Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Senator Schumer wants to argue about tax reform at Thanksgiving dinner. And he has a handy chart for lefties to take along and wave at their more conservative relatives while screeching about the 1 percent. In an article titled, “The Case for Ruining Thanksgiving,” GQ Magazine urges its readers to punish their parents who voted for Trump by staying away, insulting them or ranting about police brutality.
The Scientific American wants readers to push Global Warming over mashed potatoes. The organizers of the Women’s March want you to accuse your uncle of having “white privilege.” Desperate lefties can text Standing Up for Racial Justice at the dinner table and get anti-Trump talking points. “You Should Absolutely Fight About Politics With Your Relatives This Thanksgiving,” Quartz insists.
And then it just gets worse.
"Thanksgiving: The annual genocide whitewash," declares Al Jazeera. "The Thanksgiving Day story represents the violence of colonialism," fumes Bustle. Retelling the story of Thanksgiving, pardoning a turkey and watching football are all "offensive, racist, or just plain problematic". And if Thanksgiving with lefties wasn’t miserable enough, the Village Voice offers 5 politically correct television episodes to inflict on your "terrible aunt or insufferable uncle" who don’t want to admit they voted for Trump.
There’s plenty of spite. What’s missing from leftist Thanksgiving is… thankfulness.
When Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, asked the press corps to state what they were grateful for, a collective howl went up from the media. “How Sarah Sanders Humiliated the Press,” wept a CNN editorial. The New Yorker railed against, “The Degrading Ritual of Sarah Huckabee Sanders's Pre-Thanksgiving Briefing.” Asking lefties to be grateful is humiliating and degrading.
Just ask LaVar Ball, who has spent days reveling in his refusal to say, “Thank you.” And the media, which believes that gratitude is humiliating and degrading, has been cheering on his ingratitude.
It’s Thanksgiving 2017. And gratitude has become a partisan issue.
Why is it so hard for the left to be thankful? The answer is as easy as pumpkin pie. The left is a movement built on resentment. And resentment and gratitude are opposing emotions.
That is why the left really hates Thanksgiving.
The revisionist autopsies of American history and the guides to sensitively calling your uncle a racist are about substituting resentment for thankfulness. Whether it’s a family getting together once a year, the Pilgrims and the Indian tribesmen breaking bread or the White House press corps being asked to talk about the good things in their lives, a moment of thankfulness has to be ruined with resentment.
Resentment is the force that gives the left meaning.
What animates the left is the conviction that everything (except their own tastes, preferences and opinions) is terrible and must be reformed until it too is like them. America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, arachnophobic and claustrophobic. Every second the prison-industrial complex is gunning down drug dealers for no other reason than the color of their skin (and the guns in their hands), the military-industrial complex is bombing countries full of terrorists just because of the color of their skin, and the turkey-industrial complex is destroying the environment.
The militant lefty is an overgrown brat who never made the emotional transition from the funk of total unfairness that teenagers inhabit to the appreciation for life of the mature adult. Picking a fight at the Thanksgiving table is exactly the sort of thing a teenage brat would do. That’s why there are a dozen guides telling lefties exactly how to pick an unwinnable fight whose only purpose is to ruin a meal.
The family argument isn’t an unfortunate side effect of leftist politics. It’s the whole point.
Resentment doesn’t just color the politics of a militant leftist. It encompasses his entire outlook on life. The personal conviction that the world is an unfair place fits neatly into an ideology that claims to be able to prove using science and history that the world is a truly unfair place.
That is why the best antidote to leftist resentment is conservative thankfulness.
There are plenty of problems in our country and the world. But if we can’t stop to be thankful for the good things, we will sink into the same swamp of resentment as the left.
To be thankful is to be reminded of what we are fighting for. The resentful left doesn’t really fight for anything. Its resentful causes have no end point. There will never be a time when race relations, the environment, social mobility and caloric intakes are good enough for them to hang up their hats. The left maintains a perpetual state of crisis because it justifies a perpetual state of resentment.
The left isn’t actually fighting for anything. It’s fighting against things. Big things and little things. It’s fighting against America. And it’s fighting against families sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.
Conservatives fight for the things in our lives that we value. And these are the very things that we are thankful for. Our gratitude reminds us of what we want to conserve. These include the tangible things, our families, our homes and our lives, and the intangible things, our freedoms and our traditions.
The left can’t be thankful because it can’t admit that there’s anything worth appreciating. Revolutionary movements don’t create, they destroy. But we can and should be thankful for what we conserve.
Thankfulness is not just a passive act. It’s a moving and transformative experience that changes us.
Choosing between gratitude and resentment is a fundamental personal and political choice. It defines how we respond to the challenges and blessings of life. And it shapes how we view our country.
Thanksgiving is the tradition of an optimistic and humble people. That is who Americans are.
The War on Thanksgiving is the campaign of a hostile leftist movement that is pessimistic and arrogant. Ruining Thanksgiving is its mission. And it isn’t out to win an argument, but to ruin an America tradition.
If we lose our ability to be thankful for the good things in our lives, we lose everything.
We can win by refusing to let the left’s resentment ruin Thanksgiving. We can win by remembering that Thanksgiving is not just an occasion, but a tradition whose attitudes give us strength and meaning. We can win by finding the power to live our lives better through gratitude rather than resentment.
We can win, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders did, by countering resentment with thankfulness.