24 November 2006

Looks As Though Someone Had Some Dry Turkey Yesterday.

No Thanks to Thanksgiving
By Robert Jensen
One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.

In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.

Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits — which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States.

That the world’s great powers achieved “greatness” through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.

But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin — the genocide of indigenous people — is of special importance today. It’s now routine — even among conservative commentators — to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.

Wow. While I recognize Thanksgiving has taken on an entirely different meaning for many people, in the same way the non-secular holidays have, i.e. being with and celebrating family and friends, giving thanks for all that we have and are afforded, etc. I also believe that taking time on Thanksgiving to pause and atone for our past sins as a people, is a very important idea to keep with us. After all, a whole lot of genocide put that big deformed turkey (who is unable to naturally reproduce) on our plates yesterday.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home