When you scoop that spoonful of mashed potatoes into your mouth this Thanksgiving, just think of all of the Indians that had to die so that you could enjoy turkey and dressing with your family.

Or at least that’s how some would have it.

It wasn’t too long ago that Thanksgiving was considered a time to celebrate the things we had in common. But in recent years the holiday has been given over, like so many other things in our culture, to the politics of grievance. Everything, including holidays, must be sacrificed to the gods of resentment.

Thanksgiving began as a harvest festival and then was made official as a “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” as Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation put it. But it has now been appropriated by the political left as an anti-holiday ­– one more excuse to ponder how evil America is.

To the grievance mongers, Thanksgiving is, like so many other things, a symbol. In fact, to the grievance mongers, everything is a symbol, not of anything good but of something very, very bad. We are nothing more than the sum of our sins – particularly if we are white and privileged. Of course, being white itself constitutes being privileged, unless you can pass yourself off as Cherokee and run for president. Or if you have a cushy professorship at an elite university, a perch from which you can look down on people less privileged than you.

I’m trying to think of what my mother, who grew up poor in Georgia in the 1940s and ran away from home when she was fourteen, would have said if one of us had piped up at Thanksgiving dinner and complained about the oppression of Native Americans. We would have been reminded that we had been acting like what she termed “wild Indians” earlier that very day, and that we should be quiet, pass the gravy, and be thankful for what we have.

This is the thing about the grievance mongers: Despite their pious public denunciations of privileged status, they seem to believe that every person is born into a very rigid hierarchy, with white Americans at the bottom, and minorities at the top.

This is the theology of progressives. It is their own version of Original Sin: that (if you are white, and only if you are white) you are born bearing the weight of the politically incorrect depredations of your ancestors. The content of your character? The hardships you have had to overcome? These are things that are characteristics of individuals, and individuals hardly exist any more in the world of left-wing Groupthink.

If all you knew about the Pilgrims is what you were told by the diversity regime that controls the media and our colleges and universities, you would think the Pilgrims came here with guns in their holsters and knives clenched in their teeth to kill Indians and take their land. Well, the fact is, they didn’t. The Pilgrims themselves came to America to escape oppression. They were looking for a better life for themselves and their families. They were just trying to survive, and, if they were lucky, have a decent life.

God bless ’em.

As for my family, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. If someone wants to say that doing that is racist and oppressive, well, perhaps they should just try passing the gravy and be thankful for what they have.

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