A Brief History of America’s Bullshit

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Each year, the United States recognizes the second Monday in October as a national holiday. It’s the celebration of Columbus discovering America in 1492. I’m not sure why we celebrate this. Dude is given far too much credit, especially given certain circumstances.

In 1621 Plymouth Colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a autumn harvest feast which we now refer to as the history of Thanksgiving. I don’t know off the top of my head if this was before or after settlers stole the land from the Indians. I kind of think it was maybe in the ‘process of,’ like some sort of teach us what you know so we can rob you of everything.

BTW, at this point in time if you weren’t Native American Indian then you were an immigrant. So basically, our country was founded, I’m sorry- wrong choice of words- stolen by immigrants. You know, immigrants? The same type of humans Trump won’t STFU about or give up on banning? Yeah.

Now, Thanksgiving didn’t really become recognized until our first (and only great) Republican President, Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1864, five months before he manipulated congress to pass the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. Go, Abe!

Let’s review before moving on- technically all Americans come from a bloodline of immigrants, who took over land rightfully belonging to natives and then forced others into slavery to work that land.

Fucked up much?

Back to Thanksgiving. Abe declared the national holiday of Thanksgiving which had some but not all to do with the autumn harvest shindig that took place in 1621. Abe’s story is told as to give “thanks and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Good ol’ Abe.

In 1952 someone came up with what I’m assuming was a greedy and somewhat selfish idea of declaring the Friday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the first shopping day of the now commercialized holiday, Christmas. I say ‘now commercialized’ because it’s so not what Christmas originated from.

Over the course of decades Black Friday would expand throughout the entire weekend ending on Cyber Monday. The first Cyber Monday took place in 2005 and was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman. This is now the biggest internet shopping profit day of the year.

During the 2008 recession Americans spent an estimated 50.9 million dollars during Black Friday weekend. Seriously, people? Y’all losing your houses but nothing can stop Black Friday? To this day the financial downfall of the housing crisis is still being tallied but according to both Forbes and the New York Times it’s estimated in the trillions. So I get it, what’s 50.9 million dollars in the grand scheme of things? Well, a ton of fucking money.

It’s not enough that Americans have a day where they go out and buy unnecessary amounts of stuff because they’re expected to do so but now we have YouTube so we can watch videos of riots and people being trampled and beaten to death over discounted merchandise.

A for instance of this would be in 2013 when an 83 year old woman was shot and robbed of the Xbox One she just purchased at Walmart on 32nd Street and Thomas Road in the Arcadia District in Phoenix, Arizona.

Shout out to the American way.

Present Day.

We have a subscription to our local (independently owned) newspaper. That’s right, print that we can hold and shuffle through. Ah, how I love the crisp sound with each turn of a page.

On Thursday morning, Thanksgiving day, I opened our front door to an enormously sized paper roll inside a blue plastic bag.

This must weigh 20 pounds, I said to my husband.

It’s bigger than the Sunday edition, he responded. What could possibly be in there?

Our son works in a cooperate owned retail store at an outlet mall off the interstate. This is the only retail shopping center for all the surrounding small towns. The store opened at 6:00 PM Thanksgiving evening and remained open through the following night (Black Friday) until midnight. All employees were required to work during this time.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and gratitude for all we are provided, family and sharing a giant ass meal together filled with yummy dishes brought by each member. It’s the change of the season, the spirit of autumn harvest and breaking bread. Why can’t we just allow Thanksgiving to be what it was intending to stand for?

Only in America could we transform this holiday into a means of commercialized profit.

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Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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