The Thanksgiving Day tradition is a story of immigrants; refugees escaping persecution in their country. Not very different from the one suffered today by many who see this land as an oasis where people are able to freely develop their potential. There are more similarities than differences between yesterday’s pilgrims and today’s undocumented people regarding the circumstances that led them to migrate.
It is also a myth that indigenous people shared their dinner in 1621 with hungry colonizers arriving from Great Britain on the Mayflower. It is a tale of generosity, which is one of the values upon which the United States was founded.
However, History has nothing to do with this. It can be argued that, 56 years before, Spaniards were the first to have a celebration to thank God in what today is the state of Florida. Or that, instead of a banquet, the religious ceremony was held 16 years later, after a massacre of the Pequot indigenous people. That story is closer to the real relationship between natives and colonizers than a harmonious dinner.
In our time, Thanksgiving Day is a time to be with our family and friends, open our homes and, as an act of gratitude, share the blessings we enjoy.
However, this year things are different. The generosity expressed by Thanksgiving Day has been replaced in many places by resentment, and welcoming immigrants has been replaced by fear and hatred.
This did not happen out of the blue. It has been cooked up by politicians who chose to be incendiary demagogues instead of responsible leaders, until Donald Trump reaped the harvest. His candidacy gave many the credibility to express the hatred they had accumulated against those who are not white and Evangelical.
Today, tamales and turkey are together at our table as a reflection of the way this multicultural society becomes richer through diversity. We are respectful and we want to be respected.
Now more than ever, that generosity seemingly absent in many places is sorely needed. Times are hard, and they