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The Reason For The Season

November 22, 2012 by  

The Reason For The Season

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to eat enough turkey and dressing to feed the victims of Sandy and Katrina combined. It’s time to wonder why anyone thinks topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows is a good idea. It’s time to fall asleep on the couch while the Lions lose and the Cowboys (hopefully also) lose. It’s time to hit the rack early so we can wake up early enough for a good place in line at Best Buy on Black Friday. And lest I forget: It’s time to give thanks for those we love, that which we have and this free Nation in which we are so blessed to live.

But, as is so often the case with holidays from the patriotic to the religious, there’s always someone who wants to poop on the proverbial parade. Thanksgiving, traditionally associated with a sort of idyllic multicultural fairy tale, is now regarded by many college professors, vegan hippies and face-in-the-crowd losers as an ersatz celebration of genocide and religious repression. Every year, those same ivory-tower eggheads, rotting beatniks and permanently outraged nobodies ramp down from their courtroom hand-wringing over Fourth of July commemorations and warm up for their annual assaults on fire station Christmas trees and city hall nativity scenes by shrieking like crack-addled teenagers about the evils of the “real” Thanksgiving. But their outrage is predictably misplaced.

Thanksgiving isn’t a celebration of the near-extermination of Squanto and his pals any more than it’s a celebration of shoes with buckles and stupid hats. In fact, to most Americans Thanksgiving is a celebration of being annoyed by your mother-in-law and tryptophan-induced comas. Much like Easter and even Christmas, the “real” reason for the season has disappeared behind a veneer of Peeps and shopping mall Santas.

While I’m not as obsessed with wallowing in historical pain like the liberals who have yet to thumb past the next chapter in one of those weird Howard Zinn manifestos, I am a student of history. And I’m willing to acknowledge that a little perspective never hurt anyone.

The year was 1620. A small group of men and women, tired of the societal and religious scene in 17th century England and Holland, boarded a ship headed for the New World. The Pilgrims, as they’ve come to be known, were hardly the blue-blooded upper crust of New England society that their descendants define today. In fact, they were a pretty miserable group. Members of the Puritan evolution of Calvinism, they believed in “total depravity,” meaning they believed that the fall of man pretty much doomed us all. To put a finer point on it, they were not a fun bunch at a party. After all, no one ever uses the word “puritanical” when they’re describing their wacky neighbors. These people were aggressively dour. They were hard on their contemporaries and hard on themselves. No booze, no music, no dancing. But compared with some modern day sects, the Pilgrims are hardly the only sad-face game in town. I think we’d all rather spend endless hours torturing ourselves over minor spiritual infractions than give up bacon, force women to wear burkhas and tailor our suicide bomb vests.

Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t a celebration of the actual Pilgrims. There is no way retail chains could work self-flagellation and scurvy into a marketing campaign. Nor is it a celebration of the ridiculous tableau of Pilgrims and Wampanoags sitting down to a long table covered in gourds and maize, because that never happened.

Thanksgiving is a manufactured holiday. Its current date, the fourth Thursday in November, wasn’t even fixed until President Franklin Roosevelt marked it off the national calendar in 1941. In truth, it’s not even in the right season. In November of 1620, the Pilgrims were cold, tired and starving. The only “thanks” being given involved things like, “I give thanks for not having typhus.” And, of course, the “Pilgrims” have benefitted greatly from a backstory that has been exaggerated nearly as wildly as President Barack Obama’s bona fides.

But all that is immaterial. Why join the frozen-in-time liberals in anti-Holiday outrage? Why whine about a crappy time nearly four centuries past? Why ruin the party? Why not spend this year simply giving thanks? Give thanks for the food, for the family or just for the football. Give thanks that you live in a country that allows you to think, to speak and to read whatever you wish.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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  • Jeremy Leochner

    I agree with keeping in the spirit of the season. That is why I disagree with making a partisan issue of it by painting liberals as the enemy. Liberalism has nothing to do with being a holiday ruining party pooper. With respect I believe Mr. Crystal is also ruining the holiday by painting one group as an enemy. I am a liberal but I love Thanksgiving and wish to give thanks for the wonderful life I have in this great country. No need to make a religious or political issue of the holiday. It is a good time to spend with family and friends, watch some good old football and at the end of the day chow down on some delicious home cooked goodness. Thanksgiving is wonderful no matter what your political persuasion is.

    • cj

      Modern liberalism is the reincarnation of the oppression filled governments they struggled so hard to escape. We forget the significance of the event while we disguise it with excuses to party and celebrate. Our activities today do NOTHING to honor their struggle, the TRUE victory, regardless of how they chose to actually live their lives.

      • cj

        Just to add, it’s interesting how the trolls stay late up to put their comments in at midnight, just to get top position and set a negative tone. I wish everybody else a grand Thanksgiving, even while the trolls set out to ruin it.

      • Chester

        cj, liberalism hardly fits the conditions the pilgrims fled when they left England, or even Holland, where many of them congregated after they were banned from practicing their religion IN England. At that time, there was ONE religion in England, and everyone was mandated to practice it. No such thing as Catholics or Jews or Baptists or Protestants of any sort were to be tolerated. Oh, and the King of England WAS the head of that religion. I know of NO liberal who will deny you the right to practice your religion, at least as long as it doesn’t involve human sacrifice in the present tense.


        To Chester: There are plenty of Libs who would deny Christians & Jews, especially, the right to tell it like it is, from their spiritual & religious perspective regarding homosexuality & same-sex marriage, without fear of being thrown in jail! Oh, those darn Hate Crimes!

      • Jeremy Leochner

        Cj: Merriam Websters defines Liberalism as: 1
        : the quality or state of being liberal
        a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty
        and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity
        b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard
        c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)
        d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party
        — lib·er·al·ist noun or adjective

        Nothing about government oppression or total loyalty to government. Liberalism is not the enemy. Extremism is.

        You do got me on staying up late so I can get the first spot. My intention was not to set a negative tone. It was point out that I believe that Mr. Crystal is setting a negative tone by criticising those who hurt thanksgiving by making a political debate of it while at the same time turning it into a political debate himself.

    • eddie47d

      Absolutely Jeremy! Although an interesting article Ben always finds a way to rain on someones parade. I wonder if others will notice that he has to take the finest day of the year and turn it into foot stomping tantrum. We will enjoy family time especially the grand kids and definitely eat too much. No wonder about half of us fall asleep on the couch about 4:00. No matter what it is still my favorite holiday so a Blessed Day to all.

      • http://naver samurai

        Happy Thanksgiving to you Ed from Sook Young and I. I understand what you are saying, but couldn’t he be talking about the commercialization of the holidays and how people don’t really understand what they are about? Sook Young and I had our kids, my mother, my brother and his family, and her mother and father home for Thanksginving. That was 14 people. Many of them are camped out in our living room watching TV. I told them how this day was founded to be set aside for the remembering of what God has done for us, to praise Him, to pray to Him, and to worship Him (We had a Thanksgiving service today.). So have a Happy Thanksgiving Ed. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and faith in God to be a patriot.

        “Liberty and Union, one and inseparable, now and forever and exclaim Christ first, our country next!”

        Andrew Johnson

      • eddie47d

        Thanks Samurai and it indeed was a great day so glad you could also have so many family members together.

    • Jeremy Leochner

      And in the spirit of the season I wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving

      • Nadzieja Batki

        To this coming from you, I say No Thank You.

      • eddie47d

        I love when Nadzieja exposes herself. Is it time to go down to the pawn shop and trade your heart in for a better used one?

  • JimH

    Everyone have a great Thaksgiving.

    • JimH

      Thanksgiving. I would be thankful for a proofreader.

  • Bill

    Good comments, Ben
    Keep up the good work

  • peter

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, no matter their religious persuasion or political leaning and the best of luck for 2013, we will all need it.

  • Peter

    Ben, your comments are about as factual as BO claiming to be a Christian…non-existant!
    For the original Americans there is absolutely NOTHING to be thankful for.
    Their lands were stolen, their people were murdered and driven from their homes.
    For the sake of what?
    The ‘doctrine of discovery’, espoused and magnified as a ‘holy right’ by the powers that be, all in the name of greed and empire building.
    Do I blame modern Americans for the misdeeds of their forefathers?
    Absolutely not.
    But neither can I, as a Christian, forget how my fellow human beings, regardless of their original tribal or national alliances, hated, killed and mistreated each other, with no regard for the truth of how God Almighty wants us to treat each other.
    There is nothing to be thankful for, but much to repent.

    • eddie47d

      So many come on here and say they know history then turn around and either ignore it or openly deny it. There were good first freedom seekers and some really bad ones who set the tone in how this nation thinks. Each should be acknowledged for their bravery or their sadistic behavior. Some were strong, kind and caring and others were “strong” and abusive. The second ones enslaved others to gain wealth for themselves. Some killed others from coast to coast to make way for themselves. Some paid a fair price for what they got and others stole to gain land ownership. The past is long gone and we are a much better society in many ways yet we still have swindlers who take advantage of others. Every nation has a sordid history and every nation has a proud history and we shouldn’t deny either. We will survive because Thanksgiving Day also brings out the good in everyone. We are a giving kind and compassionate nation willing to help others and that also reflects on our greatness.

      • http://naver samurai

        I see that Ed is being PC by not mentioning the reason for the holiday, God. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

        You need both love of country and faith in God to be a patriot.

        Here is what GEorge Washington said about someone that tries to remove morals and religion (Christianity) out of government:

        “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars.”

    • Bill

      That’s the saddest story I ever heard


      The Native Americans have been greatly mythologized over the centuries, while being great caretakers of the land, they were killing each other in vicious ways decades before the white man ever set foot on their land! Those war drums were in full use! They had a heavy karma as a group. Make no mistake part of the conflicts with the settlers were their fault as well!

      • Peter

        The fact remains that the settlers were the invaders, not the Native Americans.
        White Anglo-Saxons have much to repent of historically.

      • John J.

        Peter, the so called “native Americans” tell in their own histories how they themselves invaded North America. They tell how they found white people with red hair already living here and the “native American tribes” tell how they wiped out these people.

      • Peter 10-nov-1775

        What country was not founded in blood? Every nation is guilty. The United States went out of it’s way to remedy the situation. Remember the United States is {was?} the only country people are trying to get into.

  • AK Tom

    The “Native Americans” who were here before the european settlers weren’t exactly living in harmony. They often warred with each other, took captives and had slaves. People make a big deal out of Sacajawea, but remember she was taken as a captive from her tribe and not by “white people” either. Many of the eastern tribes would delight in torturing prisoners of war by slowly burning them to death at the stake. The Apache were famous for their torture as well as the Comanche. Ever since homo sapiens have risen from the primordial ooze or whatever you choose to believe they have fought with each other. Not saying that makes it right to do so but stop it with the white man guilt already and accept the fact that humans as a whole historically aren’t very nice to each other. However we can all strive to be better people and be thankful for what you have this thanksgiving.

    • Biff

      Bravo Tom, well said.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Who are we thanking?

    • Peter

      That’s true Tom, but as I said above, the fact remains that white Anglo-Saxons invaded America and caused far more damage to Native Americans than their inter-tribe conflicts ever have. Fact. Period. End of story.

      • John J.

        Peter, the so called “native Americans” tell in their own histories how they themselves invaded North America. They tell how they found white people with red hair already living here and the “native American tribes” tell how they wiped out these people.

      • Peter

        John J, I’d like to read that history. Where can it be found please?

  • Biff

    Ben Crystal doesn’t like the fact that Roosevelt moved the date of Thanksgiving by a few weeks? Christians moved the date of Christ’s birth by a few months, so what’s your problem Ben?

    • Nadzieja Batki

      FDR changed the times and the seasons (calendar and feasts) and it took away from giving thanks to God as a nation.
      By the way, to whom are we giving thanks to if this is not a Judeo/Christian nation according to the words of O?


    To Jeremy Leochner: I’m afraid that DEM ship of pure Liberalism has sailed a long time ago…never to return, most likely! We need a Constitutional/Libertarian party led by Rand Paul in 2016 as president!

    To AK TOM: Thanks for buttressing my argument & enlightening me on some details I did not know!

    I encourage all to read the great work of Longfellow, “Song of Hiawatha”…the Natives bloodlust in poetic terms!

  • George Vieto

    I am thankful for my job as an online journalist with Allvoices, Word Girl Wiki and Devianart.

  • http://naver samurai

    Sook Young and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, no matter which side of the fence you are on. Let us give thanks to God for all he has done for us this year, as this day was set for us to do. Let us give thanks to God, just as our Christian founding fathers did before us.

    “I invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States and also those who are at sea and those in foreign lands to set apart and observe Thursday as a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

    Abraham Lincoln
    October 3, 1863

    “I have therefore thought it fit and do hereby appoint Thursday a day of public thanksgiving and praise. Hereby calling upon ministers and people to assemble and join so rational and delightful an exercise rendering to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us.”

    John Hancock
    September 16, 1790

    “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith.”

    The Mayflower Compact

    “I do issue this my proclamation, hereby appointing Thursday a day of public and solemn thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God, earnestly recommending to all the good people to set apart the said day for those purposes.”

    Thomas Jefferson
    November 11, 1779

    “I do recommend and assign Thursday to be devoted by the people to the service of that great and glorious Being (GOD) who is the benefecient author of all good that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.”

    George Washington
    October 03, 1789

    Much cut and pasteing has been done by the militant atheist to rewrite our history, to claim our Christian founding fathers were anti-religion and disbelievers. This has even found its way into the school system and the lie is presented as a fact to those unaware of history and the truth. The truth is that all our founding fathers, writers of the Declaration of Independence, writers of the Constitution, and even the Bill of Rights were very religious. Yes religious and spiritual and Christian. The truth needs to be preserved should those who hatemonger against Christianity rewrite it. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY! 하나님하고 나라를 위해서!

    You need both love of country and faith in God to be a patriot.


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