On the 4th Thursday of each November, by Law, and perennial tradition, Americans pay tribute to the fall harvest, and give thanks for the exceptionally good fortune of being Americans, living in the land of plenty, and possessing an inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The special day, Thanksgiving, is celebrated with family feasting (usually on Turkey, and elective accessories), plus parades and T.V. football. Traditional accompaniments to the holiday feast do vary, but predictably include, gravy, baked sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Inventive food preparation, has varied the traditional sliced cranberry jell, with diced cranberry, mixed with other ingredients, such as coconut, raisins, nuts and orange bits. A common variation to the mandatory (baked or honey roasted) sweet potatoes, is a baked casserole of mashed sweet potato and marshmallows. It seems that the addition of the marshmallow, enhances the willingness of the young children, in attendance, to eat the healthy, sweet potatoes.
Thanksgiving, is a major greeting card holiday, and an especial day of profitable gratitude, for greeting card companies like the Hallmark Company. Holiday myths and folklore, of questionable verisimilitude, constitute the usual subjects portrayed on these holiday greetings. The cards, all seem to, in one version, or another, depict, Pilgrims and Native Americans, sitting down to a joint meal of roasted turkey, corn on the cobb and sweet potatoes (the latter, sans marshmallows), eternally in a beautiful out of doors setting.
The intention of this mini-essay, is not to reiterate the falsity of the “Hallmark” version of the Holiday. Most literate people are familiar with the virtual, holocaust, committed by the U.S. government, against the Native Americans, and their indigenous culture, in by the propagandist claptrap, known as “Manifest Destiny.” Pursuant to such sanctimonious and immorally, self-interested meme, it was believed that the Christian God, had granted to the European Settlers, the right to expand to the West Coast, and “missionize” (kill and displace) the indigenous Indian Tribes, who occupied and resided on land, outlined on the map, as the United States. The settlers determined, in their own interest, and, irrespective of North American history, that the valuable land and natural resources, were Biblically intended for the European settler, and not the “savages.” It is assumed, that the average American citizen, is at least, somewhat aware, that Hallmark history, is not Natural History, but, it does sell greeting cards. We repeat, this writing is not intended to be an unnecessary sermon, on idealized American History.
Nor is it intended to detract from the traditional holiday occasion, for family and friends, to socialize and be thankful for the benefit of being an American, with, in most cases, adequate food and shelter, and in all cases, legal rights to live, speak and act, as desired, with the sole proviso that no one is hurt thereby. Family assemblies and family interaction, vital features of societal and independent infrastructure, can be rare, but, are unmistakably, invaluable.
The subject of immigration to the United States, seems to be a hotly contested one. Many individuals, prefer to discount the essentially existential meaning, of Emma Lazarus’ beautiful, and philosophical poetry, inscribed on America’s welcome beacon, the iconic and symbolic, Statue of Liberty. It has often necessary to remind people, that America is a Nation, composed entirely of immigrants and their progeny. Yet, it is too common, that two or three generations, after their own families emigrated to this county, many Americans have, selfishly, chosen to espouse anti-immigrant positions; how soon they forget!
A cogent thought presented itself to us this year, derived from a combination of the American Myth of Thanksgiving, and the hotly contested, issue of immigration, which may have some resonance, for detractors of immigration. Extending the scope of the above observation, “How soon they forget, is this, ponderable thought: Were not all of the European settlers, “immigrants” to America, and the Native Americans, the then, undisputed, residents? It is, further deserving of mention, that contemporaneous, applicants for admission, come to our shores, unarmed, and with families, seeking a decent life, and not with muskets, cannons and, ethnocentric, and, self-serving, missionary zeal.
A place should, eternally, be set, at the bountiful, American table, with Turkey, cranberry sauce and baked sweet potatoes with marshmallow, for all new immigrants who seek a better life. This is the historic American Dream and the moral, American way; ask Hallmark!