Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Thanksgiving in Tough Times

Ken Thomas has already mentioned President Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation below, but now Joe Knippenberg writes a longer essay that puts the current president's words in the broader historical context of other Thanksgiving proclamations.  Joe finds Obama's words wanting; he should have imitated FDR more than Carter, Joe thinks.  I agree.
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 7 Comments

The first time a kid in my English class explained to me that Thanksgiving was really about the Pilgrims thanking the Indians for helping them out I laughed out loud. There was general agreement in the class that in public school that was the message from the teachers. Can you imagine, Pilgrims and Indians seated at a groaning board and the carving guy, behind the turkey, at the head of the table says, "Bow your heads and say thank you to the guy next to you." This is history, new style. Cooperation, unity and tolerance and who would mess that up by bringing up religion?

In my class's discussion, each of the students had heard from someone at some point that thanks had been offered to God, but it was not the general message of their civic religion. Of course, some of them were even Christians and few had been raised to presume no God at all.

God bless America.

That was a nice essay, Joe. Enjoy the day of giving thanks, as your conscience allows.

At our house, we give thanks every day.

The one day of the year my wife hates is Thanksgiving. Too much cooking, too much eating, and no one on her side of the family is all that thankful for turkey.

Sarcasm -- my conscience allows for daily thanks, too.

Is turkey sacramental on our civic/religious holiday? My sister-in-law makes a grand Thanksgiving lasagna, so everyone finds something good to eat. "Everyone" runs to 35-40 people; all help with the cooking, enjoying that, too. Overeating is optional. After the meal, some talk, some play cards, my son and I will take children for a walk in the woods. Any who can afford it will go to a movie together in the evening. What's not to like?

In an age where we have more and more excuses to avoid human contact, thank God for Thanksgiving. It is a holiday where coming together is done gladly, where the sense of obligation is minimal (unlike Christmas, sadly), and where for some (me), the act of cooking is actually a joy.

Having grown up in Detroit, Thanksgiving for me is all about football on TV with the smell of roasting turkey. And eating scraps of raw pie dough. Crazy, but true -- we used to clamor for the trimmed pie dough as a pre-meal snack.

The turkey is almost incidental for me at this point. A plate loaded with stuffing, potatoes, cranberries and gravy suits me just fine.

At this moment my three daughters (25, 21 & 10) are coring and slicing apples to make two apple pies for today's feast. What a happy moment! The oldest, newly married, is leading. The next, a junior at Franciscan Univ., is reading the recipe from the Apple....laptop! The youngest is slicing and literally looking up to her older sisters, who no longer live at home. What a delight in her face when she saw her sisters this morning! My 16-yr old son has just asked if he could have a glass of wine today...his first "officially approved" experience. Answer: Of course! Same question from the 12-yr old. Answer: Of course not! I hope to take the entire family on a walk along the irrigation ditch path before and *after* the feast. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

The WaPo has a couple articles on T-day and Obama's messsage. A brief history of its establishment:

EJ Dionne's feeble attempt to defend Obama's proclamation: He doesn't respond to my charge against him in NLT post below.

The WSJ had this to say about FDR's failed attempt to change the day, to prolong the Christmas shopping season as a means of stimulating the economy.

President Obama should be thankful that his Nobel Peace Prize cannot be snatched away from him by a brutal and repressive regime.

I'll be thankful for him. Thankful that we live in a regime that exists to protect the rights of its citizens.

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