Thursday, November 28, 2013

The True Bad-Ass Meaning of Thanksgiving

For people around the globe who want a brief, no-bullshit summary of Thanksgiving, here it is. Everything began around 1620. The new world settlements in Jamestown and Plymouth on the East Coast of the Americas were established by some folks who wanted more freedom in their financial and spiritual lives than their European homeland governments would allow them.

These people had traded modern amenities for a lengthy, filthy, hungry sea voyage followed by a lengthy, filthy, hungry homesteading in the wilderness, surrounded by local people with whom they had serious communication and perspective issues that often erupted into horrific cruelty and bloodshed.

Nevertheless, these dirty, ragged, endangered folks lifted their eyes to the heavens giving thanks for the food, life and liberty they did have, plus the flashes of cross-cultural understanding that occasionally happened with the natives of the new hemisphere, who seemed like they came from a different planet. Since that time, people in the Americas have continued Thanksgiving celebrations, which often include the following elements.

1) A heartfelt gratitude to God for life sustenance.

2) A gut felt love of liberty for more life opportunity.

3) Preparation of food with a connection to the Americas like turkey, cranberries and pumpkin by mostly female cooks who work much harder than they should, though probably not as hard as cooks in 1620.

4) The watching of aggressive sports by mostly male couch-potatoes who feel a surge of primitive energy that makes them want to argue about politics and resent tyrannical rulers (like George Bush who claimed combating inadequate security justified tapping citizens' emails or phone calls and Barack Obama who claimed combating inadequate health care justified ordering citizens to buy his plan at his dysfunctional condescending website), though few of these testosterone-laden sports fans would ever raise themselves off the sofa and move to the wilderness (much less raise a musket) to preserve the boundary between themselves and oppressive rulership. At least, get up and wash the dishes, guys!

Nevertheless, it is good and fitting that people appreciate life, liberty, and the pursuit of winter survival in an old refugee camp that lacked toilet paper but contained hearts of gratitude and balls of self-respect bigger than most. If you're grateful for what you have and love liberty so much that you'd prefer to die on your feet than live on your knees, even if you're reading this from some dictator's gulag with a life sentence, I (a certified minister of the church of Sacred Ground Magazine and certifiable American lunatic) declare ye an honorary American on this day (whether ye like it or not).

Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl said the only freedom that cannot be taken away from humans is the choice of our attitude toward our situation. May the new world exist in hearts everywhere and also in cyberspace right here, long after kings, presidents, and "beloved comrades" have taken control over most of the physical map. Vive la liberté! Let us all give thanks.

1 comment:

  1. I have always been confounded by the American devotion to football. It really is a silly sport....