My notice of it is a week late, but the piece is worth reading nonetheless. Dr. Thomas Fleming, of Chronicles, has a column in the UK Mail Online about the secular American high holy day of Thanksgiving. It’s a wonderful jeremiad against the heretical Puritan zealots, whose encounter with the Indians they so despised forms the basis of one of our fondest national myths.
Read Dr. Fleming’s column alongside Adam Miller’s fine piece on the real first Thanksgiving, which Catholic feast Fleming himself alludes to.
In earlier years, my reservations about Thanksgiving had largely to do with historical questions. Yankee Puritans were not the first to have a formal day of thanks. That honour, depending on one’s point of view, goes either to the Virginians who held some sort of celebration in 1619, two years before the Yankee ‘holiday’, or to Coronado’s Spaniards who in 1541 celebrated mass in Texas and feasted on buffalo meat.
There is more to this than historical quibbling. Yankee Puritans reinvented the American experience in the 19th century, leaving little room for Southerners or Catholics in their grimly nationalist conception. As a Catholic and part-Southerner, I am mildly offended by the dominance of the Unitarian, Leftist, anti-Catholic bias of the myths invented by the Harvard and Yale faculties and shoved down our little throats in school, when we were children. I wish Squanto had left the lunatics to starve.
The Puritans and Pilgrims came to America to impose their fanatical bigotry on anyone who got in their way – Indians, French and Spanish Catholics, and eventually Southerners. Cotton Mather, the great witch-hunter, explicitly argued that before the arrival of the Puritans the entire continent was under the control of devil-worshipping savages and Catholics. That is more or less the position taken by the Ivy League elite that owns and operates our government today. They hate everything I revere, and I return the compliment.