That fourth Thursday of November looms, a day when Americans sit down at the dinner table together, thank God for the bounty before them if it is there, and dig in.
Most of us, including some Native Americans (here's a much better "Thanksgiving" blog: click here
), celebrate a bountiful harvest, sort of. It's on the table. Turkey, the centerpiece. Sweet potatoes. Stuffing. Cranberry sauce. Casseroles. Pumpkin pie. Mince pie. Those are the basics. Fill in your veggies and feel free to substitute.
Lately, often, your kids don't have to fly in from every corner of the country with their kids. They already live with you, employed or seeking employment or working at Walmart/McDonald's.
Thoughts are afloat about renaming Columbus Day and theming it around all the untold masses massacred in order to Europeanize this great continent and adjacent Caribbean islands. Et cetera. They went West and found gold--the Europeans, that is.
I suggest something similar for Thanksgiving. In this small, small world we now live in, globalized, let's establish a global holiday, International Indigenous People's Day. Has anyone thought of this already? If so, hat-tip to them.
We will celebrate all of the people uprooted, marginalized, enslaved, trodden on, pushed aside, or treated well in all corners of the world. People encroached upon by white people: The First Nation. Native Americans. Aborigines. Inuits. Maori. Sami. And all of the others.
Instead of singing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," we can sing "This Land Is Their Land. . . . and we took it from them and we enslaved them and we betrayed them; but all around us, there are voices singing, 'This land was theirs and now it's ours.'" "But the one percenters, oh they took it from us, so now we're Injuns and the Injuns are us . . . " You know the drill.
I can't get teary or sentimental hearing even the Boss sing the original. Whose destiny was manifest that inspired our folksong hero? Guthrie is no villain--don't get me wrong.
And God Bless America for the bounteous life I'm living, privacy deprived but somewhat secure. I can still write articles like this. How many poor, suffering people I can't afford to help wouldn't trade places with me in a New York second?
International Indigenous People's Day. Harvest time is still a good time to schedule it. The Secretary-General of the UN could proclaim it every year and all peoples would be welcome to join in--Palestinians, Iranians, North Koreans. Everybody. Even the one-percent internationals who are good friends with our billionaires, globalized.
Now it's time to fill in the blanks, of which there are many. How shall we celebrate? With a moment of worldwide silence? A day of peace without any weapons wielded--the best we can approximate that, anyway? With food festivals consisting of what Indigenous Peoples eat on special occasions, when they can afford to?
Shall we all wear black or choose an international color or design a new flag?
International Indigenous People's Day will not encompass all suffering. That could become another international holiday. All Saints' Day with extended significance?
Has "turkey" come to mean "jerk" because it's Thanksgiving food and the holiday really needs editing, face it? Probably not.
Instead of our pardoning one turkey, all turkeys should pardon us. Bad joke.
I know people sitting around the Thanksgiving table will pray for peace and security this year before eating turkey--what's become of it--peace and security, that is.
But on this one day of the year, as long as we're around, as long as we've become so vulnerable ourselves to happenstance, even more than usual, so vulnerable to being in the wrong place at the wrong time or weeping for others caught in this trap,
let's realize that the Islamic State is aiming to pry us up from our festive lifestyle, so that more than ever before we all face the fate our forebears visited on others.
Just thank God for food on the table and loved ones and liked ones and pray that somehow we'll jump through this flaming hoop, to live to celebrate International Indigenous People's Day next year rather than becoming those we must celebrate and extol en masse, too late.