Every year at this time politically correct people come out of the woodwork to debunk Thanksgiving.
Yes I realize the European Colonialists killed off the Indigenous People. Genocidal wars are as old as the ancestors of modern humanity and not the invention of Europeans although they have waged more than their share.
While American kids are taught that the First Thanksgiving was to celebrate peace between the Pilgrims and the Indigenous Peoples of Massachusetts its origins like most origins is much older and found in harvest festivals around the world.
Harvest festivals as such usher in the Winter and mark the beginnings of a season of holidays and feasts that brighten what is the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere.
Christianity laid claim to those holidays and assigned Christian significance to them.
Yet with things like Christmas trees and yule logs it is hard to escape the pre-Christian origins of many of these seasonal rituals.
Today Robert Jensen has a piece on Alternet titled: No Thanks to Thanksgiving. Seems he expects us to all atone for events over which we had no control.
I will stipulate that colonialists did terrible things in the 1620s. From the time the Spanish first came to the Americas they waged a genocidal war against the Native Peoples.
History is filled with campaigns of genocide. No doubt there will be campaigns of genocide in the future as we run out of resources for the ever increasing billions of people.
At times like this I feel I have the right to invoke the Serenity Prayer. Especially since in it one asks for the strength to change those things one can change, the serenity to accept those things I’m powerless to change and the wisdom to know the difference.
As I have gotten older I have come to realize I am powerless to change the past.
I barely have control over the events that immediately shape my life conditions and my ability to survive can be dependent upon the whims of a fickle employer with a bad temper.
The short version of the serenity prayer is this: Fuck it!
I’m thankful I am nearly 13 years sober.
I’m thankful for my relationship with Tina, we have been together longer than I’ve ever been together with another person.
I’m thankful for the pittance I get from Social Security, for Medicare and for e-Bay and swap-meets.
I’m thankful I currently don’t have to kiss the ass of some fickle boss who has a mean streak.
I’m thankful that I am an American. I’ve had the opportunity to live in a number of incredible places in this beautiful country and have enjoyed the weirdness, craziness and beauty of all those places.
As angry as I am with too many things I still have a glimmer of optimism.
Thanksgiving isn’t about shopping. It isn’t about wars or remembering veterans. It isn’t about the long dead Pilgrims and Native People.
It’s a harvest festival, a time of giving thanks and feasting to celebrate the past year. It is the first of a series of holidays that carry us through to after the start of the New Year.