It may be seen as a microaggression or even a macroaggression to celebrate a clearly “racist” holiday like Thanksgiving. All those bad Pilgrims took so much from those kind Native Americans.
Writing in The New York Times, conservative analyst Arthur Brookes says how important gratitude can be, including for those things we don’t necessarily think we should be grateful for.
“For many people, gratitude is difficult, because life is difficult. Even beyond deprivation and depression, there are many ordinary circumstances in which gratitude doesn’t come easily….
“Beyond rotten circumstances, some people are just naturally more grateful than others. A 2014 article in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience identified a variation in a gene (CD38) associated with gratitude. Some people simply have a heightened genetic tendency to experience, in the researchers’ words, ‘global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness and positive emotions (particularly love).’ That is, those relentlessly positive people you know who seem grateful all the time may simply be mutants.
“But we are more than slaves to our feelings, circumstances and genes. Evidence suggests that we can actively choose to practice gratitude — and that doing so raises our happiness….
“If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not….
“Ponder the impractical joy in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem ‘Pied Beauty’:
Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.