01 December, 2006

Presidential “Turkey Pardoning” tradition is a perfect metaphor for american racism and injustices

The Chosen Turkey deftly out-manoevres Bush in an un-rehearsed ‘ouch moment’.
Turkeygate, anyone?

The tradition of “turkey pardoning” in the USA is a wonderful allegory for america’s New Racism in the era of Corporate Globalisation.

Every year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation offers the president a turkey for Thanksgiving. In a ‘photo-op’ show of ceremonial magnaminity (in the White House's Rose Garden), the president spares that particular bird… but, in due course, gobbles another one.

After receiving the presidential pardon, the Chosen One is bundled off to Frying Pan Park (for real!) in Virginia to live out its natural life. The company which was awarded the presidential turkey contract (ConAgra Foods) trains the lucky bird to be tame, sociable, and house-trained when interacting with dignitaries and the Press, not to mention the thousands of children who will pet it for years in Frying Pan Park. I kid you not. The rest of the 50 million turkeys raised for Thanksgiving are slaughtered and roasted without a second thought.

That’s exactly how Racism in the Corporate era works. A few carefully bred turkeys – local elites of various countries, wealthy immigrants, investment bankers, the occasional Colin Powell, Kofi Annan or Condoleeza Rice, a few symbolic singers – are given Absolution and offered a Pass to enter Frying Pan Park. The remaining millions lose their jobs, are evicted from their homes, have their water and electricity connections cut, and die of AIDS. Basically, they’re for the pot.

But the Fortunate Fowls in Frying Pan Park are doing just fine, thank you. Some of them even work for the IMF and WTO – so who can accuse those organizations of being anti-turkey? Some are allowed to serve as board-members on the Turkey Choosing Committee, so who can say that turkeys are against Thanksgiving? They participate in it! There’s a stampede to get into Frying Pan Park - but who cares if the vast majority perishes on the way?

...................Never. ..Forget. ..New. ..Orleans.

Footnote: – this year, the bird’s name wasFlyer’. Hey, nothing goes un-politicised in the Big Power game. Perhaps Bush intended to evoke patriotic images of his Air Force flyer’s outfit at the “Mission Accomplished” ceremony. But realistically, it might stimulate the public's thoughts about flying the troops OUT, now that Iraq’s goose is cooked.

Bush lets this one off with a stern warning: "Y'all can live in the Free World provided y'all don't support Turkorrism, y'hear?".

This year's runner-up. He got dubbed "Tur-Kerry".

I can see further when I stand on the shoulders of giants. In that regard, I’ve stolen many ideas and whole phrases in this blog from Arundhati Roy’s brilliant book An Ordinary Person’s Guide To Empire”. South End Press, Canada, 2004. Highly recommended reading.

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