The day before Thanksgiving is always strange for me these days because I find myself reflecting on the odd contradictions between what I learned in school about Thanksgiving and America’s origins, and what I now know about our nation’s dark history.
Like many nations, ours is a problematic one. We have beautiful aspirational ideals of freedom and equality, yet we emerged out of an historical soup of both genocide and a particularly brutal form of slavery.
Is it possible to reconcile such extreme historical sins with the abstract promises of equality and freedom for all? I suppose this is the problem that faces much of the world, since many of the nations that exist today were forged out of conquest and subjugation of other peoples.
Compounding this is the fact that for most people a collective amnesia about these inconvenient facts is a fundamental part of how they get through the day, the month and the year.
On the other hand, tomorrow will be a time I get to hang out with family and play with my wonderful nieces and nephews.
For that, I should remember to give thanks.