Should We Really Give Thanks?


A national holiday is dedicated to the sole purpose of giving thanks, but what are we really giving thanks for? 


In 1789, George Washington declared Thursday, November 26th “Day of Publick Thanksgivin’.” It would go on to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November known simply as, well, Thanksgiving. However, this seemingly-gratuitous holiday does not have a colorful past. 


Growing up, the majority of students are taught at a young age that Thanksgiving was founded on the idea that the first pilgrims came to the United States gave thanks to the Native Americans by sharing a meal. Although there is some truth behind the talks of peace spreading and a united dinner, the violence surrounding it gets left out of most history lessons. The peace talks at the so-called original Thanksgiving did not last long. A gruesome war soon broke out between Native Americans and pilgrims. The pilgrims, who settled the land of the Native Americans, eventually won the war after a plethora of Native American death (caused by disease spread by, guess who, the pilgrims). The pilgrims decided to make an example of the Native American leader, Metacomet, by impaling his head on a post for all to see.


After coming to the Natives’ land, creating a peace treaty and “conveniently” forgetting about it, massacring Natives, and placing their leader’s head on a stick, the pilgrims eventually built up America brick by brick.


Nowadays, we ignore the mistreatment of Natives for the more favorable thought of spreading gratitude. But can one truly spread appreciation under the guise of spreading peace that is in reality stained blood-red? That isn’t for me to decide. After a brief acknowledgment to the Native Americans who wrongfully lost their land, however, we will continue to share gratitude and love for one another.


I choose to acknowledge the wrongdoing of our forefathers while maintaining the positive aspect of Thanksgiving we all love.


On a separate note, there is no day throughout the year when American greed is more prevalent than the day directly after Americans supposedly come together to give appreciation. Black Friday is completely undoing whatever thanks are given by creating a culture of mass spending that benefits no one but multibillion-dollar corporations. Most local businesses can’t afford to discount their items at the rate corporations do, so they are hurt from sales driven elsewhere in search of a cheaper TV for a guest bedroom that will never be used. Pushing, punching, lying, and fighting can all be observed at any major store on Black Friday. The friends who broke bread and shared stories of their childhood not 24 hours prior now fight over who will get the last discounted Xbox. Friendships are destroyed for 364 days just to have an 18-hour reunion then are destroyed again in a cycle where Jeff Bezos has the last laugh.