We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving. Recent immigrants to the New World, the pilgrims were struggling to establish a fruitful village and grow a bountiful harvest. And so every year on Thanksgiving, we commemorate the coming together of the Native Americans who generously offered to share their harvest with the Pilgrims.
And then our European ancestors slaughtered the Natives, introduced smallpox and eventually drove them to live on reservations. History lessons often end the story when the pumpkin pie is being passed between Squanto and the pilgrims and leave it at that.
Fast forward. We find ourselves at an interesting place this Thanksgiving 2016. We’re exhausted from the election cycle which still feels like it hasn’t ended, we’re fearful of the state of the world — specifically the political and ideological divide among our friends and neighbors — and may even feel overwhelmed at the idea of moving forward when for so many, the future seems so uncertain.
Maybe you’re looking forward to getting away from that this Thursday. Turning on football, having an extra slice of pie and spending quality time with family and friends. Others are worried about the inevitable political confrontations that are often unavoidable around the Thanksgiving table.
The truth is, the first Thanksgiving feels so pertinent to us this year, because like our ancestors, we’re on the brink of what feels like a new era. Thanksgiving has always been political. While we aren’t literally forming a new country, the ideals and policies we embrace going forward have the potential to significantly re-shape our identity as Americans.
After an election that saw our two political parties infiltrated by two of the most unpopular candidates in the history of the United States, and the changes to the Supreme Court on the horizon, it has never been more crucial to come together — as fragmented and separated as we might feel — and reflect as a nation where we want to go from here. We can’t literally sit down and dine together, but let us remember that as in the past, our differences are what formed us. Remember that.
For a nation founded on political and religious freedom from tyranny and oppression, our first act as a collective unit was to bring destruction to the Native Americans. This was shortly followed by the introduction of slavery. Once again we’re at a new beginning for this nation; let’s make sure bigotry isn’t written into our history this time.
So hug your family and friends a little tighter this holiday. Be mindful of what it is you want to fight for going forward. And be thankful for those around you who make your ideals worth fighting for.
Disclaimer: The political views expressed in this article do not necessarily express the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.