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Dreading another confrontational Thanksgiving dinner with your right-wing relatives? Tired of a heaping helping of Fox News talking points alongside your turkey and mashed potatoes? Short of screwing a cranberry into each ear and nodding passively while Aunt Martha and Cousin Mel carry on about Obama’s secret socialist agenda to destroy America, what’s a hungry liberal to do?

This year try turning the tables with one of these conversation starters guaranteed to have the Republicans at the table spewing their marshmallow candied yams and excusing themselves before dessert. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to avoid the annual tears, bitter recriminations and flying wedges of pie, but at least this year it will be their dinner spoiled and not yours.

The Pilgrims were Holland’s “immigrant problem.”

After being pretty much run out of England as anti-government radicals, the religious dissidents we know today as the Pilgrims settled in Leiden, Holland, where they set about making themselves as welcome as cold green bean casserole. Sticking to themselves and refusing to “blend in” with their new homeland, the Pilgrims grew alarmed by the unpalatable ideas to which their children were being exposed, such as religious tolerance (good for the Pilgrims, bad for everyone else) and national service (like all Dutch residents, the Pilgrims were eligible for the draft). When their children began picking up the Dutch language, the Pilgrims had had enough. By then the Dutch had, too.

The Pilgrims were commies.

Governor William Bradford’s memoirs confirm that the first thing the settlers did upon arrival in the Plymouth Colony was to set up a communist system of production and distribution. Every resident of the colony was expected to share, to the extent of his or her ability, the chores of hunting, farming, cooking, building, making clothing, etc., and, in exchange, everyone shared the products of that communal labor.

That textbook communist economy sustained the Pilgrims through their first brutal year in the New World, after which it was decided that the colony was sufficiently stable to allow householders their own plot of land on which to grow crops they were free to keep for themselves. The fact that the colonists’ productivity increased exponentially with their own land begs the question: were the Pilgrims working harder now that they got to keep the product of their own labor or, conversely, were they prone to slacking off when the goods came whether they worked hard or not?

I guess you could say the Pilgrims were the kind of lazy, shiftless “takers” that Mitt Romney was talking about.

Thomas Jefferson once called a national day of Thanksgiving “the most ridiculous idea” he’d ever heard of.

Thomas Jefferson was not a fan of Thanksgiving. Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of church and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States. “Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason,” Jefferson once wrote, “and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”

For the record, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor refused to issue Thanksgiving Day proclamations during their administrations, too. So far there have been no signs of President Obama and the godless Democrats declaring a similar “War on Thanksgiving”.

If you enjoy watching pro football on Thanksgiving, thank a Democrat.

The first college football games played on Thanksgiving Day took place way back in 1876, but it was President Woodrow Wilson who got the ball rolling on Turkey Day pro football. When the fledgling American Professional Football League, forerunner of the NFL, set up its first season schedule in 1920, Wilson, ardent sports fan and former football coach at Wesleyan University, convinced the league to go head-to-head against college holiday games.

The pro scores from that Thanksgiving Day:

Buffalo All-Americans 14, Rochester Jeffersons 3
Dayton Triangles 28, Detroit Heralds 0
Chicago Boosters 27, Hammond Pros 0
Akron Pros 7, Canton Bulldogs 0
Decatur Staleys 6, Chicago Tigers 0
Elyria Athletics 0, Columbus Panhandles 0

Anyone care to hazard a guess on which teams’ players staggered onto the gridiron with a stomach full of turkey and pie?

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