Last year, I wrote a Thanksgiving article where I beckoned my readers to really sit back a moment on Thanksgiving and appreciate our greatness of our nation's institutions such as Congress, even if they were stocked with useless, enriched turkeys who were failing to serve their purpose.
"Dinnertime this Thanksgiving is a good time to start thinking and talking about how much we value and understand our country," I worte.
This year, my publisher at Context Florida, Peter Schorsch, sent out an email looking for some inspiring Thanksgiving copy: "Anyone who would like to share with readers what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving?" he asked.
Before I got the email, I had decided to not to write a Thanksgiving column this year.
Another year has gone by and like a lot of Americans, I'm feeling a little bit more angry, not grateful, about the way this country is governed (or not governed) and a growing loss of spirit and hope about the future of this nation.
At Thanksgiving Dinner in 2014, there will be many of us sitting around our holiday spreads, particularly older Americans who lived better times, thinking not about how grateful we are to be citizens of this country (which became a bit easier this week for some who are not), but how fucked up this country, its values, its morals, and its governments have become.
This week's news cycle kind of set me in a mood for Thanksgiving.
First, Bill Cosby, up to now a cultural icon in entertainment, comedy and racial issues, continued to get pummeled with allegations of sexual misconduct after sending a tweet innocuously asking followers to "meme" his posted image. Even worse, issues were further raised about coverups of this alleged criminal behavior by the entertainment industry. Apparently, according to allegations, while Bill was gently and masterfully pushing Jell-O on our eager palettes and acting as the ultimate sitcom role model for dads, he was at the same time dropping sedatives in women's drinks to commit unspeakable acts on them.
Bet some of us will be thinking about that when Aunt Betsy sets down the jiggling Jell-O mold on the Thanksgiving table this year.
Then there was the decision of the grand jury to exonerate the police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown, and the subsequent looting and rioting in Ferguson over that decision that evoked images of the burning ghettos in American cities in the late 1960s. While many portrayed the Ferguson grand jury verdict as a failure of the American criminal justice system and an affirmation for police brutality, it also illustrated a questionable toleration of the growing power of mob violence in our dialogue of issues surrounding race, justice and authority, in this case on the streets rather than in social media.
It's just not what happened in Ferguson that leads to build my Thanksgiving cynicism, but the perverted perspective in the way events there were reported that tolerated, even justified, the mob destruction of that town.
Also, there was the resignation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, allegedly falling on his sword for Obama's loss of Iraq to ISIS. Just another example of the bad spin and distraction tactics used during his administration to answer for the failure of a policy of abandonment in Iraq and his manifestation of American weakness arising from the bloody chaos characterized as an Arab "Spring" in other Middle Eastern countries.
So this year, encumbered with a constant bombardment of failure of our American character and basic tenets of our life in terms of peace and security both here and abroad, I'm not feeling like writing about how grateful I am to be an American celebrating Thanksgiving.
But I do want to thank Peter for publishing my thoughts, and celebrate both my right to write my ungrateful thoughts and his right to allow me to do so.
Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly's Kommentary (stevenkurlander.com) and writes for Context Florida and The Huffington Post and can be found on Twitter @Kurlykomments. He lives in Monticello, N.Y.