27.11.04

NO. Professor Althouse asks, "Isn't Thanksgiving more deserving of a naysayer?" (Her universe of comparison is Christmas, with the 19th Century's Scrooge, and the 20th Century's Grinch, both of whom object more to the presents and the time off.) But if you look closely, you will find plenty of Thanksgiving naysayers. Some Islamic cleric can always be counted on to say something like this.
Thanksgiving being a national holiday express its salient position in the American culture, which has many unislamic values and principles. Celebrating Thanksgiving purposefully or subordinately is an expression of accepting the general American Culture. It is not celebrated independent of the American Culture. In view of the above it is not permissible to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
(Via Norm Blog.)

There are always Cranky Leftists.

Somehow we have to deal with the world as it is. Thanksgiving’s myths and politics of food, family and faith could inspire us to continued smug and self-righteous optimism for prosperous white Americans, or help us to develop a generous and compassionate optimism for all the world. Singing old hymns about God oppressing the wicked on our behalf won’t help us, and neither will despair. We need to compose new hymns based on shared values and common dreams. Food, family and faith are good words, but we need a new melody, in a new key, with a new harmonization of hope and optimism.

As we give thanks for food, let us remind ourselves that in a world where anyone goes hungry, it is immoral to consume more than one’s fair share. And let us remember that the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems and the commodification of its basic resources will assure that eventually we all starve.

I found this essay two years ago, but the crankiness is much older, and is not likely to go away. This recent example puts Thanksgiving in too negative a light.
THE election battles over same-sex marriage behind them, some conservative Christians have returned their attention to a longstanding struggle over the singularly American holiday of Thanksgiving.

For years, David Barton, a popular speaker who toured the country speaking to clergy groups for the Republicans during the campaign, has been collecting evidence to rebut what he considers distortions of the holiday in textbooks and public celebrations. "Some textbooks say the first Thanksgiving was the pilgrims only saying thanks to the Indians," said Mr. Barton, who is vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. "That is incorrect. They were thanking God for bringing the Indians to them."
There are churlish Virginians (via Betsy's Page):
The Virginia Thanksgiving was lost to history for more than 300 years, thanks in part, the Virginians say, to a massacre by Native Americans, the Civil War and the Yankee historians who "absconded" with it. The South's historic disregard for the holiday as a Northern tradition -- in the 19th century and even into the 20th, businesses and state and city offices in parts of the South stayed defiantly open -- didn't help, either.
True enough. I had family first at Jamestown and later at Plymouth, and can sympathize with the Virginians' case -- Mayflower was blown off course and the Company decided to winter at Cape Cod rather than attempt a coastal passage, but it didn't help the Virginians to back the wrong side in the War of Southern Rebellion.

Among the others giving thanks are Michelle Malkin, Reverend Sensing, and Captain Ed (who links to President Bush's Thanksgiving Proclamation.) Hugh Hewitt posts President Washington's proclamation.

As Clifford May notes, the Plymouth Company was the first colonization to make an attempt at self-government.

On the Mayflower – a cramped old ship built not to carry passengers across the Atlantic but only barrels of wine between Bordeaux and London – they signed a social compact “based upon the original Biblical covenant between God and the Israelites.” Also influenced by early-17th-century social-contract theory, they drafted “just and equal laws” that were firmly anchored in the teachings of the church.

Their piety did not diminish their thirst for education – quite the contrary. Nor did their faith deter them from a keen interest in science. Indeed, among the most famous of the Puritans was Cotton Mather (1663-1728) who entered Harvard at the age of 12, learned seven languages and wrote 450 books. He popularized the Copernican system of astronomy. He also believed in witchcraft. He was concerned, too, with the rights of slaves and Indians, not big issues in those days.

So let there be no Thanksgriping.

SECOND SECTION. Tyler at Marginal Revolution has more reason to be thankful ... really! Andrew Sullivan is making a case for Grinch of the 21st Century.
That's one reason I'm such a Christmas-phobe. Each year, we have a communal campaign to persuade ourselves that we never have enough, the new things will assuage our real needs, that buying is the same as living. Yes, of course, some of this is fine, generous or even important. I really did need a new sleeper-sofa. And my boyfriend loves his new, mini-iPod. But the hysteria is a form of cultural disorder. And "Christmas" merely feeds it. If "Buy Nothing Day" helps assuage this a little, it's an excellent thing.
And he sat at his keyboard, fingers drumming and drumming
"I must find some way to stop Christmas from coming."

THIRD SECTION: Knew if I looked around I'd find an angry leftist.
But Thanksgiving sends us all searching for the goodness in life, the comforts and pleasures beyond the salt-brined free-range turkey, which, I am told, had a far better life than most.

This year that comfort lies in knowing that 58 million Americans did not vote for four more years of irresponsibility and madness. It lies in the distinction of casting my vote in one of the blue states, where IQs are higher, divorce rates are lower, and we pay out more in federal taxes than we take in and don't whine about it.

This year it lies in knowing that four years go by more quickly the older you get, so for some of us it will seem like an eye-blink.

This year, as perhaps in many others, Thanksgiving will serve as a day of grateful diversion in blue states and red; as a time to sit down together with family and friends in homes or shelters or mess tents, trying to forget for a day that there is a place called Iraq, to share a meal browned and buttered with love and caring and hope.
Where else but Minneapolis?

No comments: