“We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great.” – Andrew Cuomo
Prior to the United States, men were largely ruled by monarchs and despots. Since the inception of the United States, capitalism and open trade have brought 91% of the world out of extreme poverty. Slavery has largely ended globally. Women and minorities have achieved universal rights across the developed world. Western ideals enabled this.
For some reason, the American Left chooses to look to the worst of history and relitigate society through a lens of the worst of history’s transgressions. Not content with the unmatched progress we’ve made, they intend to reverse course and start over. Like those children’s novels, Choose Your Own Adventure, they don’t like the decidedly non-Communist outcome and wish to return to point A and try again. It’s a pandemic of first-world privilege.
One of the more noxious examples of this is the left’s treatment of unifying American celebrations. On holidays they practice a policy of “If it brings joy, we must destroy!” No celebration is safe from these leftist Debbie Downers. Christmas? Bah humbug! Jesus was born in the Spring, and they stole that holiday from the Pagans anyway. Columbus Day? Italian Oppressor! Independence Day? America was never great. I’m sure these ideologues are a real treat at family gatherings.
Recently, local columnist Mike Murphy penned a column relegating Thanksgiving to a celebration of debauchery and theft. In this version, evil white colonists who drank a gallon of beer a day each robbed the food stores of the local natives to satiate their gluttonous appetites. On this subject, he’s happy to quote activist and descendant Wamsutta Frank James some 400 years after the fact. On the menu, he inaccurately references the official account of contemporary historian Edward Winslow, who penned the official version of Thanksgiving that children are taught in schools today.
According to Murphy, there was no invitation and the natives intruded on the colonists out of self-preservation. Turkey and pie were never on the menu and they didn’t like each other. According to Winslow, what we know as Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration, instituted by Governor William Bradford in celebration of a plentiful harvest. Native translator Squanto taught the colonists self-sustenance and introduced them to the Wampanoag people that would form a 50 years friendship between the natives and colonists. And the turkey was the reason for the season. I quote:
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week.”
Mr. Murphy goes on to suggest that his version of history is correct, and what the kids are taught is false and this false teaching is what parents are fighting to keep in the classrooms. This thesis is incorrect. In the left’s attempt to rewrite history in defense of Critical Theory, they get it woefully wrong. The problem that parents have with Critical Theory isn’t broad teaching of history, nuance, or consideration for multiple points of view. The problem that parents have is the assigning of postmodern spin to historical events with the intent of framing a child’s perspective through a lens of hate, division, and misery for modern political gain.
For example, under this postmodern worldview of critical theory, Christopher Columbus intentionally sought out new people groups to oppress, murder, rape, and enslave, and thus America is irredeemably racist and must be made over. Columbus’ actual worldview was framed through the lens of the Catholic Church and the Great Commission. Pope Pius IX accepted the canonization of Columbus as the man who brought Christianity to North America, though this never came to fruition. He was a deeply religious man and racism in this instance is a modern construct.
Most of the Mayflower colonists were church separatists and had a devoted faith that drove them to seek out religious freedom. After a year of sickness, famine, and starvation, God saw fit to provide them with the sustenance and relationships they would need to thrive in a new world. Recognizing this, they set aside time to give thanks to God, and that is what we celebrate today. This Thanksgiving, let’s take the opportunity to slow down and show gratitude for the Lord’s provision, even if it’s with a slice of historically inaccurate pie.