Thanksgiving has always been among my least favorite holidays.
Not merely because of the mendacity of the traditional narrative regarding its origins -- you know, the whole "Indians and Pilgrims living in harmony" nonsense that conveniently ignores the genocide being planned even then by the latter -- but because confining gratitude to one day of the year always seemed rather ungrateful. It always felt to me the way Yom Kippur did as a young Jewish kid: one day of atonement meant to paper over the really lousy stuff you had done the other 364 days.
Nonetheless, because it is the time of year when we're asked to reflect on that for which we are grateful, I'll play along just this once.
Unoriginal though it may be, I am thankful for my wife, our daughters, close family, good friends, strong coffee and great wine, in that order. But if that were all, it would hardly be worth commenting upon. Such sentiment has been voiced before, and more elaborately by others.
So as I sat at my desk, contemplating what I might offer that would differ from the traditional boilerplate, I happened to glance up at my wall, at which point I fixed upon a photograph that has long inspired me, and which I came to own last year: a gift from my wife. This, I thought, is something for which I am grateful. Not the gift itself, but the message conveyed by the photo, an iconic image from the civil rights era: a photo of Dave Dennis -- at that time an organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality -- speaking at the funeral of James Chaney, one of three civil rights workers murdered in June 1964 in Philadelphia, Miss.
Read the rest of this op-ed on AOL News.
As usual, I'm grateful to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the AOL people, which is one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.