Every year I have to read various progressive arguments against Thanksgiving. But the reality is, Thanksgiving really just represents your basic autumn harvest festival. Yes; it is attached to the survival of the pilgrims, in our case, but so what? Americans have a massive sense of guilt, for what happened hundreds of years ago, before the United States even became a separate nation.
I have been thinking of writing this discussion for years, but for some reason I never get around to it. Maybe I should have started on the day after Thanksgiving last year, so I would be prepared for today. But too late for that. So here’s my discussion on Thanksgiving.
Americans are obsessed with guilt. But America is no different than just about any other nation. Modern nations are the result of past civilizations being consumed, either peacefully or violently, by other civilizations. Only recently has the attempt by most nations, to obtain more land, slowed. Why is Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian all similar? It’s not because they share a common ancestral language. It’s because Rome conquered large swaths of territory. Now, let’s consider France for a minute. People in France are often quote proud of their culture. But that culture is a result of conquest. So why do Americans feel so guilty?
Ironically enough, it may be about American exceptionalism. If we cannot be the best at being the best, we can at least the best at being the worst. If America’s “crimes” against the world are somehow “superior” to those committed by the rest of the world. If our actions can somehow be different than the countless number of conquests throughout history, including conquests by of various American groups, by other American groups, then we can still be the best. We can still be “exceptional.”
But the reality is that America is not exceptional, for the most part. Yes; we do have the biggest prison population per capita in the industrialized world. And yes; we are currently the largest military in existence. And yes; that’s bad. However, America’s history has more or less followed the same pattern as many nations that came before it, and others which existed at the time. That’s the reality of existence. We wouldn’t be who we are today without these events. But they are in the past. We are what we are now. And that is what matters. So it is time to give up on feeling superior in our guilt. We’re just one of many nations.
So instead of worrying about guilt and who did what to whom, just stuff yourself with lots of good food and be thankful for a good harvest.
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