E.J. Dionne writes this morning about the politicization of Thanksgiving by the right in a column entitled “A holiday from bickering.”
Until I read E.J.’s column morning I was completely unaware that historians from the Tea Party had been training their sites on today’s holiday. Apparently the idea of sharing–even a meal–is an attack on rugged individualism, capitalism and the American way.
But I discovered this is nothing new. For the past few years the scholar Rush Limbaugh has broadcast The Real Story of Thanksgiving, cluing his listeners into the secret liberal plot to distort history and make Thanksgiving a tale about the blessings of socialism.
Rush tells his audience that liberal school teachers teach our kids that the Pilgrims…
…were just typical, dumb white people fleeing some other place they couldn’t manage to live in. And then, out of the woods came the wonderful Indians, who had great compassion, they were at one with the land, they were at one with the spirits, and they saw these incompetent, dupe white people dressed up in these odd, stupid, black and white hats and suits, and they befriended us, and they taught us how to plant corn and how to catch beasts and how to skin beavers to stay warm, and Thanksgiving is where we give thanks to the Indians.
The real story, says Limbaugh, is that the Pilgrims were celebrating capitalism after a disastrous experiment with socialism centered around collectivist property sharing.
Well, not exactly true according to a New York Times article examining the Tea Party’s case against Thanksgiving.
Historians say that the settlers in Plymouth, and their supporters in
England, did indeed agree to hold their property in common — William
Bradford, the governor, referred to it in his writings as the “common
course.” But the plan was in the interest of realizing a profit sooner,
and was only intended for the short term; historians say the Pilgrims
were more like shareholders in an early corporation than subjects of
Successful shareholders, as it turns out. So the truth is the Pilgrims were pragmatists and more like Warren Buffet than Mao.
Facts, of course, are often beside the point when it comes to the Tea Party version of history, which Jilly Gagnon has some fun with in A Tea Party Thanksgiving in the Huffington Post.
Gagnon writes about the real PILGRIMs– Protesting Indispensable Levies on Generally Reasonable Items and Maintenance. The Tea Party PILGRIMS were strong anti-socialists, of course, who opposed universal bloodletting.
They stood up for their right not to pay for either John the
Murder-Rapist’s drawing and quartering or his gaol, or for the costs of
instituting a unified disposal system for night-soil, or to lay new
roads that they couldn’t be absolutely certain they would use. Why? Because they loved freedom, that’s why.