Letter: First Thanksgiving set the example
There is a moving story of inspiration, courage, treason and civil disobedience committed in the name of truth, friendship between cultures, a belief in humanity and a pervasive trust in a higher, loving power that lies at the core of the evolution of America. What is the American mind? The American spirit? Where did they come from, and where will we take them? What does the light held high by the Statue of Liberty promise to the world? What is the nature of true freedom? Throughout time, humanity has made choices that have created our history. What of our future? Our choices will lead us there.
This Thanksgiving, we can give thanks to the Mayflower Pilgrims, who made the choice to defy their king when they separated themselves from the Church of England and sow the seeds of democracy when they gathered privately to worship as they saw fit “whatsoever it should cost” (Covenant of 1606, Scrooby, England) This was a treasonous act. We can thank them for signing the Mayflower Compact to create “a civil body politic to enact just and equal laws for the general good.” We can thank the Massasoit Ousa Mequin, sachem of the Pokanoket Wampanoags, for coming forward with his people in peace — a peace that the Pilgrims and Native Americans maintained for 55 years. There was an intermingling of cultures that was to produce a uniquely American spirit, a new way of being and seeing that ultimately became articulated in the U.S. Constitution and our other freedom documents. We can thank all the brave folks who forged the foundation of a nation based on the highest aspirations of humanity — liberty, justice and abundance for all.
Now we have a choice. Do we sit back and let it all go? How do we extricate ourselves from the grips of the systems we’ve created that are now wildly out of balance? How did this happen, when we all intended to show up and gift our children all the gifts inherent in the ideals America stands for? How do we get the ship back on course? We suit up and show up — that’s how. We take a stand for the hearts and spirits of our children. We follow the lead of the Mayflower Pilgrims and act according to our deepest convictions and our highest vision. We use the example of openness and kindness that the Pilgrim and Native American leaders set for us and take it beyond just one day of feasting and giving thanks. We become inspired and let these models be a basis for our daily actions. It is in this way that we each will contribute to the ever-unfolding coming of peace on earth.
Connie Baxter Marlow