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Boardman writes: "Any Americans who feel no shame for the state of their country can be grateful for their psychic numbness and failed humanity."

US fighter jet takes off. (photo: Getty)
US fighter jet takes off. (photo: Getty)

Thanksgiving for a Grateful Empire

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 November 15


“Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear….”

o begins the official Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, signed and issued by Barack Obama. While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of grateful honor to the source of global American imperial dominance:  

We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.

This is, of course, fatuous pandering and a patent lie that is widely and unthinkingly shared by much of a preoccupied populace. Our country and our freedoms have needed no serious military defense for decades. Even amidst the popular revival of terrorism hysteria these days, our country and our freedoms need no military protection, because they face no credible military threat.

It is a nice thought to imagine Americans quietly sharing an inclusive and comforting community in which we express gratitude for our gifts and share them with others wherever in the world they meet our military. That might actually achieve the aspiration of showing “appreciation for all we hold dear.” But the sad reality seems to be that, as a nation, we no longer know what we hold dear, or even what we once believed we held dear. 

Our country and our freedoms are unthreatened by others around the world despite our well-cultivated baseless fear. At home, our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the cold dead hand of the unelected corporate state. Our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the shrill, vicious demagoguery of divisive factions that are as dedicated to the dominance of minority views as any Taliban or ISIS or other monomaniacal evangelist. Our country and our freedoms go daily undefended by a feckless, reckless government that would rather control a cowed population than seek conciliation and general well-being for all. 

As things now stand in a nation more exceptional for its fragmentation than its collective sense of confidence and purpose, a more honest sampling of appreciation for what some Americans hold dear might include:

  • Almost all American people can be thankful that their nation is not involved in any serious wars, just turkey-shoots in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, much of Africa, and other places that produce few American casualties while maintaining the constant expense of ordnance to no useful purpose, but steady profit to the international arms industry. 

  • President Obama and his administration can be thankful that almost none of their totalitarian surveillance and permanent-war-making powers face serious challenges, not even the President’s assassination-by-drone terrorism. 

  • American Muslims can be thankful that they have not been rounded up and confined to internment camps (yet), for the duration of the preferred endless hostilities. 

  • All minority-Americans can be thankful if no one in their family was hurt or killed by police this year. Black families in that category can be super grateful. Even white families can be a bit grateful, since cop brutality isn’t as completely bigoted as it sometimes seems. 

  • Media-American performers can be thankful that they will never be held accountable as journalists for their culturally destructive and dishonest hucksterism.

  • Police-Americans can be thankful for their special above-justice status, since even the most violent among them typically goes unpunished. 

  • The American prison complex can be thankful for another year of high profits at the expense of decent people jailed for non-violent crimes by a judiciary that has lost its sense of justice (with the significant assistance and insistence of Congress claiming to act for an infantilized and fearful American majority). 

  • Women-Americans can be thankful that it is still mostly lawful to be a woman. 

  • American terrorists can be thankful that they can go on assassinating doctors, torching clinics, executing church congregations, or shooting up mosques without fear that anyone will call them “terrorists.” 

  • The American public in general can be thankful that it remains generally undisturbed by these or other American realities and that it lacks a widespread feeling that it has any personal responsibility to fix anything. 

  • Ben Carson and the rest of the Republican field can be thankful that they have yet to be deemed a danger to themselves or others, and have not been forcibly hospitalized. 

  • Any Americans still nurturing the hope of living in an advanced, civilized nation can be thankful that we have two presidential candidates, a man and a woman, who actually have credible records of espousing humane values with regard to at least some of the critical problems we face. Obviously one of them is Bernie Sanders. The other, better one is Jill Stein. 

  • Upper-income Americans can be thankful for the country that cares for them and neglects others, making sure, year after year after year, that people who could learn are not educated, that people who could work are not hired, that people who could eat are not fed, that people who could be free are not. 

  • Any Americans who feel no shame for the state of their country can be grateful for their psychic numbness and failed humanity.

As some were wont to say back in the day: “Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they start getting worse.”

So we can be thankful that things aren’t worse already.  

Blessing on all, regardless of just deserts. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+75 # polfrosch 2015-11-25 16:21
Wow! These words resonate line an arrow a split second after it hit the center of the bullseye. A masterpiece.
+63 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2015-11-25 22:59
Beautiful! How nice to see all the mythology and propaganda punctured with such eloquence.
+52 # Billsy 2015-11-25 23:01
Well said Mr Boardman. This so well expresses the frustration, disgust and withering hope I have felt but been unable to speak myself.
+51 # danireland46 2015-11-25 23:09
Wow, Howard Zinn has an honesty heir. Thanks Boardman for delivering an honest Thanksgiving analysis and a warning of how manipulated and tamed our society has become.
My angry conservative uncles are all dead, but for old tme sake, I think I'll make a copy of this in case I run into an ugly GOP'er tomorrow.
+31 # dadhantat 2015-11-25 23:20
+31 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2015-11-26 00:07
Is it possible that the U S will one day wake up and realize that beating out fists on our chest and shouting, "this is the greatest country in the world, one nation under God" is a poor excuse for very little proof, if any proof for doing so?

Maybe, just maybe the U S will one day understand, grow up and learn some humility?
-29 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-26 09:10
We have been a shining star on the planet for many years, Eldon, but recent administrations have brought this great country to the brink of disaster. You only have to look at the decline of the eight years of our current liar in our White House. People have risked their lives to get to this country...somet hing that simply has not happened in the rest of the world. The current flap over the refugees is twofold...why aren't the muslim nations taking their refugees and this is the only group of refugees that may hide terrorists wanting to do us harm. Happy Thanksgiving... we still have a multitude of things to be grateful for.
-17 # bardphile 2015-11-26 11:26
Boardman tells one side of the story; thanks, Frank, for mentioning the other. I am going to enjoy the day, my favorite holiday of the year. Happy T-day, all.
+17 # Radscal 2015-11-26 14:25
So, everything was just groovy until the last one or two Presidential Administrations , eh? uh huh

The "flap" over refugees is twofold.
1. WE should stop creating them by destroying their countries.
2. Almost all of them ARE in "muslim nations." Most of the Iraqi refugees of our 2003 invasion and ongoing horrors fled to Syria and Iran, though many who fled to Syria have now been driven to Turkey and Lebanon.

Fewer than 1/2 million Muslim refugees have arrived in Europe or the U.S. The greatest numbers are from 1. Afghanistan, 2. Syria, 3. Iraq, with Libya close. All victims or our Global War OF Terror.

More than 10 million foreign refugees are in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan.

Yes, we USians should be very thankful we won the egg & sperm lottery and were not born in any of the countries that are targets of Empire.
+30 # John Puma 2015-11-26 01:22
The more I read of his articles, the more I am thankful for William Boardman.

I'd suggest the Grateful Empire is exceptional ONLY in the breathtaking, and historically massive, difference between what it CLAIMS as its purpose, mission & intent as opposed to its depraved reality.

Please include the "special above-justice status" of corporate-Ameri cans whose pathological obsession with profit has killed many more people than have the police-American s.
+18 # elkingo 2015-11-26 01:41
So right. Where did we lose it?
+8 # Anarchist 23 2015-11-27 13:28
Most recently it started with the assassination of JFK. He was changing direction about cold War (Endless War). that was stopped in '63...Endless War has continued ever since.
+17 # tedrey 2015-11-26 07:29
You've nailed it, W.B.
+14 # turnoutthelights 2015-11-26 08:01
It must be because it is Thanksgiving that Mr. Boardman pulled his punches on what could have been a much longer list.
+1 # WBoardman 2015-11-30 15:16
Well, yes, the list could have been longer,
but I'm not sure I pulled any punches –
is there something more I SHOULD have included
(as differentiated from "could" have included)?
+9 # Charles3000 2015-11-26 08:08
I think we lost it when the congress allowed certain privately owned, for profit businesses to create legal US money for their own use.
+14 # REDPILLED 2015-11-26 08:24
Thank you for mentioning Jill Stein. Corporate media refuse to include her in their coverage of the worst presidential campaign in my 67 years.

She would be the sane, sensible candidate.
+10 # rhgreen 2015-11-26 14:30
My word, Mr. Boardman! You are going to take serious abuse for uttering these true words. But thank you for doing so.
+8 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-26 16:52
The attacks on the "protesters" of late, including at the Trump reichrally, are a harbinger of things to come SOON: armed "malicias" promoting Trumpism and suppressing truth, resistance. Prepare, think ahead to what you can, should, will do. "Get worse" is wildly understated. Our policy turkeys are coming home to roost. OxyContin "Rush" and Phone SeXXX with Intern O'Reilly unleashed a firestorm.
+4 # diamondmarge7 2015-11-28 06:27
Desopite Boardman's in many ways incisive lists, I am thankful for Bernie Sanders, whom I see as the only, best hope in the Presidential election. He is honest, authentic, compassionate, and thorough in his career of pursuing true democracy. When he learns where he can better help in that quest, he does so. Those w/legitimate concerns have but to point them out to him. GO BERNIE !!

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