Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Pilgirms, Thanksgiving and Propaganda

I think Thanksgiving is the best holiday in many ways. It is about family, food and sharing sports or entertainment. Those are all good things. The formal national holiday didn't begin until 1941; but, Washington did propose the first day of Thanksgiving, he just didn't say anything about having it every year or being a national holiday. See history sort of glosses over the truth of a lot of things. It should also be noted that the Indians were not invited by the Pilgrims, they sort of crashed the party and then brought more food. I don't think any of this matters, I am more concerned about how we are misled about history and how things that are not true are used to manipulate our philosophies. I still really like Thanksgiving.

Some things we believe about this country are just nonsense with a twisted version of history used to back it up. Lets start with this nation being founded on religious freedom. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The pilgrims did not come to the United States to create a nation or religious freedom, they came to avoid English control over them. They provided no such freedom to their own members.

The Pilgrims were also not the first American colony. The Pilgrims did not arrive until 1620 and Jamestown began in 1607. Beyond that, Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by the Spaniards who by the way are also European. And just to be clear, the Spaniards landed in San Diego, California in 1542. The Spaniards took over Mexico City in 1521 and that too is in North America. Here is an interesting fact, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States.

Now as far as believing in political freedom and capitalism, not so much. In fact the Pilgrims worked as in a commune and the Mayflower compact established that contract. Another thing that is untrue is that the right to possess weapons like guns was originally written in the constitution, it was not, it wasn't added until 1791 with the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. You should also know that the 18th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed alcoholic beverages and wasn't repealed till 1933 with the 23rd Amendment. Here is a question, IF you believe that you have a right to bear arms under the Constitution, do you also understand that it can be completely eliminated by a Constitutional Amendment? I want you to seriously think about that.

Lets talk about that for a minute. Lets be truthful about history. A lot of people will talk about how guns are a right and about the old west. You know what, many towns made it illegal to bring guns into them same as some counties still make it illegal to sell alcohol in them. I recently wrote about gun laws and stated for the record that I thought people should be allowed to own guns to protect themselves and hunt. Having said that, times are getting interesting and if the NRA pushes for people to be allowed to own any weapons they want, you risk having the majority of people in this country eliminate any right to own a gun without government permission. Think about this, many cities across this nation used to outlaw owning a switchblade and that is just a weapon too.

Nifty slogans and propaganda are all fun for ignoring the bigger issues. I had a class in college once (I think it was one of the ones where I was helping grade papers as it was primarily filled with non-political science majors). The Professor who was one of the few conservatives and a friend made the statement that liberals were inconsistent because they were against the death penalty and for abortion. At the time I was probably more conservative than liberal and I had voted for Reagan. I responded that conservatives were equally inconsistent as they were for the death penalty and against abortion, I said the only difference was whether you wanted to kill the guilty or the innocent. It is a cute comment and the Professor was stunned for a moment and then stated that the comments, by both of us, did not seriously address the issue. I agreed and we proceeded to have a more in depth discussion of the real issues. The truth is never totally encompassed in cute news bites and you shouldn't think in them.

The first words of the Constitution are known as the preamble and say, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Whereas the Declaration of Independence, the rights we fought for said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

If you believe that your right to own a gun is found in these words then tell me why smoking Marijuana, snorting Cocaine, Gambling and Prostitution are not included under the pursuit of happiness or the blessings of liberty? I am neither vilifying or promoting and of these things, it is a simple question and if you base your beliefs on the Constitution then you should support what they imply, right? Okay, now what if the people outlawed all guns in private hands by making a Constitutional amendment, would you follow it and turn your guns in? Which is really more important, guns or the Constitution? Don't like that question then answer this one. If you wouldn't give up your gun if the Constitution was amended, then why do you support putting people in jail for drug sales and possession? You might tell me that Libertarians would allow these things; but, Libertarians do not believe in the totality of the Constitution. They believe that all laws should come from the states, or at least that is what they claim. Heck, following their philosophy, they would have supported the Confederates in the civil war and some today promote either a new civil war or leaving the United States. Read what these whack jobs really believe.

Here is the point, never push things to ludicrous ends or you lose. Also don't take slogans seriously, take well thought out positions on things or you are controlled by mindless propaganda. It is claimed that in 2014, 52% of Americans believed that people had a right to own guns. It should be noted that in 2014 42% of Americans were opposed to same sex marriage. Oddly enough, the vast majority of them believed they had the right to own a gun. If you don't believe the government should be able to stop you from owning a gun, why would you believe the government should control who you marry or have sex with?

Have a great Thanksgiving. I plan on enjoying turkey (which we don't really know if the Pilgrims ate), pumpkin pie (which the Pilgrims probably did not have as they did not have a lot of sugar) and watching a movie or two.

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