Sometimes, I am unable to describe the emotions which persistently overwhelm my soul. I am told that emotions are a hindrance to success. If one cares too much about something in which he or she cannot significantly impact, then the individual is doomed for failure. Failure is purely subjective, and in this case relates to society: If I don't play the "game" of society (continuing my education, finding a career, etc.) then I am in essence a failure of society.
Have you ever been part of a faith or religion and then stopped believing in it, yet still kept going to the worship services, only to feel alone and out-of-place? Well, I am part of a culture that I no longer believe in. I have lost faith and feel out of place, yet I am still taking part in this culture, at least thus far.
The holiday of Thanksgiving magnifies my distaste for what takes place in this culture. We, the nation of America, spend an entire day feasting on crap--not even food, but crap. Everything is genetically modified, shot up with hormones or steroids, overpackaged, full of preservatives, and unhealthy.
Thanksgiving is a holiday to give thanks. Give thanks? What the hell does giving thanks do? Does celebrating this holiday in a traditional fashion help feed the billions of hungry bellies across the world? No, it certainly does not. Does it heal the wounds caused by the genocide of the Native Americans across this continent? No. In fact, it seems more like a way of "rubbing it in" to the losers, the Native Americans. It seems to be the culmination of a contest in which the winner, industrial civilization has ruthlessly spread its ideals across an entire continent through the means of heartless, mass murder.
"But Ted, we cannot change the past! Giving thanks is good. It is good to be appreciative for what you have. You are a very fortunate boy."
Giving thanks for having a loving family is commendable, but how can I be thankful for what I materially have, knowing that what I have was obtained, either directly or indirectly, through the means of theft, slavery, and abuse? My family and friends have not consciously stolen what they own, but the opportunity for them to acquire this wealth is only possible through the abuse of other peoples.
When I was in kindergarten, I once cheated on a game of geometry bingo. I said I had a square when it was really a rectangle, which got me a bingo. I didn't tell anyone and later felt awful about it. I cheated, yet was rewarded with a piece of candy.
Thanksgiving is kind of like the celebration of receiving this piece of candy. Sure, I cheated to obtain it, but it is good tasting and makes me feel good about myself as long as I disregard the notion of breaking the rules. Nonetheless, knowing that I and those before me cheated to obtain this wealth is sickening. Not only did my culture support a genocide, but they also continusouly value monetary gain over human and environmental health, thus degrading the well-being of the Earth and its inhabitants.
Putting money first supppresses emotions which increases the likelihood of inaction, and the continued "business as usual" mantra that I so-readily hear. Evidence of this notion is clear when my culture supports slave-wage labor. This allows us to buy monetarily cheap products at the expense of people who slave away to make them. Do we want to see people working their butts off while making our t-shirts? Of course not! As long as we do not physically see these people, our emotions remain suppressed, which allows this cruel process to continue. The same thing goes for eating factory farmed meat. No one wants to see how gross factory farms are. If they did, they would not eat meat.
I do not want to cheat anymore.
Tonight, on Thanksgiving night, I cry. I cry for those who have been exploited by a cruel and emotionless society. I cry for those in this society who have been lulled into ignorant apathy. I cry for my loved ones who I have given great grief because of my views. I cry for our slowly dying planet. I cry for the watered-down, noncreative desires of this dominant culture and for all of those who desire to leave it, but do not have the courage to do so.
On this Thanksgiving night I vow to be a societal failure. My success will come through other means--means which will not facillitate cheating.
- Teddy Grahams