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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcard: Special Thanksgiving Edition

    Spare the turkey, spoil the holiday?

    Each year, the National Turkey Federation presents the U.S. president with a live Thanksgiving turkey. The president, in turn, annually pardons the turkey, letting it go free rather than become the White House holiday dinner. Though the tradition has been around for years – its roots go back to Lincoln’s presidency – it was made official by President George H. W. Bush in 1989. But not everyone’s happy with the turkey pardoning ceremony. This year, should the National Turkey (no joke, this is what it’s called, capital letters and everything) be pardoned or not?

    When the president pardons some fat-ass turkey during a feel-good photo shoot this Thanksgiving, just say no. The annual White House Rose Garden ceremony borders on the absurd: Lo! Yonder George saving an artery-choked, feathered fowl. Of course, the bird isn’t grateful. It doesn’t even realize that the most powerful man in the world is staying the executioner’s blow. How benevolent. In typical American fashion, the obese bird will live out its days unable to walk, ensnared in marbled mounds of flesh, only to succumb to heart disease within weeks of the presidential pardon. Please. Let’s axe the sucker and eat.

    – Matt Stone is a senior majoring in international studies and economics.

    As the beneficiary of the gastronomic feat my father calls “”vegetarian haggis”” (stuffing and vegetables covered in thin strips of eggplant – delicious!), I can assure you that Thanksgiving without eating turkey can be a wonderful thing. However, being a vegetarian isn’t my primary reason for supporting the turkey pardon, nor is the fact that it’s a nice symbol of the compassion that should drive more of our government’s actions. It’s that without the turkey-pardoning ceremony, we wouldn’t get awkward pictures of our commander in chief gently patting a turkey with an outfit and facial expression far more suited to meeting the prime minister of Japan. Do a Google image search for “”presidential turkey pardon”” and you’ll see pictures of both President Bushes, President Clinton and others all awkwardly caressing the foul while desperately attempting to maintain the serious face that shows they mean it. Give thanks.

    – Lori Foley is a senior majoring in English and international studies.

    Giving thanks and complaints

    While most of us join wholeheartedly in celebrating Thanksgiving without so much as a second thought, there are some with qualms. Advocates for Native American rights have railed against the fact that the holiday celebrates what was essentially an invasion of native territories. Others have bemoaned the focus on unhealthy overeating. So, what is Thanksgiving: bad idea or time-honored tradition worth keeping?

    When George Washington initiated the first official Thanksgiving “”to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God,”” you can bet he didn’t envision a day of watching sports and gorging on food. That kind of celebration is appropriate for a celebratory holiday. Thanksgiving, however, requires more thoughtful observance. Thanksgiving is really about recognizing how lucky we are to have clean water, medical care and food to eat – in the way that the first Americans were giving breathless thanks for their very survival. It’s a time to consider the value of the food we usually take for granted. Really, a more effective way to do that would be fasting, not feasting.

    – Lillie Kilburn is a psychology sophomore.

    Packing family members ’round the table is an excellent way to celebrate Thanksgiving. While the big, traditional meal may only be important because we are habituated to it, the true importance of the day is in bringing together all those we care about. Sure, mass consumption might be an arbitrary (and arguably unhealthy) way of accomplishing such a feat, but picture this: 35 family members around the table – with nothing on it. Awkward. And I’m not willing to part with the table. So hold fast to our country’s time-honored traditions (even the unhealthy ones), and steer clear of the kind of revisionism and criticism offered by Brits like Lillie Kilburn. After all, she isn’t even American – what would she know?

    – Stan Molever is a philosophy senior.

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