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Thanksgiving? National Day of Mourning?

By Billy | November 17, 2010

I like the idea of a national day of giving thanks.  I also like the idea of a national day of mourning.  I even like these two being celebrated on the same day, even by the same people.  While on a conference call this week whose purpose was to organize a Mountain Justice alternative spring break camp, someone mentioned that next week is Thanksgiving and/or National Day of Mourning depending on what people identify with.  As I received it, the two days seemed completely opposing one another.  Either you are pro-Thanks or you are Pro-Mourning.  You are either an “American” today, or you are the only group of people who can rightfully call themselves American, i.e. indigenous Americans.

The binary-ism fronted in this battle of days is exactly the same binary-ism that caused the confrontation in the first place.  Us Versus Them.  The Otherization of “things.”  I understand the victimized position that The National Day of Mourning has come out of.  If you don’t see that point of view, consider that the racism towards indigenous American people created the worst case of genocide on the planet.  That is, indeed, something to mourn about.

On top of all that, the “Thanksgiving Day” that we all look so forward to has been blown out of proportion several times over, mythicized, and pack up into neat little sterile packages.  Nonetheless, TurkeyDay is an American Tradition, right?  You must eat more than your belly wants, you must be nice to people your loved ones are related to, you must be happy, and you must watch American Football.

Hm.  This year, in my own world, I will be celebrating a national day of Appreciation.  When an appraiser appreciates something, they take note of the good and the bad.  They evaluate it.  That’s what it is to appreciate something.  This Thanksgiving day, when you eat that factory farmed, hormone injected, never-seen-the-light-of-day bird.  The one who was murdered without a care for your taste buds, but more for your sense of accomplishment when you have a “successful thanksgiving.”  There are a zillion and a half things going into that dinner.  As you eat, you are consuming the efforts of every human, animal, event, chemical, intention, and the quantum opposite of what actually happened.  You can’t separate your dinner from the person who cooked it, right?  Can you separate your dinner from the person who shipped the turkey to the store?  The person who scanned the turkery’s price at checkout? the person who murdered the bird? the bird that lay the egg that turned into your dinner?  You are eating the entire universe in that dinner.  Try to appreciate that.  And with that, you will be consuming the tears and blood of Americans slaughtered because of their non-Anglo-Saxon nature.  You are consuming the biological warfare our ancestors waged.  You are consuming every moment that lead up to this current one.

As such, you should rightfully be thankful.  The minute workings of gravity could be 1% different and the big bang would not have happened as it had, this planet would not exist as it does, and your football certainly wouldn’t be flying the way it is through that sky.  You should be thankful that the nuclear forces allow water to freeze in its crystal lattice structure so that ice floats, because otherwise the planet would freeze solid during the winter, and not thaw by summer.  Be thankful that the electromagnetic forces as just so, because any variation on these would have made your Walmart bought Electric Deep Fryer malfunction at cosmic proportions, and you could never enjoy the taste of fried turkey.

The same forces that make ice float, hearts beat, and music sound are the forces that make nukes fall, bombs explode, and bullets hiss.  Yes, European colonialism was despicable.  Yes, Thanksgiving dinner is tasty.  You can’t have one without the other, so the best thing to do about it now is to accept the past and change your present so you can enjoy your future.

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