Thankful for a history of overcoming arguments, even about Thanksgiving

The iconic (if not totally accurate) "First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" by Brownscombe.

The iconic (if not terribly accurate) “First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” by Brownscombe.

Thanksgiving is here, and not a moment too soon. A nation weary from a divisive election is ready to go home and come together again, one plate of turkey and dressing at a time.

A day of gratitude seems like a balm for what ails us. So you may be surprised to learn how often Americans have argued even about this cherished day.

That took me aback as I read Melanie Kirkpatrick’s new book, “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience.” Kirkpatrick, a former editor for the Wall Street Journal (to whom, for full disclosure, I reported for part of my time with that newspaper), recounts how the holiday evolved thanks to various events and personalities.

Controversies, too. Within decades of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts, an annual day of “general” thanksgiving — for continuous blessings, not specific ones — was common in New England. But “only after a spirited theological debate,” Kirkpatrick writes. Some thought such a routine observance would “make people take God’s generosity for granted.”

The requirements of thanksgivers also varied. Though the Pilgrims played games on their first Thanksgiving in 1621, and Dutch settlers in modern-day New York did likewise, New England law held that “days of thanksgiving were treated like the Sabbath — as days of rest,” Kirkpatrick writes. “Work and entertainments were banned. Violators faced fines and other punishments.” In 1696 a man near Boston was fined 10 pounds and forced to stand for an hour in the stocks for plowing a field on the holiday.

George Washington made the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, but only after a debate in Congress about whether it was up to the executive, or the federal government at all, to proclaim such a thing. (The custom was, and long remained, for state governors to declare such days.) Thomas Jefferson refused to follow suit, saying he did “not consider (himself) authorized” to declare a holiday with religious meaning due to the First Amendment. When Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 moved Thanksgiving up by a week to allow more time afterward for Christmas shopping, everyone from college students to calendar makers complained.

Speaking of college students, the roots of Thanksgiving football go back farther than I had imagined. The first turkey-day games were played in the 1870s, with Princeton and Yale kicking off the tradition that is now better known for involving the NFL’s Detroit Lions (since 1934) and Dallas Cowboys (1966). But this, too, has had its ups and downs: Journalists lamented that the games distracted fans from the day’s original intent of gratitude and reflection, and college faculty were appalled by the alcohol-fueled revelry.

We’re not even sure when — or where — the first day of general thanksgiving in this country took place. We all learn as children that Thanksgiving was handed down to us by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1621. Not so, say those in San Elizario, Texas, who claim Spaniards and Native Americans near what is now El Paso beat them to it by 23 years. Bah! say partisans from St. Augustine, Florida, who argue other Spaniards and Indians did the same way back in 1565. Virginians claim the first New World thanksgiving with Englishmen took place there two years before Plymouth’s Pilgrims prayed.

The Pilgrims won out in popular culture as the turkey-day trendsetters, but even that belies a historical curiosity: Their first feast with the Wampanoag Indians was largely forgotten by Americans until some documents from the Plymouth settlement were rediscovered in the mid-19th century.

Read in the context of contentious 2016, what stood out to me was not just how often we’ve argued about a day now considered peaceful. It was how distant those fights — not to mention others, about far more significant topics — are in our memories now.

So, take some time today to be thankful that, as good as we are at being at odds with one another, we’re even better at remaining one in the end.

Reader Comments 0

100 comments
AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Funny how jill stein can now raise money like she's hillary clinton. 10-1 says the clinton crime family has been behind this from the very beginning.


Nothing is beneath them.

Dimick
Dimick

Hillary's "must accept the election results and move on"  hypocrisy  is busted by the media. 



Dimick
Dimick

No, to Mitt for anything. 


Yes to Hillary in a orange jump suit and continued government housing in a taxpayer 9'X12' room.

Move over Bubbette, you gotz company !


:)

Dimick
Dimick

How is it  a general gets locked up for mishandling secret  government documents and Hillary Clinton doesn't? 

Hillary belongs in the Big House not in our White House. 

How is it Martha Stewart goes to jail for lying to the FBI and Hillary Clinton lies to the FBI does not do any prison time? 


LOCK HER UP!!



The double standards of Democrats puts the Clintons' above the law. 



lvg
lvg

@dimik Coming next from the alt right - Lock up Comey for getting bribed by the Clintons.

Dimick
Dimick

@lvg @dimik 

Go fund the Stein's Green Party rip-off recount scheme  that won't mount to anything. 

Next the fools and their money soon part, as  President Trump takes office and a go fund Website is set up for Comey's retirement.

Hillary and her supporters remain the angry laughing stock losers the nation DEPLORES.   

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

You child like narcissists opened up the question of the legitimacy  of our elections, too stupid to understand that, while we are on the subject, we should also review your over indulgence of foreigners casting their illegal ballots on your behalf. Thanks for the opportunity.


The barn door has been flung wide open and the cows are, um, on the rampage.


Deal with it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Yes, let's talk about legitimacy. How legitimate is a political party who's hand picked leader resides in the federal penitentiary? You really want to ride a full, honest and open investigation of the clinton foundation?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@IReportYouWhine

LOL. Your new führer is the most corrupt person to ever enter the oval office. Plus, he is also the most illegitimate. It's not looking good for him, IRYW, and he hasn't even gotten started.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder @IReportYouWhine In case you haven't noticed, eyeball, your only recourse in the future direction of this great nation is to whine and moan on the floor of the Senate. Your idea of legitimacy is quite ridiculous considering your lowly station. I don't understand why y'all want to keep getting beat on.


You just do not understand what you are up against.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I know this would be a broken promise but since broken promises seem to be the order of the day, I say special prosecutor.


LOCK HER UP.

lvg
lvg

@IReportYouWhine Why not just execute the opposition leaders like in other fascist dictatorships?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Most importantly....THE HELL WITH GEORGIA!!!!! 28-27!

Dimick
Dimick

@RoadScholar


If you liberals had the electoral college votes of the Georgia delegates Trump would not be our President elect. Nothing will change the outcome by counting a million times and find a million individual popular vote ballots cast for any one of Trump's opponents. 

270 electoral  college delegate votes are the only votes that count. 

No Dorothy Stein, you are not in the land "ObamaZ", and every vote does not count in the Republic of the Untied States of America pay attention to those 270 delegates behind the curtain who can elect the President. 

So click those ruby slippers together and awake in Kansas where Donald Trump is your President elect . Time for the leftwingers get on down, get on down the road.  


Mick

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@RoadScholar Those wins over Georgia are so rare, I don't blame you, get it out of your system, it may be awhile before you get the chance again.

lvg
lvg

@RafeHollister @RoadScholar Johnson loves to win in Athens so he can see the Georgia fans pee all over themselves in shock and then tear up those hedges in a victory dance.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Beginning with Obama's apology tour and the infamous reset, followed by Obama's open mic, when he asked Medvedev, to assure Vladimir, that he could do more when he got reelected, Putin has written the Obama administration off as weak and incapable of stopping his quest for a new Soviet Union. Now the brainwashed far-left dupes are talking about a Trump bromance. It would be laughable if Obama's, weak lead from behind foreign policy had not have been so damaging to our national security.

lvg
lvg

Trump's bromance with Putin continues with his latest candidate for Sec. of State:


""Rep. Dana Rohrabacher had an odd warning last week for the Heartland Institute. The conservative think tank was hosting a conference challenging the notion of “whether man-made global warming is a problem worth addressing.” Rohrabacher, a prominent climate change skeptic who once suggested that “dinosaur flatulence”  might have been responsible for past fluctuations in global temperatures, was delivering a speech entitled, “Global Warming as a Power Grab.”

"""In light of Rohrabacher’s repetition of Birch Society talking points, one might assume that he has maintained a rigorous skepticism, if not paranoia, about Russian designs on the world. Rohrabacher worked as a speechwriter for fellow Californian Ronald Reagan and, after winning his first term in Congress in 1988, traveled to the wilds of Afghanistan to join mujahadeen fighting the Soviets. “I was Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare,” he boasted in an interview earlier this year.  But in a befuddling foreign policy about-face, Rohrabacher is now Putin’s best friend on Capitol Hill.

When Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March, Rohrabacher warned fellow conservatives against settling into a familiar foreign policy worldview. “The Cold War is over,” he said. “Putin is not Satan.”

That month, he was one of just 23 House members to vote against a $1 billion aid package to the wobbly Ukrainian government. The following week, he voted “present” on a resolution condemning Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, a measure that earned the backing of 402 House members."""

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/20/meet-the-putin-loving-congressman-who-s-worried-about-fluoride-in-our-drinking-water.html


Gotta reward the Russian strongman with another one of his buddies who has appeared on RT for helping Orange Clown get elected. Between Flynn and this guy, Russians will control US foreign policy.


RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Excellent opinion piece on why the left was so gobsmacked. 


http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/24/paul-krugman-illustrates-the-damaged-political-psyches-of-the-left/


You could see the Left settling into this routine: they have the media, they have the colleges, they have the youth when it comes to numerous important metrics, and they had the presidency for the foreseeable future: Hillary Clinton was more or less ordained, she would re-make the Supreme Court in her image, and they assumed that changing demographics would ensure them both the executive branch and Congress for years to come. Upon this foundation—one of seething, permanent Bush hatred mixed with a belief in their own infallibility—progressives constructed a political edifice of smug near-total self-assurance. Donald Trump’s nomination seemed to only set everything in stone: Trump of all people could never snatch the presidency away from Clinton, they reasoned, and in any case he wouldn’t dare. 

Starik
Starik

@RafeHollister Well, the bush hatred is justified, not the elder Bush, the lower case son.

Dimick
Dimick

I hope Trump rescinds every executive order Emperor Obama made, starting on day one of his Presidency. 

Dana Rohabacher is in the running for Trump's  Secretary of State good man and a better choice than all the others mentioned so far.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Isn't it ironic that all those folks who claim to be so fearful of Donald Trump, because he could be too authoritarian, are Castro lovers.   They excuse his political prisoners, his executions, his murders, his imprisonment of the population, his meddling in other countries affairs, and brag about his healthcare system.  A healthcare system that no one in the world, who can afford good medical care seeks out, when they are seriously ill.

lvg
lvg

@RafeHollister As soon as Cuba allows a Trump hotel or low wage factories for Ivanka's  knockoff women's accessories, relations will be normalised.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@lvg @RafeHollister What is the total Cuban economy?   Those old Chevy's and Studebakers are probably the most valuable asset other than the real estate.  


Maybe Trump could afford to buy the island and free those long suffering abused people that Castro holds against their will.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

I can't help but wonder how any who served in the military during the Vietnam war that can forget the Castro regime's contribution to the torture techniques administered to our POW's in the North Vietnaimise prison camps. The Cubans demonstrated first hand on our troops the "how to do", to their friends in Hanoi. And we have Carter, Obama and the little slime ball president of Mexico lauding this Castro POS? Eff them and any on the AJC blogs who spurt kind words about Fidel Castro.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit Ugly, stupid war. Prisoners were mistreated by both sides.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit 

Ugly, war yes...but torture was by far and away the trademark of North Vietnam and its communist supporters. We at least would just kill them rather than insult their human dignity through torture.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@SGTGrit Carter never met a dictator that he didn't love.  He would even certify their bogus elections for them.  "Oh look, Chavez won 12 million and 19 votes to 112 votes, what a stunning victory.  He is supported by his people, so America should embrace our friend Hugo."


Or something similar, haha.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik Like the Bush administration?  In Vietnam, we simply turned prisoners over to the South Vietnamese, who did whatever they wanted with them.

lvg
lvg

@SGTGrit @RafeHollister Dumb SOB is only President who thought he could create a lasting peace treaty between Israel and some Muslims. How naive!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The Dawgs lose and Ohio State hangs on to win. Hillary, hangs on to the impossible dream. Lets make America great again. Good Bye, Hillary and Bill. And Good Bye to the Obama's. Fumigate the White House and lets move on.

lvg
lvg

@SGTGrit Hillary has state only one objective in the recount - evidence of foreign hacking of voting machines. Telling that Orange Clown and his followers screech "Unfair".

Dimick
Dimick

I had to - joyfully - congratulate my Cuban Neighbors on this long awaited event - Castors' death - a Cuban Freedom Day. 


I wish them well. As a young man I met the son of a well-to-do Cuban family who fled their home leaving behind everything they had but the clothing on their backs. For them  it was a "Riches to Rags" story the father of the family was a successful Veterinarian in Cuba who soon picked  up where he left off in Cuba going to work at a animal clinic located at that time in Chamblee GA on P'Tree Industrial. 

When you see immigrants like this family you realize the value of immigrants to our country. Mr Trump our elected President in waiting is right though we should interview these people, vet them thoroughly, to find out why they want to enter our country and for what purposes. Our immigration should follow the message the  Marines recruiting slogan advertises for "a few good men": like the family in this true life story or my Cuban Neighbors across the street that hit the U S  ground running ready to build a new life in a country of liberty and opportunity which will not take every dime they make or begrudge them for being successful without living on the taxpayers welfare dime. 

All this to say one thing clearly, not every immigrant coming to the U S is out to harm us, some as you will find in time, give the country what we need.    


Mick

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

The left glorifies the life of a man who was directly responsible for the murders of at least 10,000 of his own people.


Any questions?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Mexico's president all friends of the brutal socialist dictator Fidel Castro. President elect Donald Trump, not so much.

Dimick
Dimick

Ford plans to build a line of SUVs' in the USA instead of building them in Mexico as was planned. 


The Dow Jones sets historic record highs


Thank You, President elect Trump

Dimick
Dimick

Cuba can never be that so-called country of freedom as long as it remains Communist or, even under socialist control.   

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Trump says Castro leaves a legacy of "firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights."



But Trump also is looking ahead.



He says that while Cuba "remains a totalitarian island," he hopes Castro's death "marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve."



Trump says his administration will do all it can "to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty," and he says he's joining many Cuban-Americans in the hope "of one day seeing a free Cuba."



http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/latest-castro-death-catches-cubans-surprise-43789469



What a yuuge opportunity. Squeeze the tinpot raul like an overripe tomato and then offer the chance for freedom to the oppressed citizens of this beautiful island country. Open a Trump Casino and Resort in Havana to lead the way. Watch the lib heads explode.




Dimick
Dimick

@IReportYouWhine


On of the last places in this world the Trump family should open a casino is in Cuba.

President Trump needs to open up jobs in this country

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@dimik @IReportYouWhine The new jobs created and those returning to this country are a given. As people's disposable income and wealth increase, a newly liberated Cuba, free from communist tin pots, would make a lovely vacation spot.


President Trump will get it done.

Dimick
Dimick

If you have or in the future contract cancer if you want to live your best bet is to stay in the USA. 

So which do you want free healthcare that kills you or healthcare that gives you a fighting chance to live longer?


We may have the most expensive healthcare but it is very good medically speaking. 


And I should know, I'm a three year survivor of a rare mixture of a deadly cancer. True, treatment costs a fortune but I avoided medical bankruptcy or a huge debt thanks to the ACA and the Hospital. 

Proof is in the pudding I'm far from wealthy and a few thousand shy of qualifying for Medicaid and my treatment costs where close to a half million dollars when all was said and done. 


Trump's vow to keep the best parts of the ACA in making his reforms to healthcare will provide a safe guard. What you really want to do is to pressure, if you are on Medicaid is press your State legislators to approve casino gambling to fund our hospitals and enhance Medicaid to cover the forgotten 600,000 Nathan Deal refused to help. It will take more than cutting costs or the sales of insurance across State lines or HSAs' or the stupid notion high risk insurance pools will make your healthcare fantastically cheap. It won't and Tom Price will not write in his healthcare the necessary federal subsidy to cover the high risk insurance costs. I dare you Tom Price  to publicly tell the folks you will give them subsidies to offset the costs of "high risk insurance".

Write President elect Trump and  remind him of the things he said in his campaign running on the "conservative populist agenda" concerning Healthcare. Paul Ryan and Tom Price  are part of the GOP establishment that you Mr. Trump ran against. They are up to their eyeballs in corporate swamp water.  The corrupt swamp you promised to drain?

lvg
lvg

Cuba has a better basic health care system than the  US; and it provides medical training to Americans who are willing to provide health care to the poor in the US. Cancer drugs being tested and approved by FDA. Terrible country.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@lvg Yeah, that's why everybody in the world wants to live there.


So how's the weather today up there on the moon?