Miss Perception (a/k/a Misperception)

> Suzanne Lafrankie is a talk-radio host on “The Big Talker” 1210AM out of Philadelphia. In full disclosure, I need to say right up front that I wanted her job. Actually, I contacted the producer of the show before 1210 had a woman on the air and suggested the line-up (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Shaun Hannity, etc) could use one. The producer, a woman herself, was dismissive and condescending, telling me I needed more experience and besides, they didn’t need a woman host. Shortly thereafter, Lafrankie was hired.
    I’ve listened to her on a few occasions but, honestly, our view of the world is so different that it’s of little benefit for me to do so regularly. This morning, while listening to another talk-radio program, Lafrankie had a one-minute promo for her show that spoke to the celebration of Thanksgiving.
    I can’t let this one go unnoticed.
    Ms. Lafrankie’s point was that we don’t “owe” the Native Americans any thanks for the holiday, we owe thanks to God. She was explicit in making the point that she did not care that she was being “politically incorrect” by either dismissing the Native Americans or overtly mentioning gratitude to God.
    It’s not the God part that I find misguided…its her dismissal of Native Americans and all they tried to gift us.
I understand that it was the colonist governor William Bradford who said we should give thanks to God for our bounty and George Washington who made it a national holiday. But to focus on the legalities while ignoring the intent is to miss the point altogether.
    Before we, the descendants of Anglo-Saxon Europeans, arrived in the New World and for some time thereafter, Native Americans were planting and harvesting crops with consciousness while educated European adventurers were sailing the globe…pillaging and destroying the cultures and lands they “discovered.” Each of the Native American tribes had a cultural understanding of and profound respect for all of Nature and Her creatures. It was with gratitude that they planted, with gratitude that they reaped, with gratitude that they hunted, and with gratitude that they consumed. They had an inherent knowing about the connectedness of all things…as well as an appreciation for the part each plays in the overall balance and harmony of our world.
    Beginning with those first explorers and settlers, right through to today’s advanced technological society, we have failed to accept the gift Native Americans tried to pass on and, instead, banished them to a footnote in our minds as well as in our history books.
    Life is a continuum on the way to eternity and, sooner or later, all things come ’round again. So here we are.
    Having raped the land, squandered natural resources, devalued animal life and desecrated the environment all in the name of progress, enlightenment and a more civilized culture, we none-the-less continue to question how this imbalance came to be.
    If I had gotten the job I suggested, instead of Suzanne Lafrankie, the promo for my show this morning would have conveyed a different message, for sure.
    I would have said that Thanksgiving is one day, of a possible 365 days, when we can literally stop the “needing” and the “getting” to express our sincere gratitude for all of the wisdom gifts we have been blessed with and to reflect upon all of the ones we ignored in the name of progress.
    My hope for a Thanksgiving message is that we learn to recognize what matters in the moment, rather than in hindsight. However, because it really is “better late than never”…my heartfelt gratitude to the Native Americans who endured great hardship for shining a light upon the path we were too blind to follow.  
    History cannot be re-written but the Now is full of possibility.

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