Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Three cheers for Thanksgiving

And I could see you comin home after work late
You're in the kitchen tryin to fix us a hot plate
Ya just workin with the scraps you was given
And mama made miracles every Thanksgivin
- Tupac Shakur

It's testimony to the universal appeal of Thanksgiving that a personality about as far away from a Norman Rockwellesque white-bread conception of American culture as one could get, the deceased rapper Tupac Shakur, could rhyme affectingly about gratitude to his mama ("a poor single mother on welfare/tell me how ya did it/there's no way I can pay you back") and include a great line about Thanksgiving.

We've just come through an incredibly polarizing presidential election season, yet tomorrow blue state Obama voters and red state Romney voters will be united around a common table loaded with all-American fare. Soccer moms and welfare mamas, NASCAR dads and metrosexuals, fans of Tupac and fans of Michael Bublé, liberals and conservatives, secular and religious, rich and poor and everyone in between -- all will plunge wholeheartedly into rituals remarkable for their sameness.

I've heard it said, and I agree, that Thanksgiving is the most simple, genuine and least commercialized of the major American holidays (of course it's followed by Black Friday where our baser instincts come out). When it comes to Turkey Day Americans of every stripe are "all in." Why? Are there lessons to be learned? Can the spirit of the Thanksgiving table begin to heal our national divisions?

It seems that, for one day at least, gratitude brings us together. I'll eat and drink to that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tupac's "Dear Mama" via By Way of Beauty

No comments: