That Was Then, This Is Now: How Obama Has Changed Thanksgiving *Open Thread*


On the eve of Thanksgiving, there are a couple of good articles about how George Washington and Abraham Lincoln perceived Thanksgiving. The articles highlight why these Founders thought it was so important for us as a nation to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is a long-standing holiday (with a bit of a break) initiated by our First President. From the Daily Signal:

[…] National days of reflection are required to unify the American public in common sentiment. Washington had this in mind in issuing his rightly famous Thanksgiving Day proclamation of 1789.

First begun as a harvest holiday, Thanksgiving predates the founding of our republic. But in this first proclamation of the first year of his presidency, Washington gave a political direction to the holiday. As he said elsewhere, he wanted, through his example, “to establish a national character of our own.”

In doing his part to establish our national character, Washington was aware that we are a people capable of courage and assertion, able to win independence. He was likewise aware of our ability to choose, through representatives, a new constitutional order. (Click here to read the rest.)

This piece from the Federalist lays out the particulars of why Washington thought this Day was so critical for us:

[…] 1. In Service of God Versus Service to Others

Throughout his proclamation, Washington focuses on God and our relationship to him. Our duties are clear: “acknowledge His providence,” “obey His will,” “be grateful for His benefits,” “humbly implore His protection and favor,” and seek his “pardon for national and other transgressions.” In short, Thanksgiving should be “devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

Washington explains that greater freedom for the individual and entire nation will naturally flow from this godly inclination. Of the 432 words comprising his proclamation, he refers to God 15 times. Compare that with only two references in Obama’s, and those were included in quotations taken from Washington and Lincoln. Instead of serving God, Obama wants us to “give of ourselves in service to others.”

And that is the foundation for not just the national holiday, but indeed, for the foundation of the country.

But that justification, gratefulness for the divine providence, has been altered over time. The Federalist continues:

2. Executive Versus Legislative Dominance

A subtle but significant change in American politics has been the real and perceived shift in power from the legislative branch to the executive. Constitutionally, Congress has the greatest power among the three branches of government, so when Washington says, “Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me ‘to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer,’” he is fulfilling his obligation to execute the wishes of Congress. Inclusion, or in most cases the omission of, this reference to Congress indicates that structural shift.

Heaven knows we have seen a massive shift to the Executive under Obama’s reign. His numerous Executive Actions, while perhaps not as man in number as other Presidents, have more qualitative differences, like changing the law on Immigration, or changing the Affordable Care Act willy-nilly, all without the branch that WRITES laws, the Congress, are indicative of that shift.

I imagine this capitulation by the Congress to the Executive is an affront to the vision our Founders laid out for us so clearly, a vision of a land unlike any other. A vision for which we should be most thankful indeed.

Which leads us to this point:

3. Reflection Versus a Jacked-Up Historical Account

Inherent to Washington’s focus on divine authority is the need for people to reflect on the nation’s successes against what seemed to be insurmountable odds. The purpose of this reflection is to reinforce the link between genuine liberty, wisdom, happiness, and God’s grace. Not so, implies Obama. Instead, we are treated to a highly selective, illogical, and strange historical account and interpretation of Thanksgiving. He begins:

Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear.

The purpose of Thanksgiving is not about “generosity and partnership” between people. We may experience these as a byproduct of our focus on God, but they certainly aren’t causes. And while the Pilgrims did have good relations with several Indian tribes who did help them better cultivate the land, the colonists helped the Indians as well.

Obama overemphasizes the narrative of Indians-helping-Pilgrims so he force upon us a redefinition of what it means to give. (If a presidential proclamation can magically turn 9/11 into a day of volunteerism then nothing, not even Thanksgiving, will be safe.) To learn what life was like for the Pilgrims, including their relationships with the various Indian tribes, I recommend checking out William Bradford’s firsthand account in “Of Plymouth Plantation.” […](Click here to read the rest.)

But that isn’t all Obama has done. Our “illustrious” President has made this assertion as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, something I do not recommend at ALL. From the Daily Signal:

The Obama administration would like to you set aside some quality time with family and friends on Thanksgiving to promote a political opinion.

Explaining how lawmakers should “pass a law that would prevent somebody who’s on the terror watch list from being able to buy a gun,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest decided to encourage folks to use a holiday about gratitude to preach some liberal tenets.

“As people are sitting around the Thanksgiving table,” Earnest said, “talking about these issues, as they should, and as I’m sure they will, all across the country, I hope that’s a question that will be raised, and asked by members around the table—that if we’re going to have a serious discussion in this country about national security, let’s talk about some pretty obvious things that Congress can do.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Um, yeah, no. Not only is it a false meme on this whole “on the terror watch list and able to buy a gun” thing (h/t Facebook friend), but the idea of discussing politics in a group of people to push a particular narrative is a bastardization of what Thanksgiving is SUPPOSED to be on just about every level.

How about this, President Obama: try being thankful for living in the greatest nation in the world, one that imbues us with rights and privileges not found elsewhere, and for which people spend years trying to obtain? How about being Thankful for all our Founders did to envision a nation like ours? How about being thankful for our family and friends, and all the blessings bestowed upon us, as a people, and as a nation? How about an “attitude of gratitude,” as they say, rather than trying to strong arm people into a political position over Thanksgiving Dinner?

What a far cry this President is from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, am I right? That’s what I think anyway. How about you? This is an Open Thread.


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21 Responses to “That Was Then, This Is Now: How Obama Has Changed Thanksgiving *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    It seems the left cannot help themselves when it comes to trying to divide people. First the country and now the family. Little things like “tweeting” how to talk to your “Republican” Uncle on Thanksgiving. And Josh Earnest saying to talking politics when the family gathers to share good food and give thanks for the many blessings we all share.

    Our family decided long ago that we would NOT discuss politics at Holiday gatherings. We had enough fights over Football without adding politics. (Packers vs Bears is a family tradition.)

    All was well until Obama came on the scene. The Obots in the family would not STFU and went so far as to call family members racist.

    Now we have no large gathering. I will be “too ill” to join any of them again this year. If you go to one son’s house the other is angry so I don’t go at all. Any way too many of the granddaughters are Obots and still will not STFU.

    Lou and I do best when we give thanks together and by ourselves. I’m thankful for that.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      You ain’t only kidding, Marge. It is really astonishing the many and various ways in which Obama and his ilk have tried to divide this nation. Sadly, he has been more successful than I would have hoped…

      And I guess he and his Spokesweasel have never heard of not discussing politics or religion at these kinds of functions. It is supposed to be a HOLIDAY, after all, and one in which we are supposed to be full of gratitude, not anger and angst.

      LOL abt the Packers vs. The Bears. Yes, I can imagine that DID make for some interesting family gatherings! AHAHAHAHA…

      And funny abt being “too ill” to go to any family get-togethers this Thanksgiving. I can appreciate that it is hard to pick one kid over the other, but also the desire to not listen to Obots would be a powerful motivator all by itself!

      LOVE the cartoon – sums it up well!

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    Russian jet pilot says there were ‘no warnings’ by Turkey before plane was shot down

    Who to believe? Erdogan and Turkey or the pilot? That’s a tough one.

  3. foxyladi14 Says:

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    Russians may have a strong case in Turkish shoot down

    The shoot down of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16s
    raises a number of critical issues under international law that the U.S. needs to carefully navigate

    This is especially so since the result of the Turkish action was the apparently illegal killing by Syrian rebels of one of the Russian aircrew, as well as the possibly unlawful death of a Russian marine attempting to rescue the downed aviators.

    While President Obama is certainly correct in saying that “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace,” exactly how it may do so is more complicated than the president implies. In fact, the Russians may have strong legal arguments that any such right under international law was wrongly asserted in this instance.

    Once again President Dimwit ran his big mouth before knowing what he was talking about. No surprise there.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Holy moley. This is turning into quite a major thing, isn’t it? I mean, it was serious to be sure, but it seems to have more and more layers coming out abt what happened. Wow…

      And yes, once again, Obama shot his mouth off without including many facts. Apparently, that is a pattern with him.

      Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  6. lyn Says:

    Amen! Politics should be the last thing anyone wants to discuss on Thanksgiving.
    Thank you, Amy, for your insightful ruminations! ❤

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much, Lyn, I appreciate that!

      I am pretty sure that we are going to be watching the Parade, a dog show, and football with my younger brother and his family (our 13 yr old niece has already said the first two are a must, and we all like football, so there is that). Hopefully, there won’t be a lot of political discussion happening!

      Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

  8. kenoshamarge Says:

    The Giving Of Thanks

    It’s Thanksgiving, so happy Thanksgiving.

    As Americans we have a lot to be thankful for, even though we don’t take nearly enough time to truly think about it.

    Along those lines, and with full knowledge that it is a national holiday and you’re a.) fighting a tryptophan-induced coma; b.) watching football; and/or c.) preparing to stampede stores to take advantage of Black Friday deals, I’ll keep this short.

    Here is a not-all-inclusive list of what I’m thankful for.

    1) The calendar. Yes, it’s been a long seven years, but there are only 14 months left of Barack Obama’s presidency. It’s true that a lot of damage can be done in 14 months, especially with a wannabe dictator who holds the Constitution in contempt and possesses a magic pen and phone that allows him to bypass it. Even Hillary would be better than this guy. We’ll recover as a nation; we always have. And I’m very thankful that recovery can start in 14 months.

    2) Donald Trump. I’m not a fan of many of his policies or pronouncements, mostly because they’re nothing but promising to make things “great” and “the best” and are full of unnecessary vitriol and childish barking. But he has forced a few issues to the forefront of the public consciousness. Immigration would still be an issue this cycle without him – but it would be discussed with pandering acquiescence, not national sovereignty, at its core.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much for this, Marge. There will be a Thanksgiving post coming up at 10, just in case you want to re-post this good piece!

      Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  9. kenoshamarge Says:

    WaPo Wants Americans To Eat Jell-O Like It’s The Cold War Again

    The Washington Post seems to think the Cold War is still ongoing, because it suggested that mayo is an acceptable Jell-O topping. Perhaps escalating tensions between Russia and pretty much every other country have set off alarm bells in WaPo’s newsroom. Their account tweeted out a recipe for an apple and celery Jell-O dish that looked like something from a 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook.

    I suppose the idea is to turn the usual Jell-O dish from a sweet to a savory. Back when my mom served the “latest” fad from the ladies’ magazines, lime Jell-O with carrots and celery with a dollop of mayo, we hated it. We rejected it twice and she returned to serving Jell-O with fruit and whipped cream.

    And yes it was “whipped cream” because Cool Whip wasn’t around back then. Now I suspect there is a whole generation that has never tasted the very real difference between “whipped cream” and Cool Whip. And that’s a pity. IMO

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I just saw that headline at The Federalist and shook my head. Wow…

      Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  10. kenoshamarge Says:

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