I’m curious, and without trying to start an online debate, but why does it seem that people tend to post their feelings of gratitude and Thanksgiving just during the month of November? I mean, sure, the holiday of Thanksgiving is in November here in the States, but I guess I never understood why we don’t as a society practice the art of gratitude throughout the whole year?
Don’t get me wrong: I love Thanksgiving. I love the Autumn feeling of the crisp air and the feeling my boots have when walking through a leaf pile, sitting down to a plate of some amazing homemade food, while my male family counterparts gleam at the football game. I love sitting around with my husband, kids, my amazing mom and dad, my sisters and brother in laws, getting down on the ground and playing with my nephews, and knowing that at night on my way home, I can find neighborhoods beginning their holiday season with their homes in their sparkly glory. There is much to be thankful in my own life, so I do understand the allure to want to shout all that out.
Yet this year, especially, in light of what has been going on with the news with our Syrian refugees, I can only think that our feelings of gratitude can be felt even more acutely right now. Why do I say that? Take a walk with me here…
What is the basis of Thanksgiving in the United States? Well, to put it quite simply, it was about the men, women and children who fled from England and came to this country, not knowing it was primarily inhabited by the Native American peoples. Yes, the entire country, as we know it, was completely and utterly inhabited. Below is a map of our country before the Pilgrims came over…(mind you, this has NOTHING to do with the map that was claimed by Snopes to be false, as that map is something the author created to show what America WOULD have looked like if England didn’t come over). The map I am showing you is a depiction of the Native American Tribes that held territory prior to American colonization:
Now, there was a peace offering between the Indigenious People of this Country and the refugees of England (yes, no matter how you want to spin this, our Ancestors were in its simplest terms, refugees). The Native American people who claimed ownership of the lands we now know as the United States allowed us to come into their territories, set up camp, and colonize.
Result? Our gratitude for this gift is honored as Thanksgiving Day.
Sounds promising, right? How kind it was for people who technically “owned” the rights to these lands for God knows how many years, decades, centuries, before people across the big pond came over here on those ships and created life here. And because of that, we celebrate every November that fateful day the owners of these lands created that peace with the refugees who sought freedom from the persecution that they lived within their home country.
I need you all to really sit down and think about your feelings right now. While you are watching your food shows, preparing your big royal feast of turkey, chicken, duck (or in some cases, all 3), stuffing, cranberry sauce and so forth, there are people who are currently risking their lives, their childrens lives, to come to our country to seek refuge because of the persecution there are having in their home country. I ask you, why are they not allowed the same rights we were granted? Yes, if it weren’t for our Ancestors, we may all still be living over there in the Western European Nations. They took a chance and it worked. Sadly, the generosity bestowed upon us was betrayed to the very people who took us in, by killing, maming them, then claiming ownership of the very lands they allowed us to live on in the first place! Is that what you are afraid of? That refugees coming over here will do what we did to the Native Americans?
Don’t get me wrong, not all of our Ancestors were bad people. One of my best friend’s Ancestors were held in such high regard here in England and in the beginning of the colonization that stories are still being told about them today. Many of our Ancestors were TRULY, good people. Who came here in search for freedom. In search for a chance. And we got it! Yet, some of these people took advantage of those gifts and here we are today.
I do not believe that is the fate for these refugees. I believe in the heart of my hearts that this country was founded on the belief that ANYONE could come here to seek refuge from the tyranny that their home countries put upon them. That ANYONE could come here to find their own way of life, to get the chance we all had just to be born here. The generations that live today in the United States were BLESSED to be born here. So, who I am to say that just because of my natural birth right that someone living in another country doesn’t have any more of a right than I do to live here?
I beg of you, my friends, to think about your thoughts and feelings this coming Thursday, and every day here on out. There are men, women and children currently in the middle of the sea in tiny little boats, freezing and hungry, begging for peace and sanctity. Claiming that “our country needs to be taken care of first”, is simply a cop out. It’s lazy. It’s insulting. Our first and foremost right is the right to be a human being. Stop thinking about borders, stop thinking about countries, stop thinking about laws and politics. Even for a moment. Think about your heart. Think about your conscience. Would you REALLY turn someone away from your home when you see someone in need?
I have no money. It all goes to my bills. But I would sacrifice a month’s worth of my own entertainment and belongings if it meant someone or some one’s life could finally seek the peace and freedom they need and DESERVE. And guess what? If they killed me because I mistakenly took a bad person in, well then I guess it was my time to go anyway. Anyone who is a God-loving and/or God-fearing person certainly understands when it’s your time to go from this earth, nothing’s going to stop that from happening. In the meantime, I can only hope that my brethren citizens agree with me, our way of thinking is way off. Take time to reconsider what Thanksgiving REALLY means, instead of seeing it as a pre-curser to good Black Friday sales, the season of Santa Claus, and the inevitable ongoing debate on who’s “holiday” is more imporant.
I truly believe, that’s what being an American is all about.