Thursday, November 23, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, and especially to our regular commenters who add so much to this blog with their contributions. I'm convinced we have the best commenters this side of The Belmont Club. I very much regret that I am often too busy to join in the discussion while it is going on.
We are down in Virginia, starting the day in Warrenton, where my father-in-law lives. My "air card" does not get a signal at his house, which is in the hills above town off Route 17. Since I finally gave up my AOL account back in the spring, in the absence of a decent cellular signal I have to drive in to the local Starbucks or other hot spot to blog off my laptop. Later this morning we will all drive two hours south to the vicinity of Dillwyn to have the Thanksgiving meal with the Charlottesvillain family, and the probability of a decent air card signal there is vanishlingly small. All in all, posting will be light today, which is just as well.
The picture above is a photograph of The First Thanksgiving, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. It hangs in the Library of Congress.
For the non-Americans among you, the Thanksgiving holiday is perhaps the greatest American national holiday. The Wikipedia entry describes the history of the holiday, which began organically in the very first years of the colonial era and was proclaimed nationally by our greatest president at the height of our most perilous national crisis. The event is of such significance to many American families that many believe it is more important to be together on Thanksgiving than on Christmas. If you are American or act like one, is this true in your family?
The day after Thanksgiving, though, is hideous. It is known as "Black Friday," and all sorts of crazed people get up at 5 in the morning so that they can begin shopping for Christmas as if it were a competitive event. You'd rather be in Lagos during a bread riot than visit most American malls on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The question is, who do we have to blame for "Black Friday"? According to the Wikipedia entry: The Democrats!
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be the next-to-last Thursday of November rather than the last. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought this would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt hoped, would aid bringing the country out of the Depression. At the time, it was considered inappropriate to advertise goods for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.
Yes, FDR changed the date of Thanksgiving to commercialize Christmas even more than it already was. Black Friday, like so many other things, is yet another enduring legacy of the 20th century's most influential president.
MORE: Pajamas Media remembers FDR's "four freedoms" speech, which was given not on Thanksgiving but in early 1941, almost a year before Pearl Harbor. It is a speech to be thankful for, and we would do well to remember it today. Read the whole thing.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love. Try and smile around the in-laws.
If you look it up on the web, you will find that the Pilgrims were not the Puritans pictured in the painting. They also consciously modeled Thanksgiving after the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
I'll repeat my comment regarding holidays in general, which I am sure that TH has heard before. In my opinion it is a good holiday if nobody is killed.
This is based on the crime statistics, since most families only get together at the holidays, and most murders occur only within families. The argument is further reinforced by the fact that suicide rates also go up at holidays.
Here's hoping all of you have a good holiday.
Snappy Thanksgiving to you and yours, THawk. Damn, dirty Democrats politicizing Thanksgiving! I was struck most by this section of FDR's Four Freedoms:
"For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:
Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the few.
The preservation of civil liberties for all.
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.
We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.
We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.
We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.
I have called for personal sacrifice. I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call.
A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my Budget Message I shall recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying today. No person should try, or be allowed, to get rich out of this program; and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.
If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world."
FDR wasn't one of those defeat-o-crats that the bloviators on the right like to covertly paint with traitor's ocher. It appears he believed in upholding United States' core values.
I'll bet you a dollar he wouldn't have invaded Iraq. And I'll bet you several other dollars he wouldn't privatize the war, allowing profiteers to bilk us out of billions. He certainly wouldn't seek to legalize torture or reject habeus corpus.
It sounds like he'd raise your taxes to pay for extra spending.
I like the guy. I'm just confused as to why y'all recognize him today? Sure he's all for a strong military, but he calls for sacrifice and even takes the military/industrial complex to task for their sloth.
I love that FDR.