It started a few years back with the movement to get rid of Columbus Day.
Native American activists decried Columbus as a murderer and the person responsible for the decimation of the Native Americans in the New World. First, let me say, I’m sure he was a murderer. In the 15th Century, that was the way of mankind. If you found a new place, a new culture, you eliminated it so you and yours could take over. I don’t remember reading about too many explorers who didn’t do that. And, I also know that the indigenous people did the same to other tribes. It was a savage, brutal world.
There is a saying, ” History is written by the victors.” This is true, whether it’s fair or not. So, for hundreds of years, Columbus was honored and we created a day to celebrate him. I think the day was actually created to celebrate the accomplishments of explorers and Italians. He had statues and even cities named after him. And, I will admit, his legacy was white washed and sanitized.
So I get why Native Americans would be testy about that.
But, now, other celebrations are under attack with the same premise, that their origins were flawed and sometimes even evil. Is the purpose to make our lives better, more meaningful, or just to rid our culture of anything that defines us a Americans?
Let’s take Thanksgiving. Of all the American holidays, you would think that it would be the least offensive of all. It’s a day to get together with family and give thanks for our blessings. Pretty simple.
Of course, the history is much more complicated. We all know the story of the Pilgrims and how Squanto and the Wampanoag, a local tribe, formed an alliance allowing the Pilgrims to learn how to live off the land here. In 1621, William Bradford, Governor, organized a feast that lasted three days and became the first Thanksgiving. In 1789, George Washington called upon Americans to have a day of thanks for the successful War of Independence. The holiday grew national prominence with Abraham Lincoln and finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Of course, the holiday’s meaning and process has morphed as the years have passed.
Native Americans dispute the original story of the holiday because they say it ignores the facts that the European settlers and Native Americans had a bloody history leading to the deaths of tens of thousands. Many protesters now gather on Plymouth Rock for a day of mourning on Thanksgiving Day.
Now, as the fracturing of our country along ethnic and racial lines seems to be more prevalent, those who want to “virtue signal” voice their solidarity with each group with a tactic to remove those holidays and historic figures deemed evil by these groups. It started out with the Confederate flag and now has worked it’s way to any European figure in our history. It’s not just those who fought for the confederacy but now ANY one, Abraham Lincoln included. Even black figures such as Frederick Douglass are being removed.
And they are working their way to Thanksgiving Day stating that its origins should eliminate it.
Which brings up my point. Are the origins of a holiday justification to remove it from our culture? If they are, we won’t have any holidays, and culture left. Let’s examine this.
Most of our holidays, including Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. have their lineage traced to the celebrations of ancient cultures. Take Christmas for example. Though Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas, the holiday itself have its beginnings in Rome, as part of Saturnalia, the time before the winter solstice when the Romans would abandoned most rules and morals and celebrate Saturn in the most hedonistic ways. They also celebrated the birth of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25th.
Certainly this is not the holy, sacred origin Christians would want celebrated. But, does this mean all Christians should eliminate the Christmas holiday?
I think the answer comes with thinking about how the holiday is celebrated now. Certainly, the commercialization of the day is not the paragon of what we claim we want, but the other side of that is giving to others. We give gifts, we help others, we think about peace, brotherhood. The holiday has morphed beyond it’s ancient origins to become something inspirational.
I don’t think I know anyone thinks to themselves, ” Boy, I sure am proud of those hedonistic Romans. Let’s celebrate them. “
The same goes for Thanksgiving. I have no problem in acknowledging the negative aspects of European settling of this country and the fact that the Thanksgiving myth we have been raised with is inaccurate. But I also think that the holiday has such a different meaning NOW that it is a positive influence on the culture of our country. By removing it, we are saying, ” We can’t celebrate being thankful for blessings because atrocities happened on both sides of the historical groups involved in its founding.” If that’s the case, don’t celebrate anyone, because no group is totally clean of horrible acts.
Instead, why not celebrate the holiday as an example of the evolution of our country throughout its history and our dedication to becoming better? Why can’t we celebrate and be thankful for what we have?
Unfortunately, in the war to cancel culture and destroy a country, no holidays, no celebrations can exist except at the approval of the so called “politically correct and ‘woke’ crowd. ” We must all focus on the negative and never the positive. And we must never feel close to our families and our culture, because these things will get in the way of the collective agenda.
So, all of you groups with your other holiday, watch out. The move to cancel culture doesn’t end with someone else’s celebrations, it comes to eliminate yours as well.
As for me and mine, we will celebrate while understanding that beginnings are not always the most important thing. Holidays are what we make them.