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Being thankful

Register • Nov 27, 2013 at 2:06 PM

“For the general good of the Colony.”

One of the general goods we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that the 113th Congress wasn’t in charge of writing the Mayflower Compact because as the Pilgrims used to say:

“Thee and thy would be screwed.”

OK, maybe the Pilgrims didn’t state it quite that way, but with the way things are going, or rather, not going in Congress, the original Pilgrims, to avoid being sequestered, probably would have sailed back to England.

Unlike the current 113th Congress, the Pilgrims, as our forefathers, had the foresight to write a brief contract that essentially guaranteed the promise of cooperation among their elected leaders and the new settlers in the new world.

John Carver, the colony’s first chosen governor and the first to sign the Mayflower Compact, wrote that the compact was:

“For the general good of the Colony.”

Which eventually became the general good for all 50 colonies of The United States.

The Mayflower Compact has not only been called the seed of American democracy; it’s also been called the new world’s first constitution.

The compact’s impact, written 393 years ago, is not the main focus of what we now celebrate on Thanksgiving as we honor the Pilgrims who first set foot on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts on Dec. 22, 1620.

Yikes! Massachusetts in the winter time? Who was the Pilgrims’ tour guide?

Wrong Way Corrigan?

Amelia Earhart?

The Skipper and Gilligan?

The main focus of what we celebrate is the Pilgrim’s bountiful harvest in 1621, a harvest the Pilgrims were so “thankful” for that they celebrated with a feast in Plymouth that has evolved into our modern day Thanksgiving Day traditions.

Unlike us, I’m pretty sure the Pilgrims as they feasted were still very mindful of the Mayflower Compact that promised:

“By virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

Submission and obedience, Part I — Here’s hoping when newly elected members of all the various forms of local government here in the Funcoast meet behind closed doors for the first time, they remember to not forget the Mayflower Compact.

Submission and obedience, Part II — Of course twixt and tween tomorrow’s parades, football games and Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Thursday that intertwine with everybody’s personal traditions and feasts, you can bet your wishbone that most of them will think the Mayflower Compact is a float, a pass play or one of the Black Friday items on sale at the cosmetic counter.

This is why the 113th Congress should pass a measure that requires the Mayflower Compact to be recited on the floor, cue Sam Elliot’s voice, of Congress every year before they adjourn for their Thanksgiving recess.

If they did that, then maybe President Obama who usually pardons a turkey every year for Thanksgiving could instead pardon 535 turkeys.

What better way for our elected leaders in Washington to let us know that they know the Pilgrims not only gave us the ground plan for Thanksgiving, but also the blueprint for democracy.

Unfortunately, the Rockies will tumble and Gibraltar will crumble and turkeys will fly before that happens.

Why? Because, our elected officials in Washington and elsewhere in our country, govern to the people.

Whereas the Mayflower Compact suggested the promise of our elected officials governing for the people.

With all due submission and obedience.

At least, we can be thankful tomorrow for the parades, football and the shopping that now come with Thanksgiving.

At most, we can be thankful tomorrow for the Pilgrims who in pursuit of their religious and political freedom wrote the Mayflower Compact that set up the first governing system, not only for themselves, but for generations still to come in America, which has always been….

“For the general good of the colony.”

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