Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is Thanksgiving A No-No Holiday Now?

Take a good look at the photo above.
Note what it says. And what it doesn't say.


OK, so here is the background on this photo and why I am at the very least confused.
Yesterday on my way to an appointment, I noticed the sign in the above photo. This is at the Vatican of Whole Foods in Pasadena, California, my home town. So needless to say I whipped out the ol' cell phone camera because I am just curious.
What is the holiday the sign is speaking of?
The only holiday this month is, you guessed it.
And I thought, is Thanksgiving now a no-no holiday?
I know, some Indians rank Thanksgiving up there with Columbus Day as the two American holidays to hate. And Thanksgiving is special to the Indians because they would argue that it was the beginning of the end of their way of life. And there is some marginal truth to that, I suppose.
To the American left, well it is all about the European, more English, conquest of North America and the exploitation of the Indians and the beginning of the horror to the world that is the United States of America.
But these are the fringes, right?
I am afraid not.
Now I shared the above photo on my Facebook page and there was a seemingly logical thought a couple of people shared with me that they thought it was just going to stay up through to the Christmas season. Then one had the same reaction that I had. And another shared a tale of a pastor scolding her for celebrating Thanksgiving in the first place.
OK, I get it that certain precincts in the United States that like to promote the idea, as I noted, that the beginning of what we today call Thanksgiving was the beginning of the end of a romanticised way of life. That being of the Indians.
Let me be clear that I am not anti-Indian. But it's not fair to make it out that they were all but a peace loving people. Tribes were fighting each other for land just like everyone else all over the world. And they were no better or worse in how they treated the spoils of their conquests.
This is to be fair and explain that the first Thanksgiving was not as much the beginning of the end for the Indians because those people did not have any gripes with each other. That, regrettably, did not come until later.
So, the first Thanksgiving was both a celebration of a good harvest and of good people being together.
But I don't think that the history is as important of the holiday as what it is and should be today.
Giving thanks is not specifically religious. Non-religious people can give thanks as well as the person of faith. The fact of the matter is that it is not an absolute religious holiday. But it has become so important in the American celebration that, until recently, almost every retail establishment was closed on Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, most markets were closed. And invariably, we would have to find somewhere to find something that was an important ingredient that was forgotten. There was always Thrifty drug store! That is why as so many major retailers are pushing the envelope and starting the traditional Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping season on Thanksgiving evening. Some are open all day on Thanksgiving. And that is upsetting to a lot of people. I am one of them. And for me, there is the conflict with business and tradition. I'm all for the tradition.
I do not see why it has to be hidden and given the trite "holiday" label that we have done to Christmas for we don't want to offend anyone. Is Thanksgiving an offensive holiday? What about Independence Day? Memorial Day? Labor Day? Martin Luther King Day? Washington/Lincoln Birthday, aka President's Day? Don't all of these celebrations offend someone or some group?
Here is the thing.
I really, really believe that we all need to grow a thicker skin.
Really, does it offend a non-Christian to be given a Merry Christmas greeting? Can someone greet another person not of their tradition with their greeting? Such as Happy Hanukkah? Blessed Ramadan? I don't feel offense as much as that person happy with who they are and sharing their religious tradition. Or national tradition. If one is not a believer in any religion, you have to understand that the majority of people in the United States do have a religion. Instead of crying "I'm offended", why not use it as an opportunity to share why you do not believe? And I just noted that you who are non-believers can give thanks for the blessings in your life for you do have such things.
The more that we know about each other and what we are all about in human terms, we can avoid the fear of a retailer having to have a sign that reads

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