Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Month of Murder

Happy Thanksgiving week! Would that November were not such a bloody month. This past week cable television aired programs about the Jonestown tragedy 32 years ago and the assassination of JFK 47 years ago. One also thinks of more ominous events like Hitler’s Munich putsch of 1923 or Kristallnacht fifteen years later. It’s amazing that people get out in the brisk air to do their killing. Unfortunately, I am always reminded of the Sand Creek massacre when, on a peaceful November morning in 1864, a cavalry unit charged into an encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho to kill and rape women, children and elderly men. Back in 1888 Jack the Ripper saved his most atrocious murder in the Whitechapel district for November. Though the movie doesn’t specify the date, I bet it was in this month when the young Anakin Skywalker wiped out an entire village of Tusken Raiders. So you can see, based on this exhaustive survey of history, the ninth month of the Julian calendar is rather grim. I ask you, what does the Turkey have to be thankful for? Finally, those pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation who survived starvation and disease in 1621 for the first Thanksgiving dinner were lucky to be alive—only they, or their descendents, had the privilege to kill native peoples another day.

Let us not dwell on such dreary facts, however. We have reason as a people to be thankful. While you’re listening to Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams in the car or at the fireplace, as you’re curling up on the couch with a Orhan Pamuk novel and enjoying a mug of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and Godiva chocolate shavings, while you’re surreptitiously and painstakingly transporting the candied yams on your plate into your purse (or Ziploc bags for guys) so as not to insult your dinner host, indeed as you atone for your tabletop sins on the treadmill at the gym over the weekend for having nudged your snout in the trough in wild abandon and felt pangs of guilt, and as you claw your way to the sales counter at JCPenney on Black Friday knocking down rival consumers and passers-by in a mad dash for that turtle-neck sweater or perhaps those peach-colored capris that you know in your heart of heart are at least one size too small in the waist, remember that we live in one of the greatest nations in the world. Our history is like an ever-blooming flower, as we fully realize the consequences of our Constitution and yield slowly, but most assuredly, not only to tolerance but freedom for all citizens, regardless of race, creed, or body odor. Republica Reformanda—our country is in a perpetual state of reformation, and there’s been nothing like it in world history. So during this harvest time let your cornucopia overflow with love and gratitude, as well as with the obligatory fruit, vegetables, gourds, walnuts, and leaves. And remember, ixnay on the eetsway otatoespay.