We just finished a wonderful Thanksgiving in our family. We all met under one roof, shared amazing food, and caught up on the details of our ever-aging “seniors” while glorying in the accomplishments of the “youngsters.” We had a lot of fun!
There certainly are members of our family that have serious issues in their lives. My mother-in-law is 95 and is struggling with what appears to be the early stages of dementia. One of the grandchildren is going through a divorce. Another granddaughter is breathlessly watching the results of annual tests to make certain the surgeons got ALL the breast cancer more than ten years ago and that she’s still “clear.”
The truth is, every family, every person, and every group of persons have issues. And all have made mistakes. We all must make our own ways in life and follow those stepping stones and paths we choose because they are the best ones as we determine. Sometimes we make good choices, and others are not so good. But that’s life.
Sadly, as we entered Thanksgiving season, the “Wokesters” came out in full force. We’ve lived through several years of the deafening cries from some for “reparations” for the “sins of White ancestors who enslaved African Americans.” And it doesn’t stop with African Americans. EVERY segment of people based on THEIR differences can say, “somebody owes me reparations for something that someone else did to me that was wrong.” Those “wrongs” DO happen. Do they happen because of racism, hatred, just plain evil, or do they happen because humans are being humans?
If we required each other to not only identify our past mistakes and wrongs and then to pay someone for those wrongs, we would NEVER complete the repayment process.
Wednesday, the State Media were blanketed by “Wokesters,” who nastily denigrated Thanksgiving and our longstanding celebration for our forefathers finding the New World and creating this new nation. And as “Wokesters” and State Media on-air talents must do, they cried loudly, proclaiming how evil where those settlers and everyone who doesn’t attack our founders for their genocidal tendencies.
The pilgrims brought genocide with them is the cry today from all on the Left — even among Native Americans:
While you’re struggling to relate to what you just saw and heard, consider this explanation for the media madness we are living in — especially this Thanksgiving season:
Americans have a great and exuberant tradition that touches our sense of belonging and our pride in coming together. No, I am not referring to Thanksgiving, that festival of gratitude, generosity, and welcome. I am referring to the equally great and exuberant tradition of trash-talking other people.
Supposedly we have reformed. Ethnic slurs that were once common have retreated to the dark corners of dive bars and the even darker corners of anti-social media. We live in a time when a whole new admonitory vocabulary has emerged to warn people away from anything remotely racist. “Cultural appropriation” is taboo—as must be the word “taboo” itself, a Tongan word appropriated into English by Capt. James Cook.
We worry about demeaning stereotypes, microaggressions, implicit bias, normativity, neo-colonialism, and the “othering” of others. Surely we are more enlightened than those vile, imperialistic, hate-filled, white, heteronormative people who… Oops.
Ethnic slurs haven’t disappeared. They have just slipped into a new register. Black lives matter, but “all lives matter?” Them’s fighting words. Attacking someone else, after all, is a classic way of demonstrating loyalty to one’s own group, claiming group superiority, and policing the edges.
Gyasi Ross, a Blackfeet (Native American) author (Huffington Post, Gawker, and Indian Country Today) attorney, “rapper, speaker and storyteller,” explained on MSNBC the other day, speaking of the Mayflower Pilgrims, “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence.” Speaking of Thanksgiving, Ross adds, “That genocide and violence is still on the menu.”
If take this as an attempt to right the historical record, it is hopeless. The Pilgrims didn’t bring “genocide” to America. They barely brought themselves, with half of their company dying that first winter, in 1620-21.
For that matter, genocide was already here among native peoples, who frequently fought wars of extermination against rival tribes. The archaeological record testifies to such events, and Europeans had little to teach the native peoples they encountered anything about ambush, torture, and the death penalty.
But if Ross is simply attempting to show off his command of vituperative insult towards people of a tribe other than his own, he has done a pretty good job. His pitch is that the “white people” have a Thanksgiving “mythology” that portrays the Pilgrims as “having brought something of great value that enriches the people who are already here.” But the truth is that the Pilgrims “were broke,” and “they brought nothing of value.”
That, however, was hardly the view of the Wampanoag, with whom the white settlers of Plymouth celebrated that feast in the fall of 1621 that we call the first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag first of all saw the Pilgrims as a valuable ally against their enemies, the Narragansett, who appeared ready to attack.
They signed a treaty with the settlers that lasted unbroken for 50 years. The Wampanoag also eagerly engaged the settlers in trade to gain access to European manufactured goods. Moreover, the Pilgrims brought Christianity, which within a generation attracted a large number of Indian converts.
Granted, Ross may see all of this as “nothing of value,” but who is Ross to judge the decisions of 17th century Native Americans, rendered desperate by an epidemic disease that killed most of their tribe—a disease that swept through New England years before the Pilgrims arrived?
The real truth is that Ross has a niche in contemporary American life that has nothing to do with his ancestry or culture. It is the niche of a professional angertainer. It plays well on TV and other media because, after all, articulate displays of anger are indeed entertaining, and also because we need some comic relief dressed up as indignation. This isn’t always or necessarily bad: Let’s go, Brandon!
But humped-up anger is pretty much all the leftist media have to offer us these days. Real arguments grounded in facts are in short supply for the Bidenized left, but sneers presented as if they reveal hidden realities can still energize the base. After all, Nicole Hannah-Jones has just conjured a 600-page book out of her imaginary version of the American past. Condensed version: white men caused every harm, every misery, every injustice inflicted on black people from 1619 to today. Ross has the advantage of brevity.
Those Mayflower Pilgrims brought a few other items that also missed Ross’s list. They brought religious tolerance both as a principle and as a practice. The Mayflower Compact guaranteed that all the settlers, only about half of whom were Pilgrims, would enjoy the right to confess their own faiths. (The Puritans, who arrived later and settled Massachusetts Bay, were not tolerant.)
The settlers of Plymouth had one more thing: democratic self-government. Eventually Plymouth became the model for the New England town and, from there, the English settlement of the whole country.
Today the left professes to despise colonialism and to see nothing but the usurpation of people and destruction of the environment as the consequence. This is a little odd, given that the left also generally favors the abolition of national borders.
I don’t know if that applies in Ross’s case. He may want to keep the borders (or perhaps expand them) of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. The loss of control of land, loss of independence, and other indignities by Native Americans were experienced by many as a dismal fate.
But history is complex. Some Native Americans embraced Western civilization; some sought a synthesis of tradition and the West; and some, like Ross, found places within the Western tradition where accusation and anger became a new kind of currency.
In that vein, hating Thanksgiving, like hating Columbus, has become a ritual. Some people watch the Macy’s Parade; some watch football; some enjoy the homecoming of relatives; some offer God sincere prayers of gratitude. And some make up stories about violence and genocide.
We all have a choice on this matter: adopt an attitude of thankfulness for all we have, including our opportunities, while recognizing we make mistakes and bad choices that negatively impact others, but we are willing to acknowledge our wrongs and reconcile with those wronged. Or we can toe the line of the Wokesters who command unilateral authority to label everything and everybody and set ALL the social rules that we must follow. The two options are mutually exclusive. And, sadly, the Wokesters led by the State Media are really good at ignoring all the good they experience because of what those evil Pilgrims did.
As for me, I’m thankful! I will always be thankful. I will always thank God “in all things.” I choose to do so. And the fact that the woke crowd choose the other option will NOT impact my decisions.
My operating mantra? “Do unto others what you’d have them do unto you.”
If you want to do life the other way, go for it. Meanwhile, I’m going to wish everybody I see a “Merry Christmas!”
I ain’t Woke!