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THANKSGIVING ALTERNATIVE FACTS

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, NOV. 20, 2018

THANKSGIVING ALTERNATIVE FACTS
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Not all that much is known about the first Thanksgiving Day, so we can only speculate about what really happened. What we do know is that the feast probably wasn't eaten in November, but was most likely a party to celebrate the fall harvest, which would mean it probably took place in late September and lasted about three days.
Then, as now, we can surmise that late September was the start of the retailer's Yuletide marketing season, and we can assume that the three days included the actual Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. Then there was Black Friday, so named because retailers count on the shopping rush on that day to see their ledger sheets for the year go into the black. So the colonists traipsed on down to the Walmart Plymouth Rock to get the great doorbuster deals. Saturday, of course, was Cyber Saturday. Or was it Monday? The exact day is lost in history. That plus the fact that Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet.


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The pilgrims were giving thanks and were joined by the Indian tribes that were here first and had made them feel welcome. There was none of that nativist talk describing the Mayflower as part of a "caravan" menacing those who were already here. None of their leaders bellowing "build the wall!" to protect this country from those gang members and rapists who surely were with them, simply because they were outsiders or had different-color skin or talked a different language or were just, well, different. None of that, possibly because there was no country.
Comedian Stan Freberg once suggested that the menu was supposed to include stuffed eagle, and that the turkey was supposed to be the decorative centerpiece. But someone messed up, and the rest is history, as told by Stan Freberg.
It's doubtful that anybody gets bent out of shape by that bit of Freberg humor, although the superpatriots a generation ago were incensed. However, ultraconservatives of this era have moved on. An issue that consumes them these days is immigration, amazingly enough. Interesting that it wasn't such a preoccupation nearly 400 years ago, but we've badly regressed since. Back then, the colonists -- those first "huddled masses yearning to be free" -- were welcomed by the hometowners.
These days, newcomers are decidedly unwelcome, at least by haters. Look no further than their chief instigator Donald Trump. (I'll let you insert your own turkey jokes here. I won't do it. This is a high-class operation.) Every chance he gets, he gobbles (sorry, I couldn't help myself) about the "invasion" of "rapists," "murderers" and "drug dealers" marching to our borders, threatening the way of life for America. No Statue of Liberty for them, particularly if they come from "sh-thole" countries. We've replaced many of our traditions.
Who could have possibly imagined that we'd develop such a mercenary near-holiday as Black Friday. Who could have conceived that the welcome for the Europeans back then would degenerate into the tribalism we witness today? "Tribalism" in modern times is synonymous with "bigotry." It's many of those white European ancestors who are screaming the loudest, insisting we preserve their culture or, put another way, "Make America Great Again" with voter suppression and other ways to deny full democracy to all our citizens, including Native Americans.
Who knew that generations later, the indigenous ones would be banished to desolate reservations, or ridiculed by sports teams, like the Washington football franchise? For that matter, who could possibly fantasize in our wildest dreams that we'd so degenerate that we could elect a professional bigot to lead us?
Let's face it, though: Donald Trump has enhanced that great tradition, the bitter argument over politics at the Thanksgiving dinner that leads to mashed potato and stuffing fights. For the record, folks, those food items should be eaten, not thrown. But hey -- that's progress, pilgrim. Or what passes for it.

(c) 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 20, 2018 3:24 AM.

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