Thanksgiving, no thanks

Jose+Soto

Jose Soto

Jose Soto, Staff Reporter

For Thanksgiving, I have a big slice of my mind to offer all of you: put down the fork and raise your awareness. There is nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. There is a reason to be thankful every day of your life—simply for waking up—but Thanksgiving is just a big fallacy. It is a big, fat, round joke.

I might be coming off as a bitter curmudgeon, but I assure you that I am not.

I simply do not believe such a holiday should merit so much attention.  First of all, let’s start off with the mere nature of the holiday. We are all spoon-fed—no pun intended—this bland tale that omits truth and fact.

The first Thanksgiving actually happened when Juan De Oñate, a colonist working under Spanish rule, came to our very own region and hosted a feast upon reaching the Paso del Norte region.

This happened in 1598, 16 years before the pilgrims would reach Plymouth Rock. I’m not discrediting the European voyage; just stating that the history we are told isn’t always accurate. It is pure Americana to prefer the stories of European colonization to the Spanish one. On both occasions, thousands of Native American Indians were murdered, enslaved or suffered from widespread diseases carried by the foreigners.  Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

More so, everyone always brags about how delicious their turkey is at dinner without ever taking into consideration how that turkey landed on the dinner table.

Many are calling for stronger immigration laws and constantly complaining about undocumented immigrants taking jobs. Let’s get real here. Who do you think works at the factories your delectable turkey is coming from?

You should be thanking Juan right after you thank God for everything he has put on your table. If you haven’t seen the documentary “Food, Inc.,” please do so before Thanksgiving.  Aside from addressing many of the issues regarding the way we produce, process and consume food, it also casts a long overdue light on companies who employ undocumented immigrants and how they are constantly at risk of deportation.

Speaking of the issues regarding how we consume our food, what most disgusts me about Thanksgiving is the level of gluttony that it entails. I am not one to be diligent about everything I eat, but this has to be the holiday where most people forget about calorie intake and overall health altogether. The portions of the meals are ridiculously abundant. It’s also very common for people to eat more food on Thanksgiving than they normally would any other day. I’m all up for people indulging here and there, but eating five times a day is not at all healthy.

I wasn’t always this cynical about Thanksgiving, but I was never as ecstatic and enthusiastic as most people are either. It really wasn’t until I started noticing how consumer-driven the holiday has become.

Black Friday really does stay true to its name. It’s the blackest, darkest day of the year. 

We go from being thankful for all the blessings and delicacies we have in our lives to indulging in lavish, extravagant spending. Perhaps some don’t spend as much as others, but they still take part in the chaos and disarray that is Black Friday.

In turn, the workers at establishments that people line up to in herds have to deal with leaving their families, the barbaric nature of customers and the mess they leave behind. In recent years, Black Friday has even trickled into Thanksgiving Day with certain stores opening up earlier to beat the competition. I had a friend who was lucky to squeeze in an hour to be with his family before going into work at 7 p.m. in order to be ready for the anticipated mob at 10 p.m. when the store opened.

But that’s what everyone says Thanksgiving is about—family. There really isn’t anything familial about Thanksgiving. It’s all built on lies, deception and consumerism. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like the foundation of family to me. 

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]