Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. I was going to muse on why we still celebrate this holiday–a holiday that continues to glamorize Native American genocide, food waste, shopping for shit we don’t need, and canned cream of mushroom soup. I’ve posted about being tired of the tremendous amount of work to prepare and cook for this holiday for the past few years. I’ve said how much I used to love this day, but haven’t in a while. Yes, every year I swear never again, and yet here I am, one eye on the clock because the shelves in my fridge are warping under the weight of foods waiting to be cooked.
I was going to muse about what America means. President Obama tells us these hideous pronouncements of wall building and turning our backs on refugees aren’t what we stand for. I like Obama, I like what he stands for, and I agree that it shouldn’t be. But let’s be honest, America has a long history of fighting to reject immigrants and refugees, an even longer history of racism.
If you are someone who believes “freedom of religion” includes all religions, if you believe “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” is still valid today, this is an exhausting and often disheartening time. I still hear people moaning that only English should be spoken in America. Sigh. English is the language of the US, and it doesn’t take a damned thing away from anyone when other languages are also spoken. Not only doesn’t it take anything away, it’s a bonus. “Global community” isn’t just a phrase for Facebook and college admissions essays.
The thing is, sappy as it might sound, I still love the idea of Thanksgiving. The sentiment of it, anyway. I like the idea of a day to stop and pay attention to the privilege of enough to eat, having people in our lives whom we love and love us. Should having enough to eat be a privilege? I don’t think so, but it is. I know it is when I look at the photos of the Syrian refugee camps. I know it is when I walk down the streets and through the subways, seeing those who are homeless and hungry. My children have attended schools with classmates who live in mansions, brownstones, projects, and shelters. When you know this, when you know the kiddo waiting for their turn with the brown crayon right next to your kiddo, sharing Saltines and apple juice with your kiddo, isn’t going home to a full table, it isn’t theoretical. Yes, yes, we should all give thanks every day for what we have, but really, many of us don’t.
I’m not going to post a million Thanksgiving food pictures. Have faith, Fringelings, my cranberries are glistening in their zinfandel bath and the skin on my pernìl is crisped just so. I will post a few pics from the past weeks that make me smile, and hope they do the same for you.
Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate, and if not, happy Thursday.