But the rise of the Tea Party movement has forced everyone to pay attention to such dissident notions, and thus did the New York Times’ Kate Zernike helpfully chronicle the Thanksgiving thinking of the Limbaugh School and the much earlier right-wing accounts on which it is based. She also pointed out that the actual story of the Pilgrims was, well, a bit more complicated than Limbaugh and his philosophical forebears would like it to be. This led him to sniff on his Tuesday broadcast that Zernike’s point was that “hey, socialism wasn’t that bad for the Pilgrims.” That’s not what she said, but never mind.
Now, I want to be honest: Given what I do for a living and my own inclinations, I’m perfectly capable of politicizing all manner of issues, too. It’s also true that national holidays almost necessarily invite this sort of debate. We are, after all, celebrating something, and it shouldn’t surprise us that we’d tangle over exactly what that something is. Besides, having grown up in a politically diverse extended family, I have fond memories of Thanksgiving dinners being the staging ground for many a raucous debate. Why not argue about the holiday itself?