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11/18/22: BONES N’ ALL – THANKS BUT NO THANKSGIVING

Ron Patton | November 18, 2022

Another Thanksgiving will happen in a few days yet, it appears to have lost its appeal among many Americans. And although people generally don’t have a problem with gathering friends and family for a festive meal, it all boils down to the larger political context along with the harsh economic times we are encountering, especially with food shortages. The tradition of Thanksgiving raises relevant questions about our family relationships and culture that also demand honest accounting and soul searching. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks about BONES N’ ALL – THANKS BUT NO THANKSGIVING.

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11/18/22: BONES N’ ALL – THANKS BUT NO THANKSGIVING

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When I was a kid, I really loved Thanksgiving because it gave me a chance to have dinner with my Grandmother — and my six aunts and uncles. We always had a big family meal. In fact, it was so big we had to rent out the small town’s meeting center to accommodate everyone.

Turkey and stuffing were provided and anything else would be a potluck, that would be brought by all of the other families in our brood. With all of my dad’s siblings and cousins — it was a huge affair.

In the end my aunt Ruth would play the piano and all of the kids would sing Jingle Bells and Santa would make an appearance.  It was my great uncle Dick — I knew because I recognized his voice and since he hauled oil for Phillips 66 he smelled like gasoline.

Over the years the get-togethers would diminish. Grandma died, and then Aunt Ruth and Uncle Dick — and the tradition became trite.

I think that after my Father died — the celebration stopped entirely.

It was getting a bit difficult to show up happy — I left my religion, and so one of my Uncles would troll me. I wore a diamond stud in my ear — and he told me that only gay men wear earrings. Then came the political divide in my family — and then there would be fights at the table.

It got ugly.

I am sure many people are not aware that we almost lost Thanksgiving over political division.

While your young, liberal hippy-in-training will tell you that Thanksgiving is the celebration of the Native American Holocaust — as is Columbus Day.

There is another story about how the political divide during the Civil War almost abolished the holiday.

In American folklore, Thanksgiving is a holiday that originated in 1621 with the Pilgrims celebrating a good harvest. Some historians say that this event is poorly documented, and others believe that the Thanksgiving tradition traveled to the New World with the Pilgrims and Puritans who brought with them the English Days of Thanksgiving. Other historians think the Pilgrims associated their relief from hunger.

The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, if it happened, might not have been the first in the New World. Historians say the Virginia colonial charter declared a Day of Thanksgiving in 1619, and other historians say the first Thanksgiving was observed by the Spanish in Florida in 1565.

Apparently, the different English colonies and later American states each had their own day of Thanksgiving, if they had one. Abraham Lincoln tried to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, but the country was divided by the civil war.

Unionists saw secession as a threat to the empire.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday with the completion of the Reconstruction of the South.

If Lincoln had lost, and if there had been at that time a Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan would have been hanged as war criminals.

Arguably, there would be no Thanksgiving. Even then we almost lost it because of the political divide in the 1800s.

In the 1870s when Democrats won elections in Louisiana, Sheridan, who had power over the state, declared the Democrats to be criminals who would be subjected to his military tribunals.

Today Americans think of themselves as citizens of the United States. But in 1860, people thought of themselves as citizens of states. When Robert E. Lee was offered a top command in the Union army, he declined on the grounds that he could not draw his sword on his native state of Virginia. Lincoln used the war to establish the supremacy of the central government in Washington over the states to which the Constitution had given most functions of government.

Then in 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced a dilemma. He was responsible for declaring the last Thursday of November to be a day of Thanksgiving — something American presidents had done since Abraham Lincoln began the tradition. But November of 1939 had five Thursdays, which would shorten the holiday shopping season. Retailers still struggling from the Great Depression encouraged him to move Thanksgiving earlier by a week. To the country’s shock, Roosevelt agreed. For the next three years, some states recognized the federal government’s new Thanksgiving date, while others defiantly stuck with the old one.

Roosevelt had rejected previous requests to change the date of Thanksgiving, fearing that he would foil local plans and disrupt football schedules. But according to The New York Times, due to the urging of “department stores, general stores, small stores, and almost every kind of store,” Roosevelt announced on April 14, 1939, that Thanksgiving would be on November 23 instead of the expected November 30.

Angry Americans sent Roosevelt thousands of letters and telegrams about the breach of tradition and their disrupted schedules. An anguished calendar maker from Salem, Ohio wrote in a letter to the White House that the decision would cause “untold grief” in the industry since 1939 calendars and many 1940 calendars had already been printed. Just as the White House had predicted, football schedules were scrambled, leading some coaches to vow to vote Republican.

Things quickly became partisan. Several states ignored the presidential proclamation due to tradition or convenience, and others ignored it to snub Roosevelt, a Democrat. This muddled schedules even more. A girl in a New York boarding school wrote to Roosevelt on October 18 that her home state, Republican-governed Connecticut, was celebrating Thanksgiving on a later date, making it impossible to go home for the holiday.

In 1939, 22 states celebrated Thanksgiving on the new date, and 23 on the old. But Texas, Colorado, and Mississippi took the best approach: They celebrated Thanksgiving on both dates. Many Americans did the same. In New York City, which celebrated the earlier date, restaurants offered turkey dinners on the “old” Thanksgiving date, too.

Journalists and politicians invented names to mark the confusion. The mayor of Atlantic City called the new date “Franksgiving,” which stuck. Others used the moniker “Democratic Thanksgiving” or “New Deal Thanksgiving,” describing it as another example of the president inappropriately flexing his executive powers.

People were still confused a year later. In 1940, a restaurant sent a telegram to the White House: “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR REELECTION. WHEN SHALL WE SERVE OUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY 21ST? OR 28TH?” Only 32 states ultimately celebrated the new Thanksgiving date. After a survey of 200 stores depicted no real economic benefit, Roosevelt announced that 1942’s Thanksgiving would be held on the original, traditional date.

The president seemed to find his failed Franksgiving experiment funny. The New York Times reported that he seemed lighthearted at the press conference, which was supposed to be about wartime foreign policy. But Congress was less jolly. In October of 1941, the House passed a resolution to make Thanksgiving a public holiday, celebrated on the last Thursday of November regardless of a presidential proclamation.

Here we are more than 70 years later and again political divide and food scarcity is now threatening to shut down the Holiday again.

One in four Americans plans to skip celebrating Thanksgiving this year, according to a new survey by Personal Capital. High turkey prices — coupled with inflation and job loss — may be the root of the cause.

People are just not into it anymore. Many people have disinvited friends and family because of political reasons, and of course, the pandemic divided families as well.

Turkey prices skyrocketed following the height of the pandemic. The ongoing spread of the avian bird flu is also affecting prices for the main course of the Thanksgiving meal.

The price per pound of an 8 to 16-pound turkey is almost $2. Current prices are up $1.15 from last year, now starting at $1.99 per pound, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Production to raise turkeys has also increased over time. Turkey feed prices increased more than 10% from August 2021 to August 2022, according to USDA data.

CNBC reported that the bird flu usually strikes during the colder months, spreading across livestock. This year, however, commercial turkey producers reported cases in July, when most farmers are preparing for the holiday season.

If you remember to control the spread, farmers killed entire flocks, usually containing 15,000 birds.

Now, some are left questioning the true meaning of the holidays. Is it solely the food that brings everyone together, or have recent economic downturns changed how Americans prioritize what matters most during the season of gratitude?

The survey noted that more than a quarter of Americans won’t be able to afford more than $100 on the holiday, and one in five doubt they’ll be able to cover the costs associated with Turkey Day festivities.

We used to max out credit cards for Christmas — now we have to add thanksgiving to our budget — and that is the limit.

With grocery prices increasing, many Americans are shifting their consumer spending habits and foregoing some holiday staples.

To prioritize family favorites, respondents said they’ll cut cranberry sauce (23%), Mac and cheese (22%), broccoli (22%), yams (20%), and cornbread (22%).

Turkey (36%), gravy (35%), mashed potatoes (31%) and stuffing 31%) remain among the top 12 dishes on the menu this year.

While 74% of people still plan to celebrate in some way this year, nine in 10 planned a celebration last year, according to a 2021 IPSOS survey.

Smaller gatherings with fewer dishes will encompass this Thanksgiving holiday. 52% of hosts will be asking guests to help out with making dishes or bringing items, and at least 42% will be requesting their guests to chip in for expenses, according to a recent study.

Inflation has changed the way most Americans plan for the holidays, forcing consumers to stretch hard-earned cash in order to celebrate.

To prepare and save month this season, surveyed Americans say they’ll pay closer attention to deals (38%), use coupons (36%), start their shopping early (36%), and do more comparison shopping (32%). Also included as top ways to save include buying items in bulk (31%), forgoing traveling (28%), and buying a smaller turkey (28%).

Overall, 45% of Americans feel financially stressed by Thanksgiving this year. Fifty-four percent of respondents identified as Gen Z, with 51% being Millennials, 33% being Gen X, and 39% being Baby boomers.

In fact, for the first time it is now cheaper to eat out for thanksgiving than dining at home.

While there are various humbugs that hate Christmas — Thanksgiving hate has taken over.

Most of the reason people hate the holiday is not for emotional reasons — but for intellectual and political reasons.

Liberals are now reiterating their disdain for a Holiday that they believe celebrates genocidal colonialism. To them, Thanksgiving is one way the dominant culture minimizes or denies the larger historical context of Europeans’ genocidal campaign against indigenous people to acquire the land base of the United States. Without that genocide, there is no United States. For the victors’ descendants to take a day off to give thanks without acknowledging that to them seems, just a bit sociopathic.

Although I have always argued that Thanksgiving isn’t a celebration it is an observance of plenty and the thanks you give for what God has provided for the year — in fact, that was the spirit of the first Thanksgiving. All that ugly genocide business happened after the observance of not starving another year.

But now people are starving, some can’t afford a Thanksgiving and so the purpose of celebrating a bountiful harvest seems hollow this year.

You can say that it is another political mess — because of how the current administration is handing money to Ukraine while Americans are starving, unable to fill their cars with gas, and can’t even buy a turkey.

Wow — the more things change the more they stay the same — another war we seem to be in the middle of during a holiday that once again is being rendered extinct by political division.

Many people loved the Holiday until we were forced into looking at it with a jaundiced political critique.

We have vegetarians who demand that people eat Tofurky — we have a Frankenstein mess of a bird called a Turducken. We have dysfunctional families. We have nerdy kids that prefer video games over football games.

Thanksgiving also signals the beginning of the pathological consumption cycle known as “Christmas shopping.” Christmas music already loses its appeal as radio stations think that it is okay to start their Christmas playlist before we even throw away our jack-o-lanterns — and the only reason they do this is because of dollar signs. People apparently love to get the season started before thanksgiving.

I just become surly and bitter — Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year — which makes its appeal a little less than a tooth extraction.

I guess there are a lot of rational reasons why Thanksgiving is losing its appeal.

People don’t really have a problem with gathering friends and family — it all boils down to the larger political context. It is all about discussing the latest carnage from the war effort and comparing it to what we did or did not do to the indigenous people, then comes the talk of white privilege, systemic racism, black lives matter — and on and on and on.

It is a holiday defined by obligatory family gatherings that often cover up unresolved strife and/or apathy; thoughtless overeating simply because so much food is available; spectacle sports that are part of Bread and circus contests; and relentless consumption that often involves buying stuff that many people don’t really want and no one really needs.

Now that food is expensive and scarce — what is left?

Football.

We already have Superbowl Sunday.

We are now learning that the New Normal is cold and unforgiving. With Covid-19 we have gotten into the habit of not caring about family gatherings or going to church.

We have been chided by those who preach Green Sustainability that we eat too much cheap food, are spectators to too much cheap entertainment, and buy too much stuff.

Now it is becoming harder to do that.

While many people believe that Thanksgiving is a denial of the reality that we are warlike — the new reality in the new normal is that we are poor and in the middle of a famine.

Poor in spirit stuck in a famine of knowledge.

Thanksgiving raises relevant questions about our family relationships and culture that also demand honest accounting.

If we can’t deal honestly with these problems, it’s unlikely that we will have much to give thanks for in the years to come.

Thanksgiving will eventually go away — but as history shows us, it has come and gone because war and political divide. Now we can add poverty to the list of reasons why it is barely hanging on as a holiday.

But now while you still plan whatever is left of the holiday, We can think hard about how in our meals as in our lives, we can taste bitter and savor the sweet: the bitter pill of historical truth, the sweetness of our human ideals; the sorrow of our losses, privations, sufferings, the solace of our connectedness and humanity; the awareness that truth, and justice and gratitude are not incompatible.

We can embrace complexity, hold political contradiction, and see the totality in its numinous beauty and heart-breaking despair: the better to act with tenderness, compassion, and courage, the better to ease suffering without turning away; the better to seek out, and nourish the small but sturdy roots of justice growing among the strewn graves and battlefields of empire, domination, and chaos.

Give thanks for what you love, treasure those you love, but above all, give your thanks and blessings to those who suffer, struggle, and fight so that some of us have the abundance to count our blessings. And after you have given thanks, remember your duty to resist, struggle, accompany, and fight, so that you can continue to have something to be thankful for.

 

Written by Ron Patton

Comments

This post currently has 5 comments.

  1. joe

    November 19, 2022 at 12:02 am

    LOOK AT THE PUZZLE like Clyde ,,!!!! NANCY DWI PAUL hammer time, ties to FTX too Ukraine back door money funnel to democrats ties too Jimmy Itto ties to M.I.T . too Tether too Bitcoin too Pierce & Hillary Russia hoax. IT TIES TO HUNTER JEFF EPSTEIN G MAXWELL. too Biden too BLM N Antifa to G.FLOYD.

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