As America Drowns in Wokeness, Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 Should Be Read by Every Citizen


In the war for America’s shared culture, it might, regrettably, be time to pull a Dunkirk on Columbus Day.

I know, conservatives fought the good fight — if a bit too late, and not realizing the stakes at hand. However, one glance at social media told everyone all they needed to know: The left believes it’s claimed the holiday as Indigenous People’s Day, and anyone who still celebrates Christopher Columbus is a genocidal maniac.

They’re not just coming for Columbus, though. Next stop: Thanksgiving.

That might seem like a heady task, given that few holidays are so near and dear to the American heart. However, the left is now setting its sights on the fourth Thursday in November for reasons that are all too predictable.

The Pilgrims, to the American left, are nothing short of racist degenerates who ended up killing off the Native Americans. They were also colonists; in Washington, D.C., the failing public school system decided what it really needed to draw attention to last Thanksgiving was a list of ways you could “decolonize” your Thanksgiving.

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“If you celebrate,” of course, the chancellor of the school system advised people to “consider doing a land acknowledgment” or read not-entirely-Thanksgiving-centric books like “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” and “Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story.”

But most importantly, Thanksgiving acknowledges thanking a higher power — and we can’t have that, now, can we?

Indeed, our country is so thoroughly drowned in wokeness that even acknowledging God on any holiday will draw a rebuke, and that’s doubly true for Thanksgiving. Thus, I’d suggest that, if you have young ones at home, skip “Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story” and have them read then-President George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation, issued on Oct. 3, 1789.

The document, the first public proclamation of the holiday, isn’t centered on the gargantuan balloons floating down New York City’s streets or stuffing oneself like a buffoon. Instead, it focuses on the One too many people forget as they’re sitting down to dinner.

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“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness,” Washington wrote.

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be,” the proclamation continued.

There were plenty of things to thank God for in 1789, at least in the eyes of our nation’s first president, who urged Americans to “all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks.”

Washington said we should thank God “for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation; for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.”

That’s quite a bit to be thankful for — and keep in mind, this is 1789, a time when America’s position on the world stage was far more precarious and humble, and when the richest scion couldn’t hope to afford a thousandth of the luxuries and lifestyle the average wage-earners can avail themselves of in the present. Life compared to now would be considered, to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, a state of affairs that was nasty, brutish, short and poor.

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In 1789, Washington thanked God. In 2021, Washington, D.C., wanted public school parents to “decolonize” their Thanksgiving through “land acknowledgments” and woke kids’ books. Some change that comfortability affords us, no?

Washington went on to say Americans should “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

That, he said, would help “to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord; To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us; and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”

Instead of browbeating ourselves over “our national and other transgressions” in a performative fashion, Washington urged us to get on our knees and seek divine forgiveness for them. Compare that with the present, where there is no forgiveness for our transgressions, just perpetual self-flagellation.

Washington’s message is one of godly hope and national spiritual renewal, one which acknowledges the Creator as the wellspring of American freedom. It’s a document the country desperately needs to rediscover, and posthaste. Within it, we’ll find a concise guide to getting back in touch with a faith missing from America today.

Perhaps Columbus Day is well and truly lost under the tide of wokeness, but we can’t afford to let the waters of leftist outrage touch Thanksgiving. As the Thanksgiving proclamation demonstrates, there’s simply too much at stake.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture