I think Americans should ponder the following. This holiday is to celebrate the harvest—gathering of the crops—and presumably to reflect upon the Pilgrim capacity to extract bounty from the land in 1621. But like March 19, 2003, those that arrived in New England were invaders, not explorers, but invaders that were determined to take and secure Native American land for themselves.
This began the great American settlement. Like Israel, our nation was born from divesting and displacing other indigenous peoples. We are not alone in this phenomenon but it is nonetheless telling. Our Thanksgiving is really a celebration of American genocide and slavery: First the indigenous peoples were slaughtered in planned, purposeful genocide. Then the white settlers, too lazy to work the land for themselves, imported million of slaves from Africa to do their work. The bounty of this nation was to a significant extent the result of forced labour either by American chattel slavery or the result of indentured servitude in which Europeans were chained to the land in a state of actual peonage for many years.
Let us also note today, that it is arrogant for us to celebrate Thanksgiving’s abundance when the numbers of Americans in poverty are growing dramatically.
Thanksgiving?? 12.7% live in poverty.
Thanksgiving?? 37 million live in poverty which is an increase by more than a million from 2003.
Thanksgiving?? 45.8 million have no health insurance.
Thanksgiving?? African Americans who built this country or certainly substantial parts of it with uncompensated labour, have the lowest median income in the U.S.
Thanksgiving?? We are burning and killing babies and other innocents throughout the world with our bombs, lack of foreign aid and please recall the genocidal sanctions that were perpetrated against Iraq.
Thanksgiving?? President Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, was asked on 60 Minutes on May 10, 1996 whether the 500,000 babies/children that the U.S. had killed in its sanctions against Iraq, following the Gulf War, was an appropriate policy. Without challenging the figure, Secretary Albright stated:
“We think the price is worth it.”
Thanksgiving?? No, too many have died and been harmed for the benefit of a few Americans in a world hungry, tired and torn.