Though there have been harvest festivals for time immemorial, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. In addition to all the football and feasting, the core message behind our national fable rings particularly true with George Bush preparing to begin his second term.
Briefly put: America with all its flaws and strengths existed as an amalgam of the various groups; we can call them tribes of Americans. Into this functioning, but at times uneasy mix, a new group arrived: the religious fanatics. These fanatics had come to the “New World” seeking freedom from the oppression they’d met in the “Old World.” But as soon as they secured the pretense of a peaceful co-existence with the Americans, they immediately set up a social structure to oppress both themselves and the Americans that was far more rigid than anything they’d faced in Europe.
At first the Americans attempted to cooperate with the religious fanatics, who steadily stole away their lands and their lives, claiming it was God’s will. Still the Americans shared their resources with the religious fanatics and held the now famous feast to honor them. The religious fanatics responded by totally taking over the Americans’ lands and destroying their way of life. This was their idea of religious freedom and for this they gave thanks.
Don’t get me wrong, I personally enjoy pumpkin pie and stuffing as much as anyone and seriously believe in the idea of devoting at least one day a year to focusing on being thankful. Like the Americans and the religious fanatics in our story, I too have a vision of who God is and what God wants. And so this year I will not insult “God” by attributing to him the maneuvers we’ve seen lately from the neo-cons or blame him for the course in which our country is allowing the religious fanatics to take us. Instead, as I scan the latest news for things to be grateful for, I will give thanks to our benevolent leader.
As a teacher I want to thank you President Bush for driving Rod Paige away from the Department of Education. After four years of applying the same fuzzy math to our national educational system that he did to the Houston school district, which led coincidentally to the Sharpstown School Scandals, and recently announcing even more plans to further underfund our already underfunded schools, Rod Paige will soon be leaving all the kids behind. Thank Bush! Of course I do have misgivings about having the nation’s lead educator being called Ms. Spellings, but anyway--
Thank Bush that Tom De Lay will not have to step down as the House Majority Leader because the noble and law-abiding Congressional Republicans re-rewrote their ethics rules. Yes, it is the part of the party rule that Mr. De Lay helped rewrite just 11 years ago to highlight the misbehavior of Democrat Dan Rostenkowski. But now that the rule saying that those who are indicted for major crimes should not be in leadership positions in the US Congress might apply to De Lay himself, he was all too happy to change it. Thank Bush that in the case of the Texas campaign finance bribery case as expected justice continues being delayed.
Thank Bush that the new CIA director, Porter Goss, has begun to change the name of his agency from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Central Obedience Agency. Goss began a purge of officers believed to have publicly disagreed with the president. "As agency employees, we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said. Thank Bush that from now on the direction the religious fanatics choose for our country will no longer be interfered with by intelligence.
Thank Bush for the wonderful humor of Bill Frist, who recently condemned the Democrats’ effort to keep activist anti-abortion judges off of the federal benches. Frist, straight faced explained that the new Republican dominated Senate would put an end to Dem delaying tactics because, “The Senate must do what is good, what is right, what is reasonable and what is honorable,” a line apparently written by the same folks who equate De Lay with ethics. Thank Bush anyway, it’s the best laugh I’ve had all day.
So many things we owe our president, so many blessings the religious fanatics have received. As for the rest of us, I know as I prepare for my annual ritual of thankfulness, Mr. Bush is often on my mind. I just wish he was not the turkey filling my plate.
Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the West Coast of Arizona. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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