Each month has a banner with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang demonstrating the monthly theme. July shows patriotism and flags and bunting. August is summer sports and sunny days. September has the kids lined up with school books and lunch bags. October has pumpkins and trick or treating. And then comes November. I noticed it when I changed the month a couple days ago, but didn't really think about it until last night. The kids are there doing...nothing. They are standing. In a grassy field. They are holding bags or books, and just staring around.
Why? What was missing? Obviously the month's theme. And what theme would I have expected? A theme of pilgrims or turkeys or something to do with Thanksgiving, that's what. Yet nothing was there. It was almost flagrantly left blank. And that got me to thinking, as I am wont to do. Why did it so obviously, so brazenly, not include any references to Thanksgiving when every other classic theme was included?
The answer, I'm afraid, is that the long arm of politically correct censorship is reaching farther than we imagine. The power of the post-Western progressive movement is seeping into every nook and craney of our lives. It's obviously not an accident. It was purposeful. The artists and the publisher of the calendar are not lost on the fact that Thanksgiving is a rather big holiday in November. Knowing that, they still went out of their way not to include a reference to the holiday.
Now the secular progressive movement is, like most revolutions, based on a complete and total rejection of all things traditional. Anything and everything to do with the classical Christian foundation of Western culture is rejected. In order to do this, the myths of bygone days have to be exposed, and the 'Truth' revealed. The result, ironically, is not 'Truth' at all. A bad myth simply has replaced good myth. The pilgrims, like all European settlers, have been lumped into the category of genocidal racist imperialists. Their contributions have been stripped away, the positive dispensed, and the legacy dismissed. And lie based on some truth has been replaced by a lie based on almost no truth at all.
Many American Indians, happy to ignore any bad in their own heritage, and ride the wave of modern Anti-Westernism, use the day each year to rain on the parade of happy celebrants. Post-moderns use it to drive home the ludicrous myth of the pilgrims by revealing their unforgivable decimation of the beautiful indigenous peoples. And most Americans, unaware but taking it in by Osmosis, continue on their way, eating their turkeys, having their get togethers, watching their football games, not realizing that even as they wipe their chins of gravy, the very basis for their feasting is slowly being eaten away.
The religious components of the holiday have long been removed. Thanksgiving was obviously a religious celebration by a religious people. Scholars, always ready to ride the latest wave of hip thinking, have worked laboriously to strip away any notion that we should identify the holiday as purely religious; certainly we should feel no compunction to associate it with a Christian belief system.
Most of us who have children who watch PBS cartoons, or are vaguely aware of the surrounding culture, or who read the papers and articles brought home from public schools, can see the diminished role of thanks-giving. We see that being thankful is still a priority, but there is no particular recipient of our thanks. Our children are calleed to be thankful in some vague, ethereal way. That will be good enough. Anyone over the age of forty is aware of the change, however slowly it occurred.
Now, a new change is happening. While Thanksgiving remains a truly American holiday - for the time being - it is gradually disolving by the acidic effects of post-modern sensitivites. Already the first volleys are being fired. To invoke the pilgrims is to celebrate a genocide (that never happened). To remind ourselves of anything positive in the European Christian tradition is to do nothing less than give a wink and nod to the likes of Nazis and racist murderers.
Sure, we're not there yet. Give it a few decades to settle in. Eventually it will become bolder, more common, and finally accepted. By the time my youngest is in high school, I can't help wondering what it will look like. Certainly we can't get rid of our official kick off to America's annual frenzy of commercialism and greed. Something will have to be there. What it will morph into, though, I can only guess. But since I can still remember hearing about the pilgrims' thankfulness to God for their well being, and see what it has become in our modern popular understanding, the calendar that stands starkly in denial of this holiday bodes ill for what my boy will ever know.