Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rethinking the thanks?

I dunno, I'm kinda glad I read this essay by Robert Jensen on Alternet well after the holiday. I feel guilty enough about all the food and drink indulgence without being made to feel I need to atone for the sins of my forefathers.

In "No thanks to Thanksgiving," Jensen, a J-school professor at the University of Texas, Austin, notes that
Instead, we should atone for the genocide that was incited -- and condoned -- by the very men we idolize as our 'heroic' founding fathers.
The post is well reasoned, and nearly 500 comments follow, which I just scanned. The most insightful, from my point of view, point out that 1) if you and I had lived 300 years ago, there's probably NO WAY we'd have thought any differently than the conventional "wisdom" of the day concerning Native Americans and the "right" of Europeans to prevail, 2) today's Thanksgiving holiday is more about giving thanks for blessings in our lives today, which is a good thing and something we don't do often enough as a collective whole and 3) no matter what we do, today's children had nothing to do with the genocide of our native peoples, and there is little point, other than to assure we understand the nature of their sacrifice and never underestimate or forget it, in dwelling on it.

I may be overly simplistic in my beliefs and quasi analysis. But I don't think that the act of giving thanks can never be a bad thing. And anyway, I doubt you could convince an entire nation to give up their drumsticks and football in favor of sackcloth and ashes, no matter how noble and right.

Just my opinion. Hope your holiday was a happy one.


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