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Dear Pilgrim Forefathers:

In this wonderful nation, at this magnificent time in human history I have many, many reasons to give thanks. Why am I particularly grateful? After centuries of hard work we became the kind of country you people would have utterly despised.

It's strange how we teach our kids this fairy tale of your courageous search for what we somehow find the audacity to call "religious freedom." We act like you actually wanted to see a place where the First Amendment became law. That our struggle is a continuation of your own. And then the real story becomes something of an asterisk to the preschool fantasy we've created, complete with its construction paper hats and handprint turkey art.

I want to take a moment to remember that it is precisely this real story that should make us proud and amazed and happy. Out of the darkness of human history one of the nastier, more narrow-minded collections of primates emerged on a small, rickety ship trying to find an out of the way spot on the planet where they could set up an ugly little cult compound and practice their backward traditions without interference. They survived, prospered... They executed witches and outlawed the really fun sexual practices. They suppressed women and punished nonbelievers. They banned Christmas, for Chrissake. And yet... the colony they created grew into the kind of country that would snuff out their whole stupid culture.

Oh sure, we haven't finished the job. Creationists are still selling textbooks. Michele Bachmann has government stationery. But more and more Americans are dedicating themselves to creating the kind of tolerant, open-minded society that would make you Pilgrims wish that first winter had claimed the lot of you. You couldn't walk the streets of our great cities without wanting to drop to your knees and await the Apocalypse.

Every day those who'd agree with you get shriller and more powerless. They're still here, of course. We will never get rid of them. We don't need to. We won't take away their rights. But we'll win when they can't take away ours. This big crazy country is becoming the kind of place that stands in opposition to every sick thing you ever wanted.

And as we stop pretending you're the good guys, we appreciate the subversive character of freedom more deeply. We realize it has a pitiless and undeniable logic - in claiming it for yourself, you allow others to claim it for themselves. In ways you can't predict. In ways you might not like. Freedom spreads, because we always end up discovering we're going to have to let others have it, to keep it for ourselves.

Thank you, Mayflower crew. You enemies of liberty, you opponents of everything America can be. We'll take it from here.

(NOTE: I write a blog of dark humor that offends many people on this and other sites. Your hatred makes me stronger, Internet.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  In this world of sin and sorrow, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Bibeau, slowbutsure, JeffW

    there is always something to be grateful for. For myself, I am grateful that I am not a religious nutjob, and that I can pray, "God be merciful to me, a fool".

    With special thanks to H. L. Mencken, who was grateful not to be a Republican, to Edward Rowland Sill, author of The Fool's Prayer, to Jesus, who taught us not to pray, "I give thanks that I am not as other men," even as these LGBTs, abortion doctors, women, immigrants, the 47%, the 99%, Kenyan Muslim Commie terrorists…and to those who taught us to appreciate irony. ^_^

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:20:20 AM PST

  •  Overly broad brush and some factual errors (0+ / 0-)

    The Pilgrims were not the same lot as the Puritans, and they were even a minority in their own group. (A bare majority of Mayflower passengers was would-be farmers and stockmen in search of land and fortune. This is not to say that they were any better.)

    The Puritans came a little later, in much larger numbers, and took over what the Puritans had started. They hanged (not burned) "witches" (that is, people who would not confess to being "witches" but were found "guilty" of "witchcraft" - they didn't know what to do with confessed "witches" and kept them in jail until the mania ran its course). They also whipped Quakers and other nonconformists out of town at a cart's tail, and hanged them if (when) they dared to come back. (They also absorbed the Pilgrim settlement at Plimoth and forced it into conformity with their own doctrines.)

    One other thing the Puritans did: they founded Harvard. In 1630. When their settlement was still a raw frontier. They were thinking ahead and anticipating the need for educated leaders - something that isn't universally recognized in our own day.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 12:03:03 PM PST

    •  Is your last name "Standish" by any chance? (0+ / 0-)
      •  I did change "burned" to "executed" though... (0+ / 0-)

        That's fair, and I should have caught that. The rest of the piece is technically accurate, though, and fair to the Pilgrims. It's clear from the Mayflower Compact that they wanted to form a theocracy, and if you re-read the piece I got the sequence right.

        •  Miles Standish and John Alden were "Strangers" (0+ / 0-)

          That is, they were not part of the original Pilgrim group. They were among the ambitious secular would-be landowners. However, they did both sign the Compact. (Most of the adult non-servant men, whether "Saints" or "Strangers", did - it probably seemed like the reasonable thing to do at the time, and they could, and probably did, argue over what form(s) the government should take at a later date.)

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:04:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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