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Dia de la Raza and Thanksgiving

To our North, in Canada, today is Thanksgiving.  To our South, in Mexico, it is Dia de la Raza.  Our brother nations here in North America have found things to celebrate in the early days of Autumn, but here in the USofA we have nothing but the pseudo-holiday Columbus Day – something we’ve tossed over our shoulders and given up on.

This may be a measure of our ability to get anything together.

Canadian Thanksgiving is a much simpler holiday for any of us to relate to.  It occurs at the end of the harvest, a more traditional time for such a holiday. The USofA’s own Thanksgiving is celebrated in November to celebrate the passage of the Constitution, as decreed by George Washington.  If that all sounds a bit stuffy and official it’s the ability of people to take it over and make it meaningful that has preserved it.  Besides, in Canada they have the CFL’s Thanksgiving Day Classic to watch.

Dia de la Raza is much trickier.  Rather than simply ditch Columbus Day it was acknowledged that, for better or worse, the destiny of the Americas changed 518 years ago.  From that day forward we became a new people, made up from the people who wandered this direction and made this great land their home.  And so we have “la Raza”, the new race of people that is neither indigenous nor invader nor slave but a little bit of everything.  As troubling as the origins may have been, they are our origins.  We can celebrate them today, as they do from Mexico to the South.

But on this day we in the USofA simply trudge off to work about as always. We don’t celebrate Columbus Day any longer because it seems so unimportant to us.  Mention the man and you’re likely to hear a diatribe about the enslavement of the Americas or how he didn’t really “discover” anything.  Neither popular response acknowledges that something important did happen, awful as it was at times, which made us who we are.  We’d rather just forget it and go on with our daily lives.

Among the three great nations of North America there are three visions of a holiday that fits the changing season.  Canada’s is wistful and conservative, Mexico’s is feisty and progressive.  Ours is to simply ignore any need for a public celebration that acknowledges any kind of common culture or common understanding of any kind.

But we do have an election in a month.

When you contemplate how our “politics” runs these days – basically shouting past each other about things that don’t really matter all that much – consider how our culture comes together to provide us with some kind of common understanding of who we are as a people.  If that seems too vague, look to our brothers here in North America for two different but quite complete ways of looking at the shared bonds of nationhood.

If you see a problem with all this you are far from alone.  I simply would not say it is a problem with “politics” which can be solved by any political party, law, regulation, or other trapping of force and power.  It’s going to have to be in our hearts.

Feliz Dia de la Raza and a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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6 thoughts on “Dia de la Raza and Thanksgiving

  1. We should have a holiday in October no matter what. I guess we did just get rid of Columbus Day because it was too controversial. I like dia de la raza better.

  2. Thanks. I said about as much as I could last year for Dia de la Raza, a holiday I do think is worth celebrating. I was struck this year by the lack of any mention of any Columbus Day sales or anything (other than the lack of mail today!) and the coincidence with Canada’s Thanksgiving. It seems to me that we are just plowing along not even trying to do anything except work ourselves to death (at least among those who still have jobs!).

    There’s so much we need to do as a culture if we’re really going to be a nation that can deal with its problems.

  3. Hello, this is a really fascinating web blog and ive loved reading several of the articles and posts contained upon the site, sustain the great work and hope to read a lot more exciting articles in the time to come.

  4. Pingback: Canada Day! | Barataria – The work of Erik Hare

  5. Pingback: Dia de la Raza | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

  6. Pingback: Thanksgiving Deliverence | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

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