The New York Times lined up its usual attacks against the supposedly dark hidden history of the Thanksgiving holiday, serving up heaping helpings of Western liberal guilt.
But with the woke left busy repurposing Thanksgiving as a day of Western guilt and genocide against Native Americans, Times columnist Paul Krugman counterintuitively, perhaps insincerely, portrayed the Thanksgiving holiday as something worth celebrating. Why? To bash Trump and his supporters as bigots, naturally in the piece: “Why Trump Should Hate Thanksgiving” (click “expand”):
So the imaginary “war on Christmas” wasn’t enough. Donald Trump and Fox News are now accusing progressives of waging a war on Thanksgiving, too, based on, well, nothing. But do Trump and his band of bigots even understand what Thanksgiving is about? If they did, they would hate this most American of holidays.
After all, the Pilgrims were refugees fleeing persecution by the English monarchy, which at the time was still an autocratic regime. They were, in other words, exactly the kind of people Trump and company want to keep out.
Furthermore, the traditional portrait of the first Thanksgiving is as a moment of racial tolerance and multiculturalism: European immigrants sharing a feast with Native Americans. That moment didn’t last: Much of New England’s native population was wiped out over the next few decades. And such an outcome may well have been inevitable. But we still celebrate the tale of a benign meeting of races and cultures.
It only take one Trump to make Krugman sound like a conservative defender of tradition:
Thanksgiving is, in short, a truly American holiday. Not only is it unique to our country, it’s a celebration of the values that actually make America great: openness to people who look or act differently, religious tolerance, sympathy for the persecuted, belief in human equality.
Since Krugman would never go against the left’s conventional wisdom without reason, we know we’re being set up for an attack on Trump and his supporters.
We are now living through another of those dark chapters. Trump and company are, without question, white nationalists whose values are far closer to those of European blood-and-soil authoritarians than they are to the American tradition. And the entire Republican Party appears ready to back Trump no matter how completely he betrays not just American values, but American interests.
A comparison to European dictators followed. Krugman tried to have it both ways here:
Trump’s efforts to spread fear of brown people actually seem to have backfired: Popular belief that immigrants make a positive contribution to America is at its highest point in decades.
Of course, if the numbers were trending in the other direction and showing increasing hostility to immigrants, Krugman would have surely blamed on that on the president’s rhetoric:
The point is that Thanksgiving isn’t a celebration of national triumph; it’s a celebration of the better angels of America’s nature. That’s why it’s a holiday true patriots, who believe in our nation’s underlying values, should love — and one people like Trump and his supporters should hate.
Columnist Charles Blow was on more familiar ground, explaining the real history of Thankgiving to the ignorant in “The Horrible History of Thanksgiving — Before you fill your plate, please remember why we mark this day.”
At least he didn’t spare himself from condemnation:
I thought it was such a beautiful story: People reaching across race and culture to share with one another, to commune with one another. But that is not the full story of Thanksgiving. Like so much of American history, the story has had its least attractive features winnow away — white people have been centered in the narrative and all atrocity has been politely papered over.
So, let us correct that.
Blow cited an unacademic source for his potted history (click “expand”):
As Grace Donnelly wrote in a 2017 piece for Fortune:
The celebration in 1621 did not mark a friendly turning point and did not become an annual event. Relations between the Wampanoag and the settlers deteriorated, leading to the Pequot War. In 1637, in retaliation for the murder of a man the settlers believed the Wampanoags killed, they burned a nearby village, killing as many as 500 men, women, and children. Following the massacre, William Bradford, the Governor of Plymouth, wrote that for “the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”
Just 16 years after the Wampanoag shared that meal, they were massacred.
Blow berated himself for ignorance, which at least is a step up from berating others, as op-ed contributor David Silverman did in a piece whose very headline sounded like a parody of woke leftism: “The Vicious Reality Behind the Thanksgiving Myth — If Americans continue to insist on associating the holiday with Pilgrims and Indians, the least we can do is try to get the story straight.”