Lance Scranton: Have a great Thanksgiving
November 21, 2017
One of the reasons Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday for me since making the United States my home is that it's in November. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated in October, as is the tradition up North. The other reasons include the football games and the opportunity to just be thankful. No need to get all politically correct or worry about offending anyone with discussions about a deity, a resurrection or a virgin birth. Just plain old thanks, appreciation and some time to enjoy America's greatest team sport. And, with a mere three or four weeks until the Christmas season (Winter Break, as it is now referred) just makes November and December a really special six weeks.
But all that has changed.
Even football has become politically charged, with players, politicians and owners embroiled in ongoing controversies surrounding the National Anthem. Doctors and scientists are attacking the sport from a medical viewpoint and are trying to pin blame on the game for all kinds of mental and emotional issues. America's greatest team sport is quickly becoming our greatest blame sport. Fans are tuning out, and the NFL is trying to figure out how to revitalize America's football tradition.
But that's beside the point.
Even if Thanksgiving takes a few hits this year due to the various controversies, it can still be a time we gather for a meal and simply express our thanks for the rich tradition of conversation and the fact that we are safe, blessed and live in a stable, functioning society. What most of us experience everyday has not been the historical norm throughout the history of this nation or even around the world. We get more than a little complacent about what we should expect everyday out of the country in which we live.
But now, even that has changed.
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If people proclaim their thanks for a country that has provided them with so much, they are immediately excoriated by others, who insist we shouldn't celebrate a country that was built on the back of injustice and racism. If people stand proudly for the National Anthem and observe a few minutes of respect and regard for the American Flag; they are met with resistance from those who see it as a symbol of divisiveness and hate.
But each of us can do something.
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated by the country during the height of the Civil War. I'm pretty sure there were some deep controversies and sharp divisiveness at the table on that first Thanksgiving. But the country endured, as it will through all of this, and I hope that all of you will carry an attitude of thankfulness around with you as this year ends. Say thanks by dropping some money in the Salvation Army bucket, and just look for ways to show the people around you that giving thanks is something we should do, not because we're perfect, but because we know we aren't and are appreciative that our country affords us the opportunity to strive toward that which makes us a better people and country.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.