Giving Thanks

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for – annually, not oftener – if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.” -Mark Twain


Thanksgiving Day: based on a historical lie, made an official State holiday by Abraham Lincoln and his handler, Secretary of State William H. Seward, pressed into corporate service by industrial agribusiness and the food products industry, adopted by the religious right to prop up the myth of American theocracy: a truly American celebration.

Since we Americans cannot be encouraged to be thankful each and every day, to open our hearts and our homes to family and friends throughout the year (it might discourage individual consumption), we have set aside this special day (and four day weekend) for a celebration of conspicuous consumption, gluttony, animal cruelty, violent entertainment and sloth.

The colorful panoply enacted every year in schools and churches across America repeats the lie of Pilgrim generosity to the Indian inhabitants of the new land the Pilgrims called home. In reality, the Pilgrims slaughtered the natives most cruelly, drove them from their homes and fields, took over their farm lands and infected them with diseases for which they had no natural immunities.

In the fifty years from 1621 to 1671, the Native population of the northeastern coast of North American was decimated by as much as 90%, through a combination of disease and massacre brought to these shores by European invaders. The Europeans would not have survived their first winter in the New World without food and shelter provided by the local Natives, yet the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving was given in thanks that the natives were rapidly dying out, leaving more land and provender for the new inhabitants.

Today, as the United States government – their government, not my government – continues to kill local innocent men, women and children in far off lands, its seems proper to gather together to celebrate our “good fortune,” to give thanks that our skin is pale, that we live in America and not in some hot and dusty place underlain by crude oil, that we are blessed with the approval of a white bearded, light-skinned god in flowing robes, not some foreign-tongued god of uncertain visage.

We give thanks that the oil we kill for flows freely in our own country, providing fuel for trucks to carry the dead carcasses of tortured animals to nearby markets, to serve our gluttonous feasts.

We give thanks that our economy is strong, propped up securely by giant corporations that manufacture bullets, bombs, missiles, tanks, airplanes and ships that destroy those who resist American imperialism and global totalitarianism.

Many remember those husbands and sons, wives and daughters who have been sent to die for the cause of American business interests, and those whose families are yet intact give thanks that their loved ones have yet to be sacrificed on the killing fields.

Our Thanksgiving today celebrates the defeat and decimation of the Native people of other lands as our modern American Pilgrims set their sights on a new frontier. Pilgrim’s Progress consists of denying everyone else the freedoms America professes to defend, to the point of killing anyone who dares to defend their own homes.

American Thanksgiving continues the tradition of our forefathers, giving thanks for 384 years of death and destruction visited on the human and animal inhabitants of this planet.

The twin prospects of Peak Oil and global climate change will once and for all put an end to this insane human society based on greed, avarice and unlimited growth. On this Thanksgiving, I give thanks that Nature bats last and is ultimately just.

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Imigration and Living in Place

The Grand Panoply on the National Scene continues apace, thus once again proving the basic principle that ignorance abhors a vacuum. We’re doing our part on Tuesday, working at our local election poll, holding high the banner of Democracy, such as it is these days. We’re having a special election in California, in which our Acting Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, attempts to change the state color from blue to red, through subterfuge, sleight of lip and sharp practice. We’re hoping for the best, while expecting the worst. Peak oil dare not rear its head in this, the visionary state.

We have a continuing problem with our Latin American neighbors to the south, temporarily relocated to local agricultural fields, there to provide cheap labor for Agribusiness, The Global Economy, Progress, if that’s what it is. Arnold’s solution is to give them drivers licenses, whether they are citizens or not, so they can drive their paychecks back to Mexico instead of having to pay 37 cents for postage. That won’t do anything to stop the gang violence, the graffiti, the boom-box low riders, or help the non-English speaking service workers, or those of us who have to deal with workers who can’t speak the dominant language of this country.

Insensitive? Insufficiently liberal? Callous? Racist? Guilty to all but the latter! I’m tired of living in a foreign country within the borders of the United States! If people want to live in this country, become citizens, enjoy the privileges of membership in this institution called the United States of America, then they should expect to become a full member of the community, speak the language, adopt the culture, become a member of the community, not drag their own culture around with them like a Halloween disguise. Permanently moving from the culture of one’s birth to another culture is a traumatic experience and should not be taken lightly.

My ancestors moved to the United States from Wales, from England, from Switzerland, from France. They left their mother culture and mother tongues behind, become a part of the local culture, spoke English, even changed their names to better fit in with the locals. They didn’t move into a neighborhood and start playing their music at a bazillion decibels and expect the neighbors to get used to it! They respected the local culture, adopted local customs and became contributing members of the local community.

Seems like a lesson that could be taken by our own lost youth, immersed in a foreign culture of rap music, serial cell phone conversations, ground penetrating car stereo systems, impenetrable speech affectations, meaningless TeeVee culture. How can they learn to live in place, when their place is an electronic void?

Culture is how we humans teach our children how to live in place. When the children’s culture comes from the TeeVee instead of their elders, the children can never learn how to be a human being in the place where they live. They learn to become dysfunctional human simulacra, pretend humans, out of place, suspended in time, forever held in stasis among wildly hissing electrons.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate