Here in the united States, we’re experiencing that annual celebration of gluttony and sloth known, ironically, as Thanksgiving. It’s a pseudo-religious holiday of mixed messages, as most uS holidays have become: the turkey, the funny hats, the buckled shoes, American football, the quaint, historically misplaced Indian costumes, the Rockwellesque, Christian nuclear family praying around the groaning dinner table, the mythic story of the birth of a new British colony that eventually became us, or more accurately, those of us who won.
We are told this is a time to give thanks for all that we enjoy. According to George W. Bush, the Current Resident, “So on Thanksgiving Day, we gather with loved ones and we lift our hearts toward heaven in humility and gratitude. … We love our country, and the greatest example of that devotion is the citizen who steps forward to defend our nation from harm. Members of our military have set aside their own comfort and convenience and safety to protect the rest of us. Their courage keeps us free. Their sacrifice makes us grateful, and their character makes us proud. Especially during the holidays our whole nation keeps them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”
“…lift our hearts toward heaven in humility and gratitude,” of course, is fundamentalist-speak for thanking a Christian God in a particular prescribed way, as opposed to all the others in this country who do not believe in a Christian God, or any god at all, for that matter. I guess we’re left out of this ceremony.
We do love our country, at least our own particular part of our country that we know and care for. This does not necessarily mean that we love our government, however, including the Oval One. Quite the contrary. When the government works against the best interests of the country and the people who live in it, we are free to oppose the government and seek its removal and replacement. We are guaranteed this course of action in our own founding documents.
As to the military, they are the defenders of the governmental status quo. The military does not defend the nation or “the rest of us.” In fact, they place the nation, and the rest of us, in harm’s way. The military has always defended the interests of business and industry, and those rich elites who profit from the exportation of violence and terrorism. The military did not defend the people working in the World Trade Center; in fact, they turned the other way and helped the privileged bin Laden family members escape the united States rather than face harsh questions about the nationality and allegiance of the airplane hijackers.
The people of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan do not seek to harm the people of the united States. They only defend their own nation from invasion and occupation by foreign soldiers who have come to their countries to kill and maim them in the hundreds of thousands. They don’t know why, but they suspect, and rightly so, that it has something to do with all that oil lying about just beneath their hallowed ground.
This country, this united States, was founded on genocide, theft, slavery and exploitation. We are now called to publicly thank the military arm of the government of this country for continuing this proud tradition in lands far away, against people with different skin color, religious beliefs and cultural traditions, to kill them, to destroy their homes, to murder and terrorize their children, to force them to be quiescent, loyal subjects of the American Empire.
On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Peak Oil and global climate change, and I pray that they will quickly bring an end to the abomination of the united States government and “Western Civilization,” and allow the rest of us to return to a life in harmony with all life in our own bioregions and throughout this beautiful and harmonious Earth.