This week, Americans of all ages will gather together with family and/or friends and celebrate Thanksgiving, our most iconic national holiday after the 4th of July. And, if you can spare time between your heaping helpings of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and multiple slices of pie, we think you ought to give thanks for one more thing: the fact that Thanksgiving is still allowed to exist.
Seriously. In our era of "land acknowledgments," of renaming Columbus Day to "Indigenous Peoples' Day," and of treating everything before 2020's BLM protests as artifacts of a beleaguered time before our supposedly "enlightened" activist class existed, you should be thankful indeed that Thanksgiving has, somehow, not ended up on the chopping block along with all those turkeys.
It's not like the woke Left haven't tried to chip away at it. Last year, the BBC (of course) ran a piece bemoaning Thanksgiving "mythology," pointing out that after the original Thanksgiving feast, diseases like smallpox ravaged the indigenous community, and explaining that for some Native Americans, Thanksgiving is literally celebrated as a "National Day of Mourning." We suppose it's understandable: the BBC is probably still sore that all those Pilgrims ran from religious persecution in the UK (persecution which it still employs) and are trying to spoil our fun.
However, Americans are getting in on the fun (or lack of it) as well. Less recently, the Smithsonian ran a piece, in 2019, bemoaning the "lasting damage" that "the myths of the thanksgiving story" cause. "In truth," the Smithsonian intoned, "massacres, disease, and American Indian tribal politics are what shaped the Pilgrim-Indian alliance at the root of the holiday."
Their argument is that the tribe involved, the Wampanoags, pretty much only cozied up to European settlers because their main rivals, the Narragansetts, were destroying them in war. As opposed to the "myth," which is apparently that "friendly Indians, unidentified by tribe, welcome the Pilgrims to America, teach them how to live in this new place, sit down to dinner with them and then disappear. They hand off America to white people so they can create a great nation dedicated to liberty, opportunity and Christianity for the rest of the world to profit…it's bloodless and in many ways an extension of the ideology of Manifest Destiny."
Firstly, we question the extent to which this "myth" is something anyone believes anymore, particularly given the obsessiveness with which our education system dwells on America's sins. But secondly, so what? The argument that the Wampanoags only sat down with those evil white Christians because they were being devastated actually does more damage to the Left's mythology than the Right's, since it's an article of faith among them that Native Americans were peaceful "noble savages" (to quote Jean-Jacques Rousseau), living in harmony with the land and each other until the evil white man showed up and stole their land. "Hey, the Wampanoags actually needed European help to escape genocide" sure makes someone look bad, but it isn't the Pilgrims.
But let's be blunt: the real reason the Left can't abide the Thanksgiving "myth" isn't because they think the Wampanoags are getting a raw deal, or whatever. It's because they can't abide any story in which America, or its early settlers, look good. Because the idea of America as a nation "dedicated to liberty, opportunity and Christianity for the rest of the world to profit" offends them viscerally. Not just because of the Christian part, which has been complicated in the time since anyway; all of it upsets them.
They hate the idea of liberty, because liberty means liberty to live lives according to values other than theirs. They hate the idea of opportunity, because they think it's a sham to cover up white supremacy/patriarchy/whatever. And they hate the idea of giving thanks for living in the greatest nation on earth precisely because, in their minds, America is a white supremacist, patriarchal hell hole. Small wonder that some of them openly wish for the holiday to "die with the Boomers," because this is the Current Year, and such embarrassing residues of patriotism must be wiped away so that the generations who thrill to bin Laden rather than George Washington can finally take charge.
Well, they won't. Thanksgiving isn't dead for us, and it shouldn't be for you. Which is why we urge you: celebrate the holiday. Give thanks that it still exists. Give thanks that you live in the greatest nation on earth, and that for whatever reason, that nation came to be, in part, thanks to an alliance between its natives and the new European visitors. And if your woke relatives try to get in your face – which we doubt, since many of them seem determined to pretend they have no family when that family isn't completely on-board with their ideology – don't back down. Be thankful, and be proud to be an American.