Thanksgiving is an ethics holiday, almost as much an ethics holiday as Christmas. The United States is a nation founded on ethical idealism, so it figures that that increasingly vile and relentless defilers of the nation, who have multiplied like bacteria in agar for a wealth of reasons, attack both holidays with as much gusto as they attack the U.S. year ’round. Here’s the reliably disgusting Joy Reid on Thanksgiving: in a typical Reid rant, she said it is…
….important to unpack the myth of Thanksgiving. It is a holiday riddled with historical inaccuracies.
Built on this myth that the indigenous welcomed their colonizers with open arms and ears of corn. A simplistic fairy tale interpretation of a 1621 encounter between indigenous tribes and English settlers that erases the genocide that followed. It’s the truth that Republicans want banned from our textbooks because here is the secret they want so desperately to keep.
We are a country founded on violence. Our birth was violent. In 1619, a ship with more than 20 enslaved Africans landed in Virginia, ushering in two centuries of American slavery that left millions in chains or dead. With those humans in bondage were finally free, a terrorist organization that was a card carrying member of polite society, Ku Klux Klan, picked up where the Civil War ended, using violence to maintain white supremacy. The Klan is still active and as Americans, we continue to choose violence. We are a country that chooses violence over and over again. There is no facet of the mark in society untouched by it.
Typical of Reid, she engages in an orgy of historical misinformation, to use the Left’s favorite word of late, to claim that Thanksgiving is “riddled with historical inaccuracies.” Holidays are not about technical accuracy, but tradition and symbolism. Deconstructing any holiday is a breeze; all one has to do is focus on related events and facts that the are not the reason the holiday exists. Let’s talk about Martin Luther King, Joy!A remembrance of an inspiring event doesn’t “erase” what follows, and the American Thanksgiving was never intended to perform that time-traveling legerdemain. I can’t wait for Joy to observe that the “myth” of Christmas doesn’t erase the Holocaust, or the Tuskegee experiments.
First of all, Joy apparently doesn’t realize that what we now call Thanksgiving was a cross-cultural festival based on English and French traditions, giving thanks for such boons as the failure of the Gunpowder Plot and the ends of plagues, as well as the bounty of good harvests. It was a tradition for the English and French settlers of the U.S. and Canada long before they got to North America: Does Joy realize that there is a Canadian Thanksgiving that has nothing to do with Native Americans? Of course not, because she just thinks, hates, and says stuff.
The American Thanksgiving story is not a “myth.” It happened. In 1621, the surviving Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts finally had a good harvest after nearly starving to death in the previous winter.. Then the grateful refugees from England—who did not come to “colonize” the Indians, since they didn’t know who or what they would encounter in the New World—celebrated their good fortune with the Wampanoags tribe who had helped them get through the terrible winter by giving them food. Yes, the 1619 settlers, also from England, who landed in Virginia had declared and celebrated their own “thanksgiving” for arriving safely after their voyage, but these were two separate events. A historian Joy Reid isn’t. And no, the original Virginia Thanksgiving was not based on thanks for being able to bring slavery to North America.
Joy conveniently omits the fact that Americans “chose violence” to free those slaves, and succeeded. I have little doubt that the rising racial apartheid movement among progressives will eventually turn to agitation for “Juneteenth” to be celebrated as the Black Thanksgiving, leaving this one to those evil, racist whites. Separate but equal is back in vogue.
(And the Klan is not “active,” in any meaningful way, Joy, you idiot. It is now the equivalent of a small cult, and even the untrustworthy Southern Poverty Law Center, which depends on exaggerating the presence and power of “hate groups” for its own survival (as a left-wing hate group), estimates that the KKK has only a few thousand members divided into twenty or so small competing chapters across the country. The Flat Earth Society is more “active.”)
Thanksgiving exhorts Americans to be grateful for what they have, for family, friends, community and neighbors and the privilege of being alive, to put aside the differences that divide us and to reconnect with our religious, moral and ethical values as well as what we know is good about the United States of America. We may celebrate it with travel, turkey, football (talk about violence!) and other trappings, but that’s not the point, and has never been the point.
What sad, miserable, confused people regular MSNBC viewers must be.
Happy Thanksgiving, Ethics Alarms readers!
Among many other things, I’m thankful for you.
29 thoughts on “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday”
Honestly, there was no violence on the first Thanksgiving in 1621. If people want to lament the relationship we should have had with the Native Americans rather than the one we had, there are 364 other days of the year to do that.
Let us celebrate one day where everyone got along.
“Among many other things, I’m thankful for you.”
Jack, I think I can reliably and safely say for all of us, we feel just that way about you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, sir.
Yes, definitely! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
The only scary thing in Reid’s commentary is that it influences the 27 or 28 people who regularly watch her nonsense.
I worry about the thousands of young black kids who are African Studies majors in schools all across the country and are being drilled on using all the vocabulary and concepts NoJoy Reid makes a living tossing around like party favors. And of course, they’ll say it’s systemic racism that explains the fact they can’t get a job worthy of a college degree.
johnburger2013 wrote, “The only scary thing in Reid’s commentary is that it influences the 27 or 28 people who regularly watch her nonsense.”
Oh my, to have such a following on my blog would be a big increase.
A note to Joy Reid and all the other not so rational media pundits I say, fuck off media trolls*, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of all your propaganda shit!
*Media Trolls: noun Those that distribute inflammatory propaganda across the media with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal civil discussion, to draw attention to themself and for their own amusement.
Happy Thanksgiving, Jack!
Jack wrote, “Happy Thanksgiving, Ethics Alarms readers!”
Jack wrote, “Among many other things, I’m thankful for you.”
I hope everyone has a festive time with family and friends today and throughout the entire upcoming Christmas season.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the EA commentariat and all the Marshalls. Thanks for being an island of sanity every few hours of every day, Jack.
Well said OB and ditto dat.
Reid is a bitter sourpuss who spends her precious waking moments fixated on life’s rearview mirror instead of the miracle of how far we have come as a nation. Her professional niche is stirring the pot of division, resentment, and rage, and I wonder if she is grateful at how well she is compensated for nothing remarkable. She is essentially a professional troll.
Her grievance mongering is so old and tired that hardly anyone cares anymore. Her repetitive screech that every cracker is an evil racist just comes across as a ploy to capitalize on. Eventually the well of white guilt will dry up along with the marketable value of Reid’s schtick. Or will it?
It is quite possible that Reid can anticipate a long and prosperous career if she can navigate media and mine the well of white guilt even half as well as anorexic Al.
Caped Crusader, Jack’s so prolific you’d think he has a staff of fifteen recent graduates and interns doing research and writing and curating and moderating while Jack sits back, picks his teeth like George Bush the elder and provides occasional editorial guidance.
Happy Thanksgiving, Jack, and all those who browse and comment here as well.
I am thankful for EA and those who comment and that I got rid of cable, so the money I used to pay for cable no longer helps support networks that create programming such as Joyless Reid. If she is really that unhappy, Canada just passed a new law that will ease her pain.
I was going to make a point here, but I will save it for now and just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving, Jack an family, and to all the EA commentariat across this great land!
120 years after Columbus, 35 years after scouting parties working under Sir Walter Raleigh and 35 years after Roanoke, decades of french fur trappers and the odd Spaniard making their way north and oh, before they set off they interviewed John Smith for the possible position of colony leader but they had no idea who would be there?
Like Joy, you’re getting Virginia mixed up with Massachusetts. Happen to me all the time, since that’s both states where I’ve lived…
The Puritans interviewed post-Jamestown John Smith for the position of colony leader. He and Pocahontas has been back in England for 10 years.
Yes I know but she was there too.
Yes, but Virginia was a long, long way from the Bay State in those days. Nobody, including Smith, could have known what awaited in Plymouth. The Pilgrims wanted to colonize themselves. That was challenge enough.
Right, have to go. Might check my phone at some point but odds are I won’t see your replies till late in the evening.
Sadly, Australia copies many worthless things from the USA; but not Thanksgiving.
We are diminished.
May God bless you all this Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to our Ethicist Extraordinaire and EA followers and commenters.
The very best of Thanksgiving to you and your family. I have learned much from your writing and the responses of your readers. I am better and more ethical for it. I am thankful for you.
I’m thankful for Jack’s hard work in maintaining a space for people to discuss serious issues without being silenced for contradicting anybody’s dogma.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
burp smile wave
Happy Thanksgiving, all. I know I’m late to the party, but we were a little busy with family yesterday.
C.S. Lewis writes that history taught under a tyrant’s rule was “duller than the truest history you ever read, and less true than the most exciting adventure story,” while designated hero Prince Caspian is taught the truth in secret – that the tyrant is trying to cover up the past for his own benefit.
As far as I know, Joy Reid, who I think did another piece bashing the 1950s, has no background in history or much of anything else. She is simply someone who spreads anger, hatred, and unhappiness into the world in the interest of feeding the confirmation bias of her idiot followers and sowing discord and division otherwise.
Celebrations of thanks in Europe date back at least to the chanting and later singing of the Te Deum, a fairly lengthy prayer of praise offered in thanks for victory in war, recovery of leaders from illness, and just about any good event, the idea being we mortals should acknowledge whence whatever blessings we received came. The idea goes back still farther to the 100th psalm, “Praise the Lord all ye lands,” sometimes sung in the Christian tradition as “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”or other translations.
Services of thanksgiving were and still are a thing in Europe not necessarily tied to any one particular day or event. For the first century or so of this nation’s existence, that was the case here also. Washington was the first president to proclaim a one-off day of giving thanks,and other presidents followed the custom by presidential proclamation as they saw fit. In fact the ancient Te Deum was offered after the Battle of New Orleans in the Cathedral of St. Louis, the oldest continually used cathedral in North America.
Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as the victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and other places made it clear that the Southern cause was doomed and it was just a matter of time, proclaimed the idea of a permanent national day of thanksgiving to the Father, but it wasn’t until the time of FDR that the holiday took on the form it has now, fixed to the Thursday of the last full week in November. The pilgrims did in fact celebrate the fact that their colony was still in existence after a harsh winter that killed large numbers including their governor John Carver. The assistance of the Wampanoag Indians, especially Samoset and Catholic convert Squanto, was invaluable in making it possible for them to survive. Yes, things would later go bad between the settlers and the Wampanoag, but they weren’t there yet, and it wasn’t the pilgrim’s idea to simply wipe away the Indians so this new land would be theirs and theirs alone.
Further south the Virginia settlers had in fact brought the first slaves to North America (I think the Spanish simply enslaved the Indians rather than bringing in new slaves), but any celebrations they had had nothing to do with that.
The problem with this celebration, as people like Joy Reid, fueled by pseudohistorians like Howard Zinn, see it, isn’t that the history around it isn’t perfect or has some aspects that modern Americans can find troubling. It’s that it’s a unified celebration unique to this country, giving thanks for this country and all that it is. They can’t stand this nation nor it’s values, so they do a lot of “yes, but…” which is the very thing they condemn the other side for. Some of it is probably genuine anger at previous injustice, but that’s futile, since there’s no undoing the past. A lot of it is probably a cynical attempt to keep this nation divided and stoke hatred for anything vaguely traditional. There’s telling the truth, then there’s telling parts of the truth to advance your position. That’s just what Zinn did and just what Joy Reid is parroting
The United States is a nation founded on an appeal to ethical idealism, among other things, some but only some of which ethical idealism was genuinely drawn upon. Along with that was PR and even outright hypocrisy, using that appeal hypocritically as a cloak for self interest (we don’t even have to invoke the slave holders to show that; for instance, it is quite clear in the agenda of the middle colonies to rip off the colonial proprietors* who were trying to enforce their rights through the legal system). It is important to be clear eyed about what to value, warts and all, and not to blind oneself with over-reach, just so as to be able to see the good properly along with the bad.
True enough as far as it goes, but on the other hand others used much less violence to do the same (contra some apologists, there actually was some – colonial wars, destabilised countries, slave revolts against emancipation, and so on). We others tend to look on that major resort to violence as a flaw at best.
* When the U.S. government tried to negotiate acquiring the freehold of the then U.S. embassy in London from the then Duke of Westminster, he politely put retrieving his family’s seized lands in the colonies ahead of that on the agenda. He never heard back.