Friday, November 24, 2006

How did they keep this a secret from me?

Governments lie to and hide things from their people. That's what they do. All of them. And mine is probably one of the most successful at this lying and hiding game. When it comes to a scandal or some corruption, I'm not usually too shocked. And then there are the things that shock me. Listen up people, there are some strange things going on in the United States and I'm here to inform you about one of them.

The Presidential Turkey Pardon. Yup, you heard me, the Turkey Pardon. Via her blog, Miss Lewis alerted me to this strange tradition, which has been taking place, unbeknownst to me, since 1947! Each year the president gets a turkey and then "pardons" it, letting the turkey live a long and peaceful life and eventually die a natural death. Now I'm not the biggest animal rights activist and have been known to partake in the force feeding of geese, but nonetheless, it does seem cruel to tell a turkey that you're going to kill it when you have every intention of not killing it. What we have on our hands here is a clear case of psychological violence (for a hilarious account of some Dutch psychological violence check out the Episode 201, Act 2 of This American Life, aired on 12/7/01). But in light of the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the US government would emotionally abuse a turkey.

By the way, did you guys know this was going on? And if so, why didn't you tell me?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes I knew about the turkey pardon. Learned about it on West Wing, where, like most(North)Americans, I get all of my civics information.

skhl! said...

I knew about it and I am sorry for withholding such important information. From now on I will take a more responsible role in keeping Claire in the USA loop. Oh! and I got you a cool present today!

Joyce said...

As always, I was aware of the dirty things our government was doing. Actually it's worse than you seem to be aware of. The National Turkey Federation gives the pres not 1 not 2 but THREE turkies every thanksgiving. only ONE of these turkies receives the presidential pardon. The other 2 get eaten. hows that for cruelty?

i've been trying to explain this tradition to my japanese students all week (doing Thanksgiving class) and it's definitely confusing them. First of all, they don't understand the "pardon" part, because apparently they don't have that here for death row people or whatever. then, they get all caught up on the NTF. why does this organization exist? what does it do? what is a turkey even? by the time i explain the actual turkey pardon, they are very disgruntled and just stare at me with frunched brows.

Anonymous said...

Joyce,
Do they make the pardoned turkey watch the other two get et? Oh dear, they didn't show that part on West Wing!