As you begin to come out of your tryptophan-induced coma, here’s an easy bit of Thanksgiving trivia.
A) A day to celebrate the coming together of Puritans and Indians to give thanks to God for a successful harvest.
B) A time of mourning and cultural self-flagellation.
The answer may seem straightforward. But it’s not, according to the activist Left. Having done all it can to turn Christmas into merely a winter retail festival and to scrub Easter of all its religious meaning (that is, all its meaning), the Left has opened up another front in the culture war by taking dead aim at Thanksgiving.
And, as usual, the Left has honed in on students as the most likely converts to its pessimistic point of view. In more and more public schools, students are no longer taught the historical facts about the Pilgrims and American Indians, no longer simulate Mayflower voyages or hold feasts to commemorate the coming together of these two very different groups.
Instead, in many schools Thanksgiving has become a day of mourning, a time to focus on the left’s interpretation of the Native Americans’ experiences. Last year, the Seattle School District sent a letter to its teachers warning them that, “Thanksgiving can be a difficult time for many native students.” The letter went on to tell teachers that for many Native Americans Thanksgiving is seen as a “time of mourning” and “a reminder of 500 years of betrayal.”
Things didn’t get much better this year. Kindergartners at a California school were barred from participating in a decades-long tradition of dressing up as Pilgrims and Native Americans because some parents complained. One mother, whose mother is a Seneca Indian, wrote a letter to school administrators, stating, “It’s demeaning. I’m sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation’s history.” Other parents, some of whom have Native American ancestry, criticized the school for bowing to political correctness.
Is there any little pleasure of hearth and home that we are allowed to enjoy unmolested by the thought police and bullies of political correctness?
It’s easy to understand the Left’s antagonism toward Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving story doesn’t exactly comport with its view of America, one in which Americans ought to feel burdened and guilty instead of blessed by their heritage. Thanksgiving also reinforces a notion the Left has worked decades to destroy: that God blessed America at its founding and continues to watch over it today.
In his bold new book, “The 10 Big Lies about America,” author and talk show host Michael Medved embarks on, in his words, an “aggressive effort to correct the ugly smears that play an increasingly prominent (and often unchallenged) role in our public discourse.”
The first big lie Medved addresses is the oft-repeated fallacy that the early European settlers committed genocide against Native Americans. As Medved reminds his readers, it was disease, not massacre, that caused 95 percent of Native American deaths.
Another Thanksgiving lie suggests it was the Native Americans the Pilgrims were thanking, not God. But it was the Pilgrims’ faith in divine providence that inspired both their heroic and dangerous journey to America and the famous meeting with the Native Americans once they arrived.
Though not a religious holiday in the sense that Easter and Christmas are, Thanksgiving is inextricably linked with belief in the divine. In other words, it’s almost impossible to discuss Thanksgiving without mentioning exactly to whom the thankful were giving thanks.
On October 3rd, 1789, President George Washington, by request of Congress, designated November 26 as a day “of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many…favors of Almighty God…”. In the same proclamation, Washington asked, “the great Lord and Ruler of nations…to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
Regardless of the foolishness that prevails in some of our public schools in the name of “tolerance,” it is important to recognize and appreciate what this great day is all about. The Lord has blessed our country beyond our founders’ imaginations. This remains true despite the current headlines, and over the protestations of the media. This was especially true for the pilgrims who, as Thanksgiving historian Harry Hornblower states, “fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.”
And just like the settlers of so many years ago, we fall to our knees to give thanks to the Lord who watches over and blesses us abundantly.
Thursday the nation paused to give thanks for the tremendous blessings of this land. Even in a year of economic instability and political anxiety, we still have much to be thankful for and proud of. But we must never forget from whom all blessings flow.