Thanksgiving: From A Democrat and Republican perspective
Happy Thanksgiving! I love living in Hong Kong but at times like this you really feel the pull toward family back home and gathering around the dinner table to celebrate… and if you are a Detroiter…to console each other after another discouraging loss by the Lions!
But did you know we have Abraham Lincoln to thank for this holiday? Yep, it wasn’t “the pilgrims” as commonly assumed. Before 1863 the various states did their own “thanksgiving” holidays but Lincoln, watching his country being torn apart by civil war, felt there needed to be a common day of Thanksgiving that all Americans could share.
That’s why on Oct. 3, 1863 “Honest Abe” issued a proclamation declaring the 4th Thursday of November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving!
…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, withhumble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
As I read this a couple things came to mind. One, the line from the movie National Treasure where Nicholas Cage, reading the Declaration of Independence says in admiration, “They just don’t write like that anymore.”
The second is how much certain sections of the proclamation, if given today, would inflame both the Conservative Republicans AND Liberal Democrats.
So here’s a look at Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclaimation…from both points of view! Enjoy 🙂
The Liberal Democrats: “Wait a second, do we really need another ‘white male’ trying to impose his values on us?”
“And what’s all this “God” stuff? Thanksgiving should be for all Americans (including, but not limited to, green card holders, foreign students, vacationing families, and illegal immigrants that can produce a fake social security card) as well those who don’t believe in God. Why is the holiday only for Christians?”
“And “beneficent Father”? I think if we have to tolerate a religious holiday, it can at least be gender neutral… so let’s say God can be “beneficent parent”…OK? Of course, so many of our children have negative images of a parent. We’ve heard that some parents have even <gulp> spanked their kids.”
“Couldn’t we drop the God thing altogether and just have a day off to watch football?”
The Conservative Republicans: “See, I told you, Lincoln can’t even give a Thanksgiving speech without talking about the ‘widows’ and the ‘orphans’. Glen Beck was right about this guy. Did you see that segment on FOX news last night where he drew that diagram showing how Lincoln is a Trojan horse that is going to make America into a socialist state? It was so clear I can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier.”
“After that, I was so fired up that I went to the first homeless guy I could find on the street and said, “Hey man, you still have one good hand. Go get a job you bum!” Yeah, that showed him…freeloader.
“And then, Lincoln says ‘God’ but I ask you, ‘What God’? All I can say is his God is not my God! We’re praying to different Gods…his God takes care of widows and orphans, and mine takes care of …”
You get the picture
As for me? I love the part in the proclamation where Lincoln includes “those who are sojourning in foreign lands” So, Steve here in Hong Kong will be following our 16th president’s lead and take an easy day at work, have a big meal with friends…and try to catch some football somewhere!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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