(…just a bit of our folkloric myth as an excuse to stuff ourselves silly…once each year)

We Americans have managed to come up with a large number of myths about our history, not just about us as a nation, but as a people. Thanksgiving…is one of those…and a fairly recent one besides. It didn’t really come into its own until shortly after our bloody Civil War, when President Lincoln felt it was a proper way to help reconcile and heal ourselves from those four long years of mutual slaughter.

How or when the early Pilgrims were woven into it we don’t know, but it was probably done to assuage our guilt about the Indian Wars and the way we had dispossessed our Native Americans of most of their lands. In any event it did add cachet to the ideals which brought about the creation of our country. But it really wasn’t until the era of FDR and WWII when all of these aspects were effectively “re-mastered” into a more coherent whole and infused with a patriotic theme (our – Four Freedoms -) to help us sustain our morale during that hard conflict.

Today, however, it seems to be becoming less focused on those aspects of that story, and more and more becoming another one of those conventional national rituals we go through the motions of observing…with nearly a quarter of our population launching itself across our highways and byways (and air ways), in mostly foul travelling weather, just to do so…and otherwise signal the start of our annual binge of excessive consumption in celebration the holiday season that follows it.

Well, perhaps this Thanksgiving should truly be a moment to give thanks because… a wild and crazy election cycle has finally ended…and that in the process we haven’t quite become another “banana republic” yet…despite a nasty rise of extreme partisanship bordering on tribalism…and that, for better or for worse, we’ve chosen a man who would be Caesar, and for whom the Oval Office may just be the ultimate of “trophies” to add to his others (wives, properties,etc.)…to be our guide amidst the swirl of uncertainties that may surround us during the next four years.

Meanwhile, we hope our German-speaking friends will forgive the fractured translation we’ve used to explain our folkloric myth as an excuse to stuff ourselves silly…once each year.