The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Thanksgiving is a fraud!

By : Michael Wanzie
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As I flip over the hardware-store calendar to November and see that big-busted gal sitting on her John Deere in her daisy dukes…oh who I am kidding. My calendar’s November picture is of a group of Catholic nuns in full-on black & white habits playing ice hockey, but I digress. As we stumble from the bar into the month of November our thoughts unavoidably turn to “The Holidays.”

November is the month of our annual fraudulent celebration feast commemorating the “First Thanksgiving,” which by now we should all know did not take place anywhere near Plymouth Rock. The actual, fact-checked-and-proven, “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated a full 50 years prior to the Massachusetts gathering by Catholic colonists who were following Spanish explorer Don Pedro Melendez de Aviles. As far as commemorating the first Thanksgiving goes we don’t even get the month right! Records indicate Melendez first spotted what is now Florida on August 28, 1565. When he finally guided his 800 Catholic pals ashore on September 8, he declared the spot would hence forth be known as “St. Augustine” in honor of the saint on whose feast day Melendez had first glimpsed the Florida shoreline through his spyglass.

The writings of one Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, indicate he celebrated the first ever Mass on American soil and afterwards the settlers dined and also fed the local Timucua tribe, which had been hanging around the site for about 4,000 years waiting for some churchy-type folk to come serve them a decent meal. According to the provisions list of the seafaring party they would likely have feasted on a garlicky salted-pork and garbanzo bean stew with hard sea biscuits and red wine on the side. The good mannered Timucua would have contributed food such as local game, grains, squash and perhaps even gator tail. What is absolutely certain is that there was nary a turkey or a cranberry-anything anywhere in sight.

Historians and government leaders have long known all of this to be true yet we cling to the “fake news” and continue to embrace a false narrative because we as Americans cherish our heritage—real or imagined—and because as a people we are just plain stubborn.

Likewise, we continue to celebrate Columbus Day even though we now know Columbus did not discover America. There are numerous other examples of our trend of clinging to a tradition simply for the sake of tradition, even when the impetus for the tradition is proven to be misguided. In the end no real harm comes from our collective choice to do so. There is one tradition that is an exception to this rule, the ill-conceived and most-assuredly hurtful tradition of celebrating the Confederacy and wrongly honoring the men who committed treason by taking up arms against the United States Government. The arguments on both sides of this tedious and overly-long debated issue are numerous and quite emotional for many. I could write pages giving voice to those who—admittedly not always or only for nefarious or racist reasons—wish to preserve statues of Confederate soldiers and wish to keep the names of the like on various Southern public schools and highways and libraries. But there is no basis for further debate because
there is no precedent for these statues. No matter why one might wish to cling to these statues, there is one fact and one fact only that need be considered—that nowhere else in this entire country do we embrace, memorialize, honor or tribute those who have risen up to destroy our country.

It is a fact that the Confederacy declared itself separate and apart from the United States of America. They raised their own flag; separate and apart from the American flag. They established their own military and printed their own currency. In short, they declared themselves to be their own nation and that nation attacked the Unites States of America. Now one might argue the semantics of this brief overview but if we are going to cling to our traditions then let us cling to our tradition of not celebrating or honoring those who have risen up to destroy us. Only in the South and only in regard to this ill-conceived lust for romanticizing a shameful era of Southern heritage, which should only be preserved in our History books for sake of education and learning from out past, do we have the audacity to honor those who have attacked us.

When the day comes wherein municipalities and state governments begin to sanction the erection of statutes to honor Osama Bin Ladin or the Japanese troops at Pearl Harbor, only then would there be a basis for debate, but as it stands right now we as Americans do not honor those who have sought to destroy our system of government. Period. End of Story. No further debate.

Every single statue of every Confederate honoree without exception must be removed from the public square. The only thing open for debate is whether to photograph the statues prior to their destruction and relegate those pictures to the history books or to place the statures in appropriate historical museums. In either case there must be attendant text which explains that the majority of such statues were not erected to honor anyone to begin with but rather to disrespect and diminish African American citizens. THAT is also an indisputable FACT which cannot and should not continue to be ignored if we as a nation still claim to have a soul.

Michael Wanzie is a playwright and theatrical producer residing in Orlando. You may subscribe to his weekly WANZeGRAM performing arts & cultural e-newsletter by logging onto WANZIE.com.

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