In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” ‘Thanksgiving’ was first celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 after their successful ‘first harvest’ in the New World; the celebration lasted for three days back then. Those concepts have pretty much dissipated over the last several decades, however, to the point where these days Thanksgiving — still the fourth Thursday in November — means a day off, a turkey dinner, and the start of the so-called ‘Holiday Season’ and its ‘shop till you drop’ commercial mentality.
This year, another factor has entered the room and, thanks to its high volume political campaign (Republican, of course) rhetoric, has infected the holiday with an almost surreal contagion of unadulterated and largely irrational fear — a fear of terrorism; of ISIL; of Islam; of Muslims everywhere; and most prominently, the fear of Syrian refugees, especially those trying to obtain sanctuary in America: TERRORISTS!!
So in response, virtually every Republican governor along with one Democratic governor have publicly proclaimed their state as being OFF LIMITS! to all Syrian refugees who are of course most likely NOT innocent people, but are Muslim extremists or radical Islamists who are out to kill Americans! And they’re all part of Obama’s sinister plot to bring on Shariah Law . . . etc.
Fear. Hopefully it can be made to lead to hatred, then to more fear, maybe help a Republican get elected as President next year so we can Save America!!
Thanksgiving. “Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” — for protecting us from those evil evil terrorists?
There is another side to that coin, however. Imagine it: NO fear, NO hatred, simply the goal, the desire, to help those who truly need help, to provide those refugee families with a safe and secure — and comfortable — surround; the surround which most Americans consider their birthright. And most impressively, some are offering to help even in spite of their own governor’s completely irrational position. Here, below, the perfect example — a letter from Michael Moore to (Michigan) Governor Snyder: ‘I myself am going to defy your ban’:
Dear Gov. Snyder:
I just wanted to let you know that, contrary to your declaration of denying Syrian refugees a home in our state of Michigan, I myself am going to defy your ban and will offer MY home in Traverse City, Michigan, to those very Syrian refugees you’ve decided to keep out. I will contact the State Department to let them know I am happy to provide a safe haven to any Syrian refugee couple approved by the Obama administration’s vetting procedures in which I have full faith and trust.
Your action is not only disgraceful, it is, as you know, unconstitutional (only the President has the legal right to decide things like this).
What you’ve done is anti-American. This is not who we are supposed to be. We are, for better and for worse, a nation of descendants of three groups: slaves from Africa who were brought here in chains and then forced to provide trillions of dollars of free labor to build this country; native peoples who were mostly exterminated by white Christians through acts of mass genocide; and immigrants from EVERYWHERE around the globe. In Michigan we are fortunate to count amongst us tens of thousands of Arab and Muslim Americans.
I’m disappointed in you, Governor Snyder, for your heartless and un-Christian actions, and for joining in with at least 25 other governors (all but one a Republican) who’ve decided to block legal Syrian refugees from coming into their states. Fortunately I’m an American and not a Republican.
Governor, count me out of whatever you think it means to be a Michigander. I look forward to welcoming Syrians to my home and I wholeheartedly encourage other Americans to do the same.
P.S. By the way, my 700-sq. ft. apartment in northern Michigan is a little small, but it’s got cable, wi-fi and a new dishwasher! Also, no haters live on my floor! Stop by any time for a hot chocolate this winter.
Finally. A genuine reason to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2015. I will, however, change the word — slightly — in honor of Michael Moore and all like him.
Thanks for Giving!
Imagine it, if you dare. A world free of fear and hate, a world filled instead with caring and generosity for all people, especially for those less fortunate, those struggling for the simple joy of leading a peaceful life. It can happen, apparently.
Just never ask a Republican to help make it possible because, as Rep. Steve King points out, Muslim immigrants are ‘incompatible’ with Americanism