It’s that day. It’s the time for several generations of families to get together to laugh, love, eat too much, and — if they’re like most families — argue at least a little bit about something or other. In other words, it’s like the weekly gatherings that most Hispanic families have, except this time we eat turkey.
Thanksgiving is for everyone in the United States. It may have started with the Pilgrims, long before the United States were united, but it’s a truly American tradition that belongs to all of us who call this country home — citizens, residents, and non-.
Some might disagree with that. They might feel that Thanksgiving belongs only to that first category, the ones who were born here or who took the oath and can now carry a U. S. Passport.
The Pilgrims weren’t citizens. They were people who came to escape oppression. They were people who came to look for better lives for themselves and for their families. They were people who were willing to work hard, and work together, to make their homes, their communities, and their country, a better place.
They were immigrants. And they were no different from the immigrants of today — perhaps most especially like the undocumented immigrants. They came without papers. They came without the permission of the people who lived here. They came without jobs. They came without homes.
What they did come with was a desire to succeed, and hope.
That’s why Thanksgiving belongs to all of us here. Because we all have that in common – the hope that today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better still, for all of us.
It’s also why those who used their coded language on Election Day, and since, to suggest that the reelection of the country’s first black president was because this was no longer a “traditional America” and that it showed a “moral failure” in the country, are wrong. Dead wrong.
In fact, it’s proof of just the opposite.
But on election night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly summed up the highly charged undercurrent running throughout the election as he gave his interpretation of why Mitt Romney was losing.
“Because it’s a changing country, the demographics are changing,” O’Reilly said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.”
Just for good measure, he made sure everyone understood what he meant by “traditional.”
“The white establishment is now the minority.”
Translation: there are too many Hispanics, blacks, and Asians in the United States. And he considers them “moocher voters.”
“There are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things, and who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it. . . . You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming for President Obama, and women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
All right, O’Reilly is a TV version of a radio shock jock. His whole shtick is to berate, denigrate, and agitate.
But it wasn’t just him. Other commentators echoed similar sentiments. Even the losing candidate himself reprised his “47 percent” philosophy in a phone call to donors the day after the election. This time, Romney used the term “gifts.”
“The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” he said.
“With regards to African American voters, Obamacare was a huge plus,” he explained. “You can imagine for somebody making $25- or $30- or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care — particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 a family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus.”
The problem with this kind of view is that separates us into an “us and them” mentality. It forgets that, from the Pilgrims forward, this is a nation of immigrants. And it forgets that that is one of this country’s great strengths. We evolve. We adapt. And we open our doors to the world’s tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to be free.
So, on top of all the other things we give thanks for on this Thanksgiving, we should all also give thanks that we are continuing to honor that great American tradition. And hope that we always will.
The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.