We have little sympathy for companies like The Hallmark Card Company and their fellow “cardeologists,” nor with the entities that perennially produce traditional, pictorial calendars. These enterprises, reasonably, should have expected, that one day, their claptrap version of the “First Thanksgiving,” was fiction, like the Legend of “Sleepy Hollow” [the “Headless Horseman”], and would be revealed as the mere product of tiresome, National deceit, or Pollyannaish inspired imagination.
The main efforts of the standard American education system, to blindfold its students from the Nation’s dark periods, such as the malevolent enslavement of black human beings, and the greedy decimation of its indigenous peoples and their ancient culture, could, conceivably, last only so long, before it was, ultimately, uncovered, by a Nation benefited by so large a number of literate and inquisitive citizens. Accurate history thus, eventually wends its weary way through the dense fog created by imperious censors of historical experience and those autocratic managers of human knowledge, to reveal its truth. Self-serving propaganda conceits such as “Manifest Destiny,” and of an evangelical obligation to “save” the “savage peoples” by converting them to Christianity, are shameful matters, permanently, included in our National Historical Archives.
In the Hallmark Card Company version of the annual, November 24 holiday, representatives of the First Nations, amply portrayed in feathers and Indian regalia, and the new Colonials, in 16th Century, Quaker-like costume, are portrayed, celebrating their mutual friendship sitting along a large rectangular table, visibly and meaningfully, loaded, with New World eatables, such as corn and squash, and of course, cranberry and wild turkey; dining and participating in the context of a warm, neighborly and amicable interaction. The foregoing depiction contains as little truth, as the doggerel printed on the inside of the greeting cards, manifests any poetic characteristics.
We recently read a scholarly essay, recounting the above revelations and referring to such adverse contemporary matters as, the Covid-19 pandemic, the boondoggle of the Trump Presidency, the perilous rise of White Christian Supremacy groups, the National divisiveness, global warming and the general disinterest in the environment, the immigration crises, the multiple tragedies caused by gun-toting psychopaths, the persistence of Jim Crow mentality, especially, among Municipal Police, the economic disparities, the conspiracy freaks, the insurrection at the Capitol Building and the threats implicit in computer fraud. The essayist questioned whether there was anything for which to give thanks on the Holiday.
The pessimistic essayist might also have, in such context, referred to the present international turmoil, including the perpetual war and famine in the Southern Sahara, the aggressive posture of Russia toward Belarus and Ukraine, the tensions with Iran, the pervasive corruption of Central America and the ensuing refugee crises, the tensions between China and Taiwan, the saber-rattling of North Korea, the political riots in Myanmar, our disastrous 20-year adventure in Afghanistan, and countless more subjects of far less than celebratory nature around the World.
Yet, looking around our well-populated Thanksgiving dinner table, we were, nonetheless, especially thankful, irrespective of the plethora of less than fortunate, contemporary problems, domestic and international. We were thankful for being citizens of the U.S., despite its present imperfections, the World’s freest and safest domicile. We were especially thankful for life, itself, and reasonably good health [even in a time of pandemics], for the love and bonhomie interactively, exchanged between the loving celebrants, and for the momentary reprise of realization of the eternally valuable celebration of good friends and family.