The Worst Thanksgiving Guests Ever
I’m not that big on Thanksgiving (or holidays in general).
Foodwise, the turkey and sweet potatoes are fine.
The issue is generally the guests.
Thanksgiving may be the only day in the year when watching the Detroit Lions play the Chicago Bears counts as a useful activity.
The Lions-Bears game gets you out of the kitchen – which gets you away from Oswald Beezlebubb holding forth on his favorite kind of hiking boots.
The rest of the Beezlebubb’s conversations make Oswald seem fascinating.
Yes, there are wonderful guests out there. If you host Thanksgiving yourself, you get more control over who shows up.
However, Thanksgiving is often a good reminder about why you do not hang out with these people the other 364 days of the year.
The Beezlebubb clan, as bad as they are, are not the worst Thanksgiving guests in the human history.
The worst Thanksgiving guests were the original Pilgrims themselves. I presume they were gracious enough and charming enough at that first Thanksgiving dinner. We all know what the Massachusetts settlers subsequently did to the Wampanoag tribe. We all know what the settlers after that did to the Indians in Massachusetts, the Indians in New England, the Indians on the Atlantic Coast, and all of the Indians in the entire United States.
The “gift” that was involuntarily taken from the Indians of Massachusetts, New England, the Atlantic Coast and the entire United States, was worth far more than one dinner with roast turkey and local vegetables.
The land that was taken became the basis of the Massachusetts economy, the New England economy, the Atlantic Coast economy and the economy of the entire United States. 100% of the American economy is based on land taken from Indians.
The United States is not alone in this regard. 100% of the Canadian economy is based on land taken from Indians. 100% of the Mexican economy is based on land taken from Indians. 100% of the Guatemalan economy is based on land taken from Indians. You can repeat this exercise all the way through to 100% of the economies of Chile and Argentina.
Now, you could be fussy and say the 100% figure is an exaggeration. Some land in these countries still belongs to the Indians. The tribes sometimes retain the value of whatever is produced on their land. The Indians have lost everything that goes into the urban economies, and outside of the mountains, everything that goes into export agriculture. So the Indians are responsible for 98% or 99% or 99.5% of the economies of the Western Hemisphere … still a generous gift.
You could be even fussier and say that the 100% figure fails to allow for capital and labor. Land, labor and capital are all essential for production. No one factor is associated with all of it.
But that is like allocating responsibility for human life between oxygen, water and food. Yes, oxygen alone is not sufficient for human life. But take away oxygen and you take away 100% of human life. Eliminating the land taken from Indians would eliminate 100% of the economy in all of those countries. Labor and capital contributed too.
Would reparations be possible for a loss of this magnitude? Imagine one divided up the GDP of the Western Hemisphere into shares for land, labor and capital, and one arbitrarily divided them 33-33-33, There is no way the descendants of the settlers would agree to returning 1/3 of the value of their economy to the descendants of indigenous nations. Giving oral thanks to the original owners of our lands is like paying a debt of trillions of dollars with a tenth of a penny.
The Thanksgiving story is really not one that we ought to be celebrating. If we need a late November holiday, we could have Dallas Cowboys Football on Thursday Day, or Cranberry Sauce Appreciation Day. I am kind of in favor of Cornbread Stuffing with Gravy Appreciation Day myself. I might even settle for See If You Can Tolerate the Beezlebubb’s One More Time Day.
But the Thanksgiving story is a grim reminder about where all of our wealth really originally came from. That realization may be the most unwelcome Thanksgiving guest of all.