The assault on Thanksgiving

The assault on the Thanksgiving holiday is only part of a wider war on traditional American values.

It is time to celebrate Thanksgiving.  That means it’s time for another assault on a traditional American holiday. All countries have their national holidays and national heroes.  All of these holidays have inaccuracies: some large and some small.  National heroes, being human, have their imperfections.  However, national holidays and heroes are factors that unite and inspire a people. 

According to William Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chair of the anthropology department of the University of Connecticut, Thanksgiving was not a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims giving thanks to God, but a celebration of the massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children.  According to Newell, Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts proclaimed following the massacre, "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots."  Newell may, or may not be correct.  Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the United States since 1863 when it was declared a national Day of Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln.  That is the same Abraham Lincoln whose name was discarded by an elementary school renamed for Malcolm X in the 1970s.

An elementary school principal in Massachusetts has banned all fall holidays, saying they are insensitive.  Anne Foley, the principal at Kennedy School in Somerville, Mass., sent an email to teachers warning them about celebrating Thanksgiving.  Foley wrote, "When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples.  We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well."

The indoctrination begins early.  In Tampa, Florida Jeffrey Kolowith teaches his kindergarten students that Christopher Columbus was "very, very mean, very bossy."  James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs at the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development, claims "You don't hear people using the world 'discovery' anymore like they used to. 'Columbus discovers America.' Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?"  This process continues through college.  The late Professor Noel Ignatiev, a tenured professor at Massachusetts College, claimed "Columbus Day, whites literally celebrate the genocide of non-whites, delighting in it. Thanksgiving Day. Whites honour the Pilgrims who gave Native Americans blankets deliberately infected with small pox to kill their babies. Yeah, it is about being thankful, thankful that whites butchered most Native Americans so they could steal their land and establish a racist society based on white male privilege! Christmas is also racist."

Czech writer Milan Kundera wrote in his book, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: “The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory.  Destroy its books, its culture, its history.  Then have someone write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history.  Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.”  This attack on traditional holidays is only one front in the war against the West.  The attach on traditional holidays has made steady progress.  Several states that have renamed Columbus Day to honor indigenous peoples.  Recently Gavin Newsom proclaimed Monday as Indigenous Peoples' Day in California.

The United States is in transition.  This is former President Obama's 'fundamental transformation' of America.  Statues are being removed.  Place names are being changed.  Historical figures who have not lived up to modern social standards are to be condemned.  Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims are now considered anathema.  Is George Washington far behind?  Will we be changing to name of the nation's capital?

Phto credit: Robbt

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing).  He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University.  He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

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