Thanksgiving, It’s What We’re All About

Thanksgiving, It’s What We’re All About

By George Mantor

“Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive.”

David Foster Wallace

Imagine the insane courage it took for the early settlers to board rickety boats and sail off in the general direction, hopefully, of a newly discovered continent.

It was an arduous journey and the odds of survival were not good.  Fierce storms were inevitable, the stench was unbearable, and malnutrition was rampant.

They were saying good bye, forever probably, to the only life they had ever known; to go to a place where there was nothing waiting for them but uncertainty.

In the case of the Mayflower which set sail on September 6, 1620 for Virginia, the Pilgrims were battered about by winter weather until the main beam cracked and the boat began to take on water.  They were blown so far off course that they wound up in Newfoundland in the dead of winter.

But, that didn’t stop them.  They never made it to Virginia but they did finally drop anchor at Cape Cod on November 11th.

As soon as they arrived, they had to begin the difficult task of clawing out enough food to survive long enough to even create any sort of semi-permanent shelter.

When it was dark, it was dark.  When it was cold, it was cold.  When the food ran out, you starved.  These were the harsh realities of life for the earliest immigrants.

Only half made it through the first winter.  They would not have survived were it not for the generosity and compassion of the local Indians.

Later, we would repay them by introducing them to diseases for which they had no immunity, stealing their land, and destroying their sacred way of life.

We did it in the name of progress, democracy, and the American way as we set out to build this great nation of project housing and toxic waste.  But, this is not the time for me to go all patriotic.  This isn’t Jingo bells.  It’s about Thanksgiving in a time of struggle, disappointment, and uncertainty.

It’s easy to be grateful when everything is going well. Over 47 million of our fellow American’s, mostly women, children, and the elderly are on food stamps.

Why does such a wealthy country, under God since 1954, at war with poverty since 1960, giving out Fiat money to banks since 1971, fighting terror since September 11, need to have such a large and terrified underclass?

The real kick in the gut is that there are no actual stamps.  Just a debit card from JP Morgan Chase, a for profit company.  If there is widespread and growing poverty, somebody has to be making a profit off of it.

There is something cynical about that.  The modern company store to which people owe their souls.  Chase what matters?

How did we get so far off course?  It’s easy to say we are a Christian nation, but there is no evidence of that.  The average age of a homeless person where I live is nine years old.  If that doesn’t beg the question “What would Jesus do?”, I don’t know what does. We need to take a step back and analyze our priorities.

When we first arrived in this country we all worked together to survive.

Now, we have been convinced that it is okay if some don’t survive in order to allow others to have more than they will ever need.  To hear some tell it, that’s what makes America great.

I think what makes a country great is the quality of life of its lowliest citizens.

For a long time, we have been focused on our false prosperity and things.  We were convinced we needed bigger houses, badder SUVs, and exotic kicks from Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.

It drove the false economy, but did it drive the essential quality of life…happiness?

I never really liked the boom.  I felt like the pressure was always on to get the next escrow closed, and the next loan funded, and the next training session planned, and the next radio program written, and the next workshop, and the next article published, and the next recruit signed up.  And for what?

I’ve lived in the same old house for over three decades.  I drive a Toyota pickup that I bought new in1989.  I would say that I’m a bad dresser, but that doesn’t go far enough. My wardrobe is mostly hoodies and shorts covered with cat hair.

I wasn’t trying to get rich.  I wanted to know what it felt like to hire someone and give them a paycheck.  I wanted to build something that would provide for me after I reach my middle earlies.

I did build that.  And, the bankstas burned it down

The boom was a period of anxiety for me.  It wore me out.  Between payroll, office rent, furniture and equipment leases, I had to come up with $45,000 every month.

I rode it up and I rode it down.  On the way up, I invested virtually every extra penny expanding my business.  On the way down, I hung on until all of my resources were gone.

And now, I’m just glad it’s over.  It was like juggling chainsaws

I’ll admit a little concern about my future.  I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to build it again.   As much as they have tried to reassure everyone that Social Security will be there for us boomers, I’ve seen enough to be extremely doubtful.

Private pension funds have been looted and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation reported an annual deficit of $34 billion.  This is the tenth straight year of deficits as corporations like Hostess find legal loopholes to terminate their responsibility for pension money spent on other things.

The reality of our situation is that change is coming, which isn’t necessarily good or bad. Being grateful isn’t dependent upon the state of things around us.  Being grateful is what turns life’s ups and downs into important events in the continuum of our voyage of discovery.

Pity the person who has never felt pain, hurt, loss, disappointment, bewilderment, failure, grief and defeat; whose life has been one of remarkably good fortune.

What is there to be grateful for when it all comes so easily?  How will this person cope when that little rain which must full into each of our lives finally comes for them, in one massive torrent all at once?

Those early settlers had to work hard every minute just to eke out subsistence.  They suffered exhaustion, tedium, deprivation, anxiety and fear.

Yet, they may very well have been happier than most of us today.  I think it is axiomatic to say that the less you have, the more you tend to appreciate the little you do have.

In 1621, the Pilgrims had their first harvest in the new world.  To this, they responded by giving thanks.  Not with some glutinous pig-out, but by solemn prayer.  Giving thanks through prayer was part of the Pilgrims’ expression of faith.

What we think of today as Thanksgiving is more akin to a harvest festival.  Still, despite having already gone over the fiscal cliff, there is much to be thankful for.

Amid the very real possibility that we might look back upon this period as “the good old days”, it is important to take stock, and be truly thankful for those things that matter most.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2012.


8 Responses to “Thanksgiving, It’s What We’re All About”
  1. keepon says:

    White House Petitions Petition the Obama Administration to:
    Halt Foreclosures Nationwide & Prosecute the Financial Criminals

    As of 11/23: 72 ?!? signatures 24,928 more needed Created 11/14 25,000 signatures needed

  2. mrt says:

    we were evicted a day before thanksgiving (24 hrs to vacate or our nice police will come to help you)…we returned for our belongings (the big stuff left,2,000refrigerator, range, ac, etc..and computer parts, ….)
    when we came back locks , a lot of garbage , a broken wall (frame big Frigidaire), no water heater…this bastards stole everything …the same happened in my brother house 3 years ago…luckily i took my computer network tools and other stuff i use to work……

    i want to thank mr. darrin gayles, judge in the 11th circuit court miami dade …may be he was the one who stole everything….he just couldn’t find the fraud in the 4 notary commissions and signatures a retarded monkey (not offending the monkey) could tell are forged…not to mention the mismatcing endorsements on the note and the fraud assignment to a company that was dissolved in 1999…(you should see how mr. judge smiled when told and show all this)……and WE PAY this “persons” salary…only 140,000 to 160,000 monthly….yes is what i heard one of this “low” salary is……..

  3. lies is all they tell says:

    please all if you really want to see what a scam ponzi scheme this is realy is watch this

    i dont know but i am an educated RN working in academia after 25 years in the field who can hear when some does not understand something. i teach all the time. I know when some needs ‘remediation” or “an in service” but hese judges do not understand the foreclosure law of today. if they do not understand they should recuse themselves. they are arguing with mat about information they know nothing about. this is not the foreclosures of days past. this is foreclosures post tarp bailout, post credit default swap. these are debt collectors. the have broken all our contracts. the mortgage. these judges wouldnt know a CDS form PMI
    having these guys at the helm of this in florida is like having your foot doctor (podiatrist) do your quadruple CABG (cardiac arteriole bypass graft of 4 cardiac arteries) instead of your heart doctor (cardiac surgeon) i told mat that these judges need an inservice bad

    happy thanksgiving keep up the fight we are going to win you know

  4. Sarah says:

    Preach it! 15 years ago some of these foreclosures would have been condemnable, but for the great ponzi scheme, now we hold on to them to keep us from the street. It is madness, in many ways we have so much more than our ancestors, but here it is 2012, and we can’t allow people affordable housing, stable jobs or adequate health care.
    The housing crisis is a game of keep away for profit. It is just as perverse, and as ruthless as anything from history, but money will keep the status quo from ever admitting that this is the case. Things are so badly arranged, but the future will improve with persistence, a rejection of their imposed servitude, stress and anxiety and a focus on human rights, dignity and peace.

  5. lies is all they tell says:

    Every day we spend in our homes is a a blessing. It is the work of our hard work, and not falling for the lies of the TBTF. wells fargo has been fighting be since march 2009. I still remember the speech president O made telling us to ask the bank for a HAMP loan and i still remember the 1st day i was told my a customer service agent that they lost my 1st fax. Little did i know one of many lost faxes and mailers. Didnt know that hamp loan was to foam the runway for the banks.
    I am greatful today for michael, Lisa, Liz, april, mark, mat, ,liz, Neil, foreclosure hamlet, and all the friends i have made that have helped through this horror. out of the mouths of babes………back in 11/2009 i didnt understand why wells fargo kept losing my paper work (i am a nurse and send faxes all the time) so we had just got the new cell phones that go on the web so while driving i would always google “lost paper work” “mortgage fraud” and neil garfiles web site popped up with the balck hole, then i found the foreclosure hamlet. now i new i was not alone. so my son who was only 13 at the tim says “mom your always looking up foreclosures”……little did he know i was saving our home so today in 2012 we can spend another year in our home having a turkey dinner with family.
    please everyone stay hte ocurse fight we will win this everyday everyday we stayin our homes and new information for those of us whom have lost our homes and are fighting back.

    happy thanks giving to all

  6. katheryn says:

    Thank God for the blessings that we have. BoA may still be trying to take our house but we have hung on for two years now. We made and enjoyed our own special Thanksgiving dinner and took a moment to give thanks for the ability to have such a quiet, peaceful and wonderful day! Wishing all a beautiful day.

  7. JohnR says:

    Very well said. Been there, done that, lost it, did it again but another way, lost it again, did it yet again even another way and lost it again! It’s the experience that matters and the hearts and hopes I was able help and heal. I am thankful for the opportunity to help.

  8. Alabama John says:

    Having been there and done exactly that and am now 74, all I can say to that is AMEN!!!

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