Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take what you will from it, I guess.

The history of our national day of giving thanks is disputed.

It has become fashionable lately for people with (Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning" playing on infinite repeat) to tell us that Thanksgiving is a terrible celebration of the massacre of the trans-historic indigenous peoples of North America. There's quite the movement afoot to banish the holiday, or to reinvent it as a day of sorrow and atonement.

Hey, if that's all you've got in your box, then I guess it's going to rattle around a bit.

If you're an atheist, then the question arises: to whom are you giving thanks? Certainly not to God. Okay then: how about just appreciating how you got the things for which you may count among your blessings? Somebody likely helped you get there. Thank them. If you did it all by yourself, thank the person in your mirror. Saying "thank you" is polite.

I've always liked the way that William Bradford looked at Thanksgiving: as a celebration of capitalism as a way to get through the harsh winters. It seems that before, the Plymouth Bay Colony had tried collectivism of corn, and that hadn't worked out; the hardest workers got no more than the shirkers, and they had almost starved the year before. So when they tried the concept of working for one's self, and trading for whatever was needed, the colony flourished.

It is interesting to note that some of the colonists worked for the local Indians, planting and such, to get their seed corn. I've heard one reference to them working "as slaves" for the indigenous people, but slaves don't generally get to walk away with any profit for their labors. This was an exchange of labor for commodity. That yellow seed corn was truly their specie.

Here at Better And Better, we try to see the optimistic side of things*. So on this day of Thanks Giving, I'm asking you all to simply see what is good in your life, and spend at least part of the day loving that.

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*We've also been known to fail at this, on occasion.

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4 Comments:

At Friday, November 25, 2011 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

I did, and spent it with friends/family... And thankful to be able to do that!

 
At Friday, November 25, 2011 6:53:00 PM, Blogger WW said...

After thoroughly reading all the links, I decided to educate my family on the fact of Thanksgiving being a celebration of a massacre. But, because I know my family and that they will argue til they're blue in the face, even when they're wrong. I was told that the Pilgrims didn't have enough food,and that they weren't the ones that brought the food. To which I answered back about when the Pilgrims actually gave thanks that they killed the Native Americans, and my family still argued the other way.
I will never win on educating my family about something new that they don't wish to believe in. But, I appreciate your post and and the things I learned about Thanksgiving.

 
At Friday, November 25, 2011 8:39:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

So, WW, what source led you to believe the whole Massacre Story version? Because the one that I linked to gave no scholarly sources for her point of view.

William Bradford, on the other hand, was there.

 
At Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:06:00 AM, Blogger MauserMedic said...

From this atheist's perspective, I'm thankful that there were individuals in our past who valued initiative and taking risks as a path to prosperity. Otherwise, I can't say a give thanks to anyone, rather I'm appreciative to have a home with clean water, heat, quality food, and a family that's relatively safe and healthy compared to places I've been.

As to guilt trips for past generation's behavior: I'm responsible for my behavior, not other adults, especially those long dead.

 

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