When you no longer buy into the mythology of American exceptionalism, the holidays suddenly take on a less celebratory nation. Since leaving behind God and country a number of years back, one of the first things I noticed is how much our holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Superbowl Sunday—are wrapped in the same trappings and lies as everything else about our nation. At least Christmas has carols, Charlie Brown and Jimmy Stewart to soften realities sucker punch to the sternum. Thanksgiving, unfortunately doesn’t lend itself so easily to delusion.
For the past several Thanksgivings, gathered around the turkey and trimmings, I’ve naively attempted discussions with family members and others, attempting to inject a bit of reality into the revelry. This unceremonious attempt revealed the depth of indoctrination that permeates our daily existence as Americans. The entire Indian/Pilgrim myth is one such lie that refuses to go away. Yes, there are those who do their best to demythologize the day and bring some veracity to the proceedings. But these folks are usually afforded the same level of respect and honor as the participants at a UFO convention.
In searching for writings about the day, it was instructive that so much sounded just like this;
“Most people know better than to view Thanksgiving as merely a day off from work and an opportunity to load up on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
In a greater sense, Thanksgiving asks people to hearken back to this country's 17th century settlers, the obstacles they overcame during their first year in America and the friendships they developed with American Indians.
Those stories are introduced early in every child's life: the pilgrims, the fish used to fertilize corn, the wild turkeys with multicolored feathers and the chilly spray of the Atlantic Ocean on Plymouth Rock.
They are great romantic tales, and they may or may not be entirely true. But regardless of how valid the details are, the legends are instructive nonetheless. Thanksgiving, like most other holidays, can offer a chance for introspection, self-understanding and enlightened behavior.”
With serious issues about the historical authentication of the myth, I do at least give this writer some credit for directing readers towards, “introspection, self-understanding and enlightened behavior (whatever the fuck that means)”. If my yearly cycle of gathering with family and gouging ourselves on food is like most others (I would guess that it is), I don’t recall much of anything bordering on introspection or self-understanding.
Knowing that for many in our nation and other places, there isn’t a lot to be thankful for this turkey day, I offer the following things that aren’t worth giving thanks for. Maybe our nation’s affluenza makes it impossible for an American to be thankful and feel blessed for any of the abundance that they’ve acquired.
Without any further ado, here is a list 2005’s things to be unthankful for—think of it as the anti-Thanksgiving, 2005: Not intended to be an exhaustive listing, it offers an opportunity for reflection for those few hearty souls who care to add that to their turkey and fixings, as well as pumpkin pie.
- Bombs falling on your head and killing your family (My nod to celebrations in other lands, such as Iraq)
- The families of soldiers who won’t be returning for another Thanksgiving meal
- The 30,000 GM carmakers who will be losing their jobs and their generous benefits
- The millions of other Americans, the nation’s working poor, who will find it difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, on sub-living wage pay and no benefits
- The countless Americans being squeezed by an administration bent on extending and making tax cuts permanent to their wealthy friends and benefactors—if any group should be thankful, it should be these bastards—instead, they’ll think of their gilded position as their right and not a privilege.
- The many members of America’s working and exploited classes, forced to labor on a day that traditionally meant that commerce shut down for the day; instead, in a consumer nation where the corporate machine whirs 24/7/365, there is no such thing as a holiday.