I am supposed to give thanks.
Or I was, anyway. Yesterday.
Not a bad idea, really. Paraphrasing the eucharist of a few religions, "it is right to give thanks and praise."
Good things happen when you're thankful. Sending out that positive vibe, I guess. I am most thankful for my tremendous friends and family. In a close second are art and creativity. They give life meaning for me and make every day an adventure. It's a double-edged sword, of course. There's little stability in it, but I prefer it over shaking hands, boosting sales, and other entrepreneurial horsepucky.
I have much. As I ate yesterday, I could not help but think of those who do not. I thought about someone tiffining on a can of cat food. I thought about someone not poor in financial or culinary terms, but in spirit. What if you're somebody who has no one else to go to? Perhaps even more foreign to you, what if you're somebody who just does not agree with this holiday and you find yourself outside and looking in...a stranger in a strange land with nowhere to go? Well as Bono wailed out in "Do They Know It's Christmas," "tonight thank god it's them instead of you."
Interesting fact: Bono told Bob Geldof that he really didn't feel comfortable singing that line. Have to admit, it doesn't exactly send the right message in terms of the issue of global poverty (another issue to give one pause for reflection) does it? Then again, it does have a certain "I just knifed you in the gut" quality to it. But I digress...
Yes, America. It is possible that someone could disagree with Thanksgiving.
Someone could see it for what it is: an artifice. There never really was a "Thanksgiving dinner" where "Pilgrims and Indians" all sat down together for a chummy feast. Indeed I cannot imagine just what American Indians must think of this holiday. Must they be forced to mark the symbolic anniversary of the beginning of their exploitation and their eventual decimation? After all, November 29th, just two days after Thanksgiving this year, is the anniversary of the Sand Creek massacre where over 200 Arapaho women, children, and old men were slaughtered without cause by the military of the good ol' U.S. of A.
It might logically be a stark anniversary for the rest of us as well. "Thanks for the land, you ignorant savages. We'll take it now. Take it and tear it apart so we can build shopping malls and corporate headquarters. Can't get enough CO2 in the atmosphere for our tastes. And those buffalo (real term is bison) look real good for the killin'. Not to eat or wear, just to...well, because we can. Same goes for wolves and coyotes."
The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral."
Yes, I'm struggling to be a vegetarian.
I can't get over our treatment of animals. I have found few arguments that solidly support our slaughtering, eating, and turning into shit any creature we see. Even more unfathomable to me is our capturing, torturing, and killing for sport...or just because "we can." Today, hundreds of animals were tortured and killed as sacrifice in Nepal. We must truly have convinced ourselves that animals have no thoughts or emotions. Either that or the fundies hold to that idiotic passage in Genesis about us being "masters over all the earth."
Yeah. Bang up job we've done with the place.
"After one look at this planet any alien visitor would say, 'I want to see the manager.'"
--William S. Burroughs
How we treat animals is a reflection upon how we treat each other. That certainly seems to be what's operating behind the curtain. You can see it Ted Genoways' new book, The Chain, reviewed at the link by Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. The book does plenty to expose the outright abuse of animals, but what you also see is the meatpacking industry's abuse of its own employees. It tells of workers at meat packing plants who get injured and are summarily bullied and threatened into quitting their jobs when they are unable to perform at speed. "I feel thrown away," said one worker. "Like a piece of trash."
Take heart, fellow citizen. This is not what Thanksgiving or the ensuing holiday season is about, anyway. What is it then, exactly?
Sales sales sales, my friend.
Get in that store at midnight. Is there someone else getting that flat screen TV for a slightly discounted price? Why, there aren't many of those left on the shelf. Better do something. Knock them down. Kick them. Trample them. Get a good "go to hell" look on your face, letting everyone else know you'll do the same to them if they try to take your discounted plastic shit from China. Dance for the companies, my friend. The companies and their congressional bodyslaves. Dance.
Have a happy whatever.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets