Monday, November 19, 2018

Modern Visions of Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell’s original vision, “Freedom from Want,” referencing FDR’s famous Depression era speech, was produced in 1943, mid-WWII, a beacon of hope for a country whose people had known hunger and fear for perhaps the first times in their lives. Over the years, it has served as a symbol for American abundance before devolving into the icon for consumerist excess. Hardly surprising that Rockwell’s iconic vision becomes the starting point for multiple adaptations (freely available to all at Google images).

Thanksgiving in Appalachia. Amidst serious        Thanksgiving in Trumpland. The country once
poverty caused by economic forces that left         known as America has been carved up and served
them behind, these folks will elect the very          cold. But there will never be enough for these
people who have insured their poverty - and        rapacious mouths. As the world begins to die from
the lack of dignity that accompanies it - in           Anthropocene abuse, the oligarchs scramble to
a society which determines value by wealth.        secure the last morsels of value for themselves.
Pass the self-defeatism.

Thanksgiving in the “Heartland.” Forget                        A Gen X/Y Thanksgiving. So much for
the nation’s most severe opioid addiction                    tradition, it’s a whole new world, baby.
crisis, the denial continues. At least there                    An extra helping of Disruption for    
aren’t any of those damned illegal aliens                      Disruption’s sake for all.
around. Pass the easy manipulation targets.         

A Modern Family Thanksgiving. Loud, crass,         A Deadpool Thanksgiving, the product of an
obnoxious, superficial, self-focused.                        exhausted culture industry. Whatever is lacking in
You know, the American Way. (Ask anyone          thoughtfulness will be made up for with gratuitous
outside our borders…)                                                   violence and an ocean of profanity.        

The actual first Thanksgiving, held between             The last Thanksgiving celebrating the
the invading Spanish conquistadors and the               successes of the Anthropocene Age.          
wary Timucuan peoples who greet them at 
the shores of what became St. Augustine. FL. 
Their communal meal following the first 
Eucharist in what would become the 
United States preceded the mythical meal 
of the Pilgrims by 55 years. Just over a 
century later, these aboriginal peoples
will have become extinct.

Harry Scott Coverston
Orlando, Florida

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding. Most things worth considering do not come in sound bites.

For what does G-d require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d? (Micah 6:8, Hebrew Scriptures)

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. - Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Wisdom of the Jewish Sages (1993)

 © Harry Coverston 2018

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