Naturally, I have read a number of "Thanksgiving" columns recently. I have noticed in most of them an underlying, but telling, similarity. We recognize, it seems, a definite need to give "thanks", but we don't really have a very firm grip on what or whom to give thanks TO.
Instead we offer thanks FOR things or FOR people or FOR benevolent attitudes or FOR certain human attributes (perseverance, courage, good will, etc.)....or as in the case of your column, we tend to thank our "good fortune" or Lady Luck..... (As in: "Thank you, blind chance?" "Thank you, Dice, for rolling our way?")
When Washington and Lincoln proclaimed this national holiday (American Thanksgiving) and made it "official", their thanksgiving focus was decidedly and unabashedly "Vertical" and specific. They gave thanks TO God FOR blessing. Today our thanksgiving focus has devolved into a shallow, amorphously undirected, "horizontal" expression of thanks FOR "stuff" TO whatever. We seem to be very unsure whether or not there is anyone, really, TO thank, at all. We are living in shallow, horizontal times. We have this "holiday" called Thanksgiving, and we have forgotten Whom to thank.
If Abe Lincoln were to issue his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation in today's climate of banal pluralism, Self-esteemism, Narcissism, he would be hounded, mocked and ridiculed into submission....He would be taken to the public whipping post for cultural re-education and "tolerance" training:
It is tragic to recognize today that such a theistically focused public expression of gratitude and thanks by a public official would no longer be tolerated by liberalism's current champions of political acceptability. The newly liberated secular rulers of Humanism's many dogmas have redrawn the spiritual map and redefined the job description for our leaders: Lincoln's and Washington's need not apply.
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