducks, or pigs (ham) can hardly be seen as much better and must be viewed as yet another example of the predilection for violence on the part of the American people (probably caused by video games). And though one bird is pardoned each year by the President himself (two this year, but probably after the poor birds were water-boarded), it passes understanding that even PETA stands all but idly by as thousands of our animal friends are disposed of (probably inhumanely and after 'aggressive interrogation') in the name of a holiday supposedly devoted to supposedly "thanking" the very God that put these gentle creatures by killing them?
I suppose that one might expect little more of something that was created as an official national holiday in 1863 by a man now considered a national political hero (and current movie star) President Abraham Lincoln (without recognizing that Lincoln was, after all, an evil Republican). The rampant gluttony and consumerism it exemplifies clearly shows it to be something typical of the party of capitalism's so-called champions. Sure, the celebration of this holiday might stimulate a still mostly depressed airline industry by being the largest travel holiday of the year, but all of the travel involved makes it simultaneously the least green holiday in the nation through all the fossil fuels used for this purpose. Sure it helps the bottom line of grocery stores and food preparation companies across the country, but this too is counter-balanced by the health-threatening calorie counts of the edibles put on the table.
In fact, one could demand the end of the Thanksgiving holiday for no other reason than the life-threatening caloric temptations that its meal offers. Any minor compensation to the consumption of turkey over more deadly alternative of red meat is far outweighed (literally and figuratively) by the chemically induced somnolence that follows a morning dedicated to the idleness of endless parade watching followed by an epoch length period of pro football game broadcast observation. Adding further insult to this injury to national health is that this awful excuse for a holiday has now been turned into the even more egregious tradition of "Black Friday"; the opening day of greed and capitalism which begins the even more disgusting period of Christmas consumerism.
We must therefore ask ourselves; what in the end is the Thanksgiving holiday in this country about. The facts seem to indicate that like so much of what goes on in this country, it's nothing more than a celebration of racism, gluttony (not to mention obesity), the ingestion of potentially dangerous drugs, and the unwarranted murder of our fellow creatures. As such, it has no place in the caring, politically correct, and progressive society that we apparently long to become in this the 21st Century. And so I say to those of you choosing to celebrate this week with family and friends, gathering around a table to once more give thanks in 2012 (a year that may have less reasons than many for doing so):
"Save me one of those drumsticks, will ya?"