Or, for you non-Americans, happy Thursday! Or, for you Australians, happy Friday or Tuesday or whatever it is down in your topsy-turvy country where you’ve even got your seasons reversed.
Oh, heck, forget it. Happy Day! Find whatever reason you want to celebrate.
Again, for you non-Americans, this is a peculiarly American version of a fall harvest festival. We are supposedly celebrating an event in our history from the 17th century: the fellowship and cooperation between the Pilgrim immigrants and the native Americans that culminated in a shared feast. The truth is a little uglier and perhaps a bit more representative of our political reality. A gang of Puritan religious kooks who were too wacky and weird for their homeland emigrated optimistically to the new wilderness to the west, hoping to found a utopia for repressive fanaticism. They proved to be incompetent as well as crazy, and nearly died off completely in their first few years, but survived thanks to an affiliation with local tribes who were quite competent at successfully thriving in that environment, but were unfortunately strategically unwise in allowing these parvenu lunatics to persist in their midst.
So, yeah, we’re celebrating the survival of Republicans Mark I in the founding of our country. It was nice that they got along with the Indians while they were hungry, but don’t worry — it wasn’t long before the colony was stabilized, and then they resumed the habits of genocide, warfare, witch-burning, rebellion, empire-building, civil war, habitat destruction, and exploitation, i.e., normal history.
We traditionally celebrate this day with indolence and gluttony. Even better, since the holiday is always on a Thursday to give us a four-day weekend, the Friday after has evolved into something called Black Friday, in which stores offer sales to entice mobs into the malls for the biggest shopping day of the year, so we also celebrate with naked greed and commercialism. Like I said, it is a very American holiday.
I’m planning to spend it with a quiet family day — we’re getting together with my sons — and eat in moderation. Then tomorrow I’m not going anywhere near a mall and won’t be spending a penny…I’ll be catching up in much delayed office work. One nice thing about the holiday is that you can spend it any way you want.