Which holiday should I acknowledge on this date? Of course, here in The United States, we celebrate a questionable feast called ‘Thanksgiving,’ which has a kindly intention backed-up by a history of brutality. Before I get to the other idea I mean to talk about, I wanted to give a brief background on the so-called natives of North America.
About 11,000 years ago there were some ice people who walked over the frozen northern ocean from Greenland, and the Siberian wastelands, and a handful of survivors reached the heart of what would eventually be called Canada. This was before there were boats, at least that we know of, so it draws the immediate question of how these people got so far north before their trek down south if they came, like we all do, from Africa?
I have no answers to these questions, the long ago past so distant that every modern historian can only speculate, and desperately apply anthropological, sociological and psychological reasoning under the assumption that, deep down, people have always been the same. We expect the yearnings for a better life to take on the same form, more or less, no matter how far we go back into fictional times.
Anyway, the slaughter of the Native Indians, starting over ten thousand years later, had more to do with the peaceful lack of evolution these native tribes lived in, as though in paradise. Sure, they would war with each other over space or food or women from time to time, but mostly they were a cooperative hunter-gatherer-trading society. Their weapons were literally sticks and stones, each sharpened to a point.
Here comes Spain. They have guns (no matter how crude), and they bring foreign antigens that the natives had never experienced before, killing them off rapidly, while the filth-infested, disease fighting Europeans took advantage of the wholesale suffering and claimed a new land for their empire. Then there was the frenzy of France and England and the Netherlands–the chief shipping powers of those days alongside the Spanish Armada, and each nation grabbed a piece of the land, from Canada down through South America, and most of the tropical islands in between. They all spread slavery and disorder, and yet somehow managed to develop a world that offered more to even the slaves than they had ever had before.
And for this we are thankful, apparently. We do have quite a knack for celebrating only the positives that emerge from otherwise hateful and gruesome events. But this part of the discussion is only sent out to say ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to my fellow Americans, and to those international chums who for some reason think that this holiday truly means anything. It is a feast day. It is after 2 AM here, and I am on a break from mixing and cutting and pan-frying and baking and doing all of that other bullshit I still do every year because my family loves it when Dad stays up all night cooking.
There is another anniversary on this day as well, one that to the modern world (yes, I mean the whole world) has probably had a far greater impact than an aging tradition we have abbreviated into ‘Turkey Day.’ No, November 22. Think 1963. That was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, now fifty-five years ago.
I do not want to dive into an endless echo chamber of theories about what actually happened on this day, but I will allow that there was certainly some sort of conspiracy involved in this murder. Lee Harvey Oswald was definately involved–a bad guy with bad intentions and no loyalty to anyone or anything, but I cannot believe that this lonely drifter just one day got up the will to fire off three of the most accurate shots in sporting history, killing the President of the United States and destroying much of the nation’s hopes at the same time/ Someone must have put him up to it. Someone paid for this. Someone shirked the blame, and had it all poured on Oswald’s creepy tail. Someone. Someone shadowy. Someone we, after all this time, will never, ever know.
But this murky swamp, which really dawned a rapidly growing literary and speculative movement–conspiracy theories–allowed people to shout out their outrage and their lack of trust; it gave them a way to vent every doubt they ever had about anything. This moment, while profound and inspired by some truly scary reality, also contributed to today’s inability to define the truth. Conspiracy theories gave vent to ‘alternative facts,’ and every other half-baked lie people have used ever since to justify whatever lunatic ideas they have.
So let us celebrate, let us be thankful for what a paranoid government, uncertain of what actually happened themselves, did, covering up the mystery and rushing to judgment (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9781560250432&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-used) in order to get a shattered America back to work. We haven’t been right ever since, watching the continual decline of our government, mired in ignorance and secrets too serious. And these condescending jerk-offs in Congress and the Senate and on the bench and in the White House believe that no one can handle the truth. They’re probably right. Every administration, from LBJ to the current conspiratorial foundation that dominates the alternate reality of Donald Trump and his followers, has been consumed with public outrage and has been consumed with a blame game so intense that no one, any longer, can ever seem truly innocent. Think about the history: Johnson and Vietnam; Nixon being Nixon; Ford trying to clean up the mess; Carter a failed outsider; Reagan selling weapons to religious fanatics to help end Communism and open the doorway to an uncertain new world; H.W. finishing this work, mistakenly calling it a ‘New World Order;’ Clinton being Clinton and engendering a new sort of partisan hatred; Bush 2 suffering 9/11, then having to lie about everything thereafter. Obama. Trump. All liars. Everyone dishonest. This is where we arrived once JFK, a serial cheater and no doubt notorious liar, had his image tarnished by suspicion and truth.
This is what we celebrate on Thanksgiving, particularly when we suffer the misfortune of having it on this date. Be thankful, then, for what has happened to America. Be grateful, I guess, that everything someday comes to an end. We only seem to live for the moment these days anyway. Go on. Enjoy yourselves . . .