The Gawker Web site called it an “uninspiring first effort from our most literary president” and expressed hope that he would spend “a little more time on it next year.” Politico damned it with faint analysis — it was “basic” and “brief” and “tread lightly” to avoid controversy.
Mostly, the message reiterated familiar Obama themes of diversity, community and service. The opening line referred to Thanksgiving as “a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities,” and Obama called attention to “the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation.”
Although Dionne predicts that “a right-wing talk jock near you will soon be declaring the ‘indigenous communities’ reference as “un-American,'” count me out of that. Obama missed an opportunity to note the service of Native Americans in the armed forces a few weeks ago. Living as I do in the land of the Cherokees (with many of their descendants, including our Congressman Zach Wamp (R)) the Native Americans deserve the salute.
It’s also noteworthy that Native Americans tended to support the Confederacy during the Civil War. Since the Feds headed up most of the “Indian wars” (to say nothing of the Cherokee Removal,) that’s unsurprising. But it’s also dreadfully politically incorrect, and for another post…
The basic problem that the Obama White House has with Thanksgiving–and the reason for the mushy response–is that they are uncomfortable with the holiday’s religious nature.
Thanksgiving implies that we are thankful to Someone or something. That “Someone” is God. The secularist mindset that is deeply embedded in the current administration (and the Democrat Party as well) recoils at the idea. So he’s forced to dance around the truth, and did such a poor job of it that even a liberal like Dionne–along with others on his side–took note of it.
Dionne noted that Franklin Roosevelt was unapologetically political (and unashamed to quote the Scriptures) in his Thanksgiving message:
Contrast it to a Thanksgiving message Franklin D. Roosevelt offered in 1934 that was unapologetic in declaring his political goals. “Our sense of social justice has deepened,” Roosevelt insisted. “We have been given vision to make new provisions for human welfare and happiness, and in a spirit of mutual helpfulness we have cooperated to translate vision into reality. … We can truly say, ‘What profiteth it a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul.'”
A year later, Roosevelt was at it again. “We can be grateful,” he wrote, “that selfish purpose of personal gain, at our neighbor’s loss, less strongly asserts itself.”
I’ve come to realise that secularists would rather have us be godless failures than theistic successes. For a group of people who turn around and claim that science is the solution to all our problems, that’s pitiful.