Grab as much as you can, They ain’t producing more
Some Americans might spend the Thanksgiving holiday genuinely extending their gratitude to the Native Americans for teaching and helping the European pilgrims harvest the adopted land, and reflecting on the saga of ultimately hurling the indigenous into perpetual extinction. However, most of us – the conveniently patriotic Americans – though feeling sporadic remorse for the helpless natives who witnessed the extermination of their children, homes and cultures, enjoy the day indulging in freshly roasted Turkey, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie, and in jubilance of early bird sales, vacations, football games and new Hollywood releases. And why not rejoice our homeland for we are fortunate to possess its grants in profusion, attained handily, with the sacrifices made by the natives.
Notwithstanding the perennial debate contemplating the nobleness behind this holiday, or the perplexity behind its evolution from being a day of paying earnest homage to one of mere leisure, the question arises, is this land, its natural resources and the democratic values instilled here enough for us or not?
NOT! Or so it seems from our demeanor.
Centuries after the original Thanksgiving celebration, after learning to harvest and preserve this land, our insatiable appetite for superfluous resources incessantly drives us into more and more lands alien to us: Out of 192 countries on the planet, our military has installations in over 140 of them; only a small fraction of some 200,000 troops at such installations provides legitimate security to U.S. embassies. These deployments have existed since World War II, decades before the outset of the current ‘war on terror.’ Driven in part by our paranoia we like to stretch ourselves thin in order to protect and counterbalance other wealthy nations against falling prey to some non-existent super power. Our lack of trust even in our European allies and in the vulnerability of democracy and capitalism drives us to keep our armed forces stationed in countries like Germany in overwhelmingly large numbers 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall. Have we counted how many foreign military installations exist in our homeland? That’s right; it’s only we who uphold the innate right to be ubiquitous.
In many cases, we keep our conscience clear by labeling our troop deployments across the globe as peacekeeping missions. We regard ourselves the guardians of peace and discipline without whom there could be no prosperity in the so-called uncivilized world which has a more profound history than our own. Meanwhile, we hunt natural resources such as readily available oil in foreign lands because we are too afraid to convince oil companies to undertake costly projects in our own homeland and create jobs in the process, or to even use our own oil until we suck every last drop of it from others. We are only about five percent of the world population but consume over 25 percent of the world’s oil. Perhaps, instead, we owe gratitude to the oil companies that are patriotic enough to not pollute our environment as they carry out drilling projects in Central and South America and contaminate their rivers. Above all, it’s only noble to maintain our predecessors’ traditions and constantly reap access to foreign lands and resources even though we have environmentally friendly options at available home.
In our chase for extraneous lands we deem it necessary to neglect the people on the very land that we thank the natives for. Our extraordinary emphasis on the perceived external threats makes us jeopardize our internal security such as a crippling economy at home. Our unfathomable logic drives us to squander financial and human resources throughout the world while we can use them to sustain what we already have.
We, the conveniently patriotic Americans, allow our over-indulgence in entertainment to stymie our intellectual capacity and avert our attention from the real domestic security issues. Since we put our trust in a handful of powerful individuals to resolve our problems, run our lives and decide for us that when things get worse as seems inevitable for us here at times, we will simply carry on our tradition and make another pilgrimage to another foreign land conveniently inflicting ignominious annihilation to its natives. And once we get more land, our generations to come will have more reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.