Curtis Dahlgren
Feast to famine: Canadian Thanksgiving to Yom Kippur, etc.
By Curtis Dahlgren
October 11, 2016

"All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me . . . For the execution of the journey I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophecied . . " – (GUESS?)

A FEW WORDS MORE: "No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. . " Who is this writing, and what is he talking about? A few words more:

"It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies . . There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because it comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures."

(believe it or not!) those were the words of Christopher Columbus, first translated into English in the mid-1900s. Is that the Christopher Columbus you learned about in your public school? Why NOT? (some would say "Christopher who?")? Liberals would ban Columbus Day except it's another excuse to bash our early history (Europeans "ruined" this hemisphere, this perfect Eden?). But there's the rest of the story.

The very real quotations by Columbus above are from "The Light and the Glory; Did God have a plan for America?" (the best book you've probably never read). It's on my Top Ten list – perhaps my Top Five. It was co-authored by David Manuel and Peter Marshall, Jr. (son of the Peter Marshall who was Senate Chaplain; author Catherine Marshall was his mother). From the back cover:

"Did Columbus believe that God called him west to undiscovered lands? Does American democracy owe its inception to the handful of Pilgrims that settled at Plymouth?"

A pithy excerpt from the opening of chapter one: "America, America – until about fifteen years ago, the name by itself would evoke a feeling of warmth. Whether it was pride or gratitude or hope, the response of the majority of people on earth was deeply positive. America's moral and fiscal currency was the soundest in the world; you could bank on it, and most of the world did . . . And then, with a suddenness that is still bewildering, everything went out of balance . . . Our young people began to revolt on a scale that no generation ever had before – indiscriminately lashing out at all authority or escaping into the mindless self-destruction of drug abuse . . The emerging nations, to whom we had given so freely, were almost unanimous in their hatred of us . . "

The authors were not talking about 2001 or 2002, although they sort of predicted our millenials. The book was published in 1977, so it was roughly 1962 they were describing. I remember the era well. Khrushchev banging his shoe on the U.N. lectern. The Cuban missile crisis. From the Sons of the Pioneers to the Beatles and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. All within the span of a few years!

"But where once we would have been up in arms, speaking out, writing letters, and voting, now we just shook our heads and counted it as [just] another sign of the times. If any one event could be isolated as that which marked the moment when our despair had begun to harden into indifference, it was when our President was caught lying to the people . . ."

Fast forward. Today almost no one even bothers to put a bumper sticker on their cars. Is that how much we care? More worried that your car may get trashed than about losing all your Liberty? Your car is your idol? "Don't worry; be happy"? Lying is just good P.R.(?)

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration . . [but] through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory." – John Adams to Abigail, July 1776

Thus the title of the book, "The Light and the Glory." Don't sweat the blood and the tears? Public relations people tout "awareness" of this and "awareness" of that (breast awareness in October), but our young people have almost no "awareness" of that "Declaration," or the Constitution.

Students of human nature aren't shocked that we have fallen so far, but we are shocked that society has fallen so quickly, so soon. This country is too young too die. HOW young is it? Well, America is "SO young" that – If Abraham Lincoln hadn't been shot, he could have been a contemporary of my grandparents, and Lincoln was born in 1811, during the Administration of James Madison, the father of the Constitution. My great-grandparents were contemporaries of John Quincy Adams – who was old enough at the signing of the Declaration to remember it!

In fact, if I were to go back in time for a four-generation photo with my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, I'd probably be living under a Whig president in the 1840s. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died shortly before my great-grandparents were born. I could say more, but I rest my case. God DID have a Plan for America. The Founding Fathers gave us a Republic. Can WE "keep it"?

P.S. Happy Columbus day. My father was born on October 12, 1900, so the day was dear to my heart. And before you trash Christopher Columbus, let me just tell you one thing: HE MIGHT BE MORE ASHAMED OF US THAN YOU ARE OF HIM!

Like many of us,
he was neither perfect nor saint (and he said so), but he played his part in God's Plan as a great Navigator. His crews weren't perfect either (the jobs were filled partly by released convicts). The story of Columbus' avoiding a mutiny – and almost running aground on the return trip (he landed in Portugal instead of Spain due to a storm) is a more intriguing story than daily soap operas or fictional fantasies. "The Light and the Glory" is probably available online as a used book, and I intend to buy one (I'm reading the library's edition). It's a must-read if you're an American (we're all Americans now?).

PPS: I remarked that in 2013 Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fell on the same day for the first time since 1888 and this year, Canada's Thanksgiving, October 10th, fell on the eve of Yom Kippur (they overlap at sundown, although your calendar may only say "Columbus Day"). The Day of Atonement is a fast day – thus the title above (it could've been "Feast to famine to Feast," because on the Hebrew calendar, the Feast of Ingathering starts on the 16th at sundown (full moon).

I'm told that mangiare, bere, ed essere means "eat, drink, be merry." There's a time for that, but as someone once said, "You'll never deserve more if you're not THANKFUL for what you have now, eh?" That's a paraphrase (Canadians are celebrating the Blue Jays' win on Sunday).

More to come.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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