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Thanksgiving and now

Today is the fourth Thursday of November and thus the Thanksgiving holiday in the US of A. I’m not sure how much modern Americans tend to look back at the roots of the celebration but, as I saw one wit observing on Facebook earlier this week, it marks a relatively rare (unique?) sequence in history, when a wave of immigrants decimated the host culture and took over the land!

I know it isn’t quite a simple as that – it would be fascinating to read a serious account that explores that in more depth – but it creates an interesting mirror to our own times. The ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ were fleeing ongoing persecution from their home state (oh, yes, that was Britain – no historical ‘holier than thou’ allowed from this side of the pond) and were looking for a place where they could live in peace but it ended up not turning out so well for the people who’d been there for a long time already.

I wonder if anti-immigrant talk in nations is partly prompted by unacknowledged societal guilt over past sins? Britain, for example, had its inglorious Empire, which brought some benefits and much oppression on such a scale that the Sun never set on it. Or maybe even that theory of group memory is a blanket to cover over the truth that most of us know that we could wander only half-blind into seeking the continued increase of our own perceived good at cost to others? That includes anyone who has ever had cause to boast about getting a bargain because the seller didn’t know what they were giving away or rejoiced in making a profit because someone else was willing to pay the optimistic asking price.

Points to ponder, whether or not this is your annual celebration of roast turkey and pumpkin pie.

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