This year’s traditional panoply comprising the American Thanksgiving holiday, big parades, football games, the warm, nostalgic reunion of family and close friends, interacting in the midst of a veritable cornucopia of gourmet family specialties, has just ended. This year, as usual, the needed, existential reassurance of familiar family interaction, has furnished yet an additional benefit: it is, in military terms, an R&R, stated otherwise, a much needed oasis, from the regular, distressing media reports of an Alice in Wonderland Government, led by an egoistic, ignorant and unpredictable Mad Hatter, President.
This harvest holiday does, indeed, recall to us, a great many things to be thankful for; our creature comforts, our liberty and expansive inventory of legal rights, our health and, of course, the expected, regular, gathering of familiar family and friends, the latter, importantly, affording a needed, comforting, but ephemeral, assurance of continuity.
This year, as always, volunteers, operating under the aegis of numerous charitable organizations, generously donated time and resources to the empathic provision of a traditional holiday meal to many of the needy and homeless people of the City. Those who participated and supported these acts of compassion, and those of us who were pleased at an undeniable demonstration of human generosity, however, must remember that there are hungry, poor people on the other days of the year, in addition to November 22nd. Aside from personal acts of charity, there are organizations like, City Harvest and Bread for Humanity which are worthy of our regular support.
The annual sojourn in the temporary oasis of the mythical Thanksgiving holiday, celebrated by the eating of a symbolic meal and utterance of heartfelt aphorisms, concerning a chimerical love-fest between the early American settlers and the Native Americans, is a canon the mandatory observance of which, is appropriately celebrated solely, in the venerated Cathedral of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Every year, the brief sojourn at the Oasis, recalls to us, the shameful travesties practiced against the original inhabitants of the Continent of North America by the incoming European immigrants.[Many of such settlers, or their future progeny, after successful establishment, ungratefully morphed into anti-immigrant sentiment.] Recorded in our American history are the uncountably numerous, unjust and morally unsupportable, acts of our government, in the wrongful eviction of Native American peoples from their tribal homelands, and the shameful destruction of their ancient culture; an enterprise conducted on a continental scale [ remember the smug slogan: “manifest destiny”?].
One sad and illustrative example, was the unjust eviction and removal of the many Native American tribes, traditionally resident in the fertile and very habitable lands of the American Southeast, to areas “more suitable for Indians”, in the windy, less arable, “more appropriate” midwestern badlands. Forceably evicted and cruelly marched across the continent, they experienced not only the residential loss of owned and developed land, but suffering and the homicide of a great many lives; and no less than the act of premeditated societal murder of a great and irreplaceable ancient civilization. [ Read: “Trail of Tears.”]
What do the impoverished remnants of our various indigenous peoples think of our Hallmark Holiday? While we enjoy our Oasis from reality, is it not also appropriate to consider the American virtues of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as also applicable to our predecessor Americans?