Sagaponack Community Notes, November 24


The wind finally brought winter. The sound of leaves scattering across the street. The sound of wind against the house and, finally, this morning, the soft sound of snow, driven upon the glass skylights. Not as loud as rain, but of the same rhythm, came the beat of large snowflakes.It is Thanksgiving again and time to take stock of Things As A Whole.

I went to school at a time the textbooks and teachers first taught us about U.S. history by teaching us about Thanksgiving. It was a frenzy of colored construction paper, Pilgrim hats, buckles, feathered turkeys. In reality, most early colonies starved. And that is how Thanksgiving became so sacred to our culture.

We want to believe that cooperating and sharing is the best way to survive, but we have had a harder time proving it. Glossed over is the impact the capitalistic experiment in democracy has on the tribes and nations that preexisted its patronage. The answer is simple and almost complete: It annihilated them.

So, in fairness, using safety scissors, we were too young for that sad truth.

As you grow up, Thanksgiving loses some of its glow. For one thing, it is not half, even a fraction, as much fun to hang out with your own family. Maybe there has been a divorce, maybe acne. But you begin to see life as unfair, and pretty soon Thanksgiving is proof of a patriarchal scam. Plus, you hate turkey, and you are a vegetarian.

This may be the time you are ready to learn about relations between the U.S. government and Native populations. At this age, you can withstand very high fevers of self-loathing and still survive.

Then you come back to Thanksgiving. Maybe it is later in life. You dumped being a vegetarian; being a locavore is more your style. Wouldn’t you just love to roast one of those toms that have been strutting down near the swamp? There must be two dozen birds, so many that they outnumber the geese, at least in bulk. But it’s not worth doing the killing yourself—any heritage breed will do.

You’ve come to see Thanksgiving as cooperation and sharing, even if it’s symbolic, after all.

In the spirit of such intentions, wouldn’t now be a good time to show your solidarity with Standing Rock?

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