Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks Amidst Adversity

Tomorrow our nation will celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, first signed into being by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the War Between the States in October of that year and written by then Secretary of State William Seward. Its purpose was to "set apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

Something for which we can all be grateful this year is that, for the first time, our nation will add another long awaited, highly important observance: On October 8 of this year, the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2008 [Public Law #110-370] was signed into law
to honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the United States on November 28, 2008 and every year thereafter. At long last we have set aside a day on which to celebrate the People who were here before any of us, and whose iconic cultures have set the standard for honor, courage and reverence for the natural world.

Today, as then, our nation faces multiple major crises, perhaps even more serious than ever before: an unending war, loss of world stature, financial and economic crisis, human rights violations and indeed our very way of life at risk, as our Constitution and Bill of Rights remain under constant assault through the abrogations which have already occurred throughout the tenure of the present administration and already the next, with their insistence on running a candidate whose previously held citizenships in Kenya and Indonesia automatically render him ineligible, not being a natural born American citizen.

It can be difficult indeed to summon an attitude of gratitude and thanks while we labor under this cloud of chaos and fear. Interestingly, late last night as I surfed the channels for a brief distraction, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" is too good a film to pass by, so I watched. After that came "Fast Food Nation," followed by "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Shawshank Redemption," all of which I had seen before, and all of which are so compelling as to make it impossible not to see them again. Like a tongue obsessed with seeking a broken tooth, films like this compel us to watch them, again and again. Why? Because they tell the truth. Regardless of outcome, the Truth is all we have, and if we don't accept it we cannot begin to set things right. As painful as it is, we cannot ignore it, lest it happen again, lest we become so dead to reality as to become bigger pawns than we already are.

And so, I watched. Strange as it may seem, and painful as it is, I salute those about whom these films are made; I salute the actors, directors and producers who are willing to make them, and thus spread truth to the mainstream, where action takes root. And, often, just when I find it most difficult to bear, I remember that, no matter what, we shall always have truth, and for that alone, I have gratitude. Truth is always there, if we let it in and share it. It may be brutal sometimes, but it is always clean and direct, and provides the ground from which to build.

Yes, there are still thousands of troops in the Middle East and still more waiting to deploy, many for their third and fourth tours; our nation is still plagued with all manner of crisis, our government has instituted rendition torture policies, [if you do nothing else today, see SusanunPC's NoQuarterUSA article on "Alienable Rights,"] trampling our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Staggering amounts of money continue to be funneled to ailing corporate institutions who have failed to observe sound business practices and now demand--and GET!--humungous bailout after humungous bailout as our deficit soars, and main stream media has completely abdicated its responsibility to report any of it, its most recent transgression being the refusal to carry the biggest news in election history: namely, there are some 17 lawsuits going forward to challenge the president designee's citizenship eligibility, two of which have now landed in the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue is not about where the president-designee was born; it is the fact that he is NOT a natural born American citizen and thus by running, has violated Article II Section 1 Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. [See for an excellent explanation] The fact that our Constitution has been abrogated is horrifying; the fact that there ARE people who realize that and are working to protect it is a source of eternal gratitude.

Be that as it may, we still have much to be thankful for: the love, support and delight of friends and family; duty, honor, courage and integrity; love and compassion wherever we may find it; the special brand of creativity, innovation, commitment, passion and patriotism that can be found in so many--the list can be endless, and, in times like these, it is ever more important to remember to give thanks every day. And, always and all ways, it is Truth we must hold most dear, for it is only in Truth that we can find our way.


  1. After viewing "Burying My Heart at Wounded Knee", I too felt the range of emotions that you experienced. We owe so much to the true warriors, the Native Americans, and in many ways they are the embodiment of the PUMA spirt. Gold, you are truly PLATINUM! Your eloquence and depth of character are emitted through your words, and capture the PUMA ideal. Thank YOU for your devotion and as we continue on our journey, I look forward to sharing it with you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all those you love.

  2. petunia, I am duly honored by your kind words, and send them back to you!