Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m having trouble giving thanks.
It’s not that I don’t have things to be thankful for. I do. My friends, my family, my job, my waking up this morning, etc.
Still, it’s hard this year to celebrate this particularly American holiday, because it’s hard to be American right now.
Thanksgiving is always difficult, politically. The shadow of what the settlers and the American government have done to the people who shared the first feast hangs over us, especially this year, as our government stands against Standing Rock.
Thanksgiving creates political problems in another way–as we overeat in the company of those who have just voted in ways we find just plain silly or downright evil.
And today I think back to how Thanksgiving in its modern form came to be.
After the Civil War, the country was divided. A woman wrote to President Lincoln, suggesting that we have a national day of Thanksgiving–an American holiday–to bring us together.
It worked, for a while, for some.
We’ve been divided for quite a while. It’s hard to remember that we didn’t say “red state” or “blue state” in the 20th century. It’s hard to remember that the American flag used to belong to all of us. In the early 2000s, it became synonymous with Republicans. Even under Obama’s leadership, when I was feeling very American, it would have felt weird to fly a flag. I would have been worried that it would signal that I was conservative.
It pisses me off that they somehow took the flag.
So today I need to be really clear about what I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful that, through fate alone, I was born here and now.
I’m thankful that more Americans voted for Hillary than for a demagogue.
I’m thankful that the vast majority of this nation is not on his team.
I’m thankful that the vast majority isn’t trying to drag the rest of us back to the fifties. The vast majority believes in equal rights, in women’s right to work, in women’s right to say no, in women’s rights to be on juries and to direct juries from the bench, in non-christians’ rights not to be forced to pray in school, in religious freedom to practice religion (while not demonizing people who pray differently or who have different sexual desires and identities), in the fact that black lives matter to, in fighting white supremacy.
We are not the silent majority.
We are the loud as fuck majority.
They want to go back in the past.
We are moving to the future.
This is #21stcAmerica.