November 1621: Governor Obama of Plymouth Colony prepares for the first Thanksgiving with his scribe, the boy Jay.
"How are preparations for our Thanksgiving Day feast proceeding, young Jay? I am eager to share the blessings wrought by hope and change, and the bounty that I have brought to this needy land and its humble yet dignified people."
"Yes, Governor, about the feast. I'm afraid we don't have much in the way of food."
"But I decreed a feast."
"Yes, I remember the speech. One of your best."
"And we have just been through Recovery Summer. Vice Governor Biden spoke at length about it."
"At great length, yes, sir."
"What of our stimulus measures, our grain giveaway plan, our venison buyback program, tax breaks for low-income quarter-acre subsistence farmers, the tree-sap initiative, cash for carp?"
"None of that really had an impact, Governor. Most of the programs were too complicated for people to understand, and for those who did, the benefits were only short-term."
"What about the goat-path widening project? The Plymouth Rock demolition plan?"
"Those projects are still going on, sir, and are way over budget. But they did not help us produce any food. As it is, most of the colonists can barely provide for themselves, and a large number are in need."
"Where's my Turkey Czar?"
"I think he's under indictment."
"And the produce from Lady Obama's garden?"
"We bought those vegetables at Whole Foods, they were just for the photo-op."
"I sent four men on a fowling expedition days ago, what happened to them?"
"They ran into insurgents and got bogged down on Cape Cod. We are pulling them out and they will definitely be home for the holidays. But the good news is that Chief Massasoit and the Wampanoag are bringing five deer to the feast."
"No, that would look like tribute. We need to apologize to the Wampanoag."
"For all the Europeans have done to the Native Americans."
"It's 1621, we haven't done anything yet."
"I can't believe that our programs have not produced the bounty we promised ourselves we would have. Of course, we were digging Plymouth out of a very deep hole. Our predecessors drove this colony into a ditch."
"That and the unpredictable fluctuations of the shilling against the doubloon."
"Which reminds me sir, the Chinese pirates are scheduled to stop by on Friday to discuss all that gold you borrowed from them that you want to pay back in notes written on birch bark."
"OK, well, get Mayflower One ready for my trade mission."
"Yes, we need to move this colony into the mid-17th century. I have important meetings scheduled in the south of France with European royalty. I am bringing them bound volumes of my collected speeches as a gift."
"Sir, couldn't we just privatize the farms, let people keep what they grow, end all these make-work projects, start trading with the Indians, allow hunters to hunt, educate our children, honor our families and work according to God's plan? Wouldn't that produce the bounty we seek?"
"Young Jay, let me be clear. Thou hast a lot to learn about government."
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James S. Robbins, Ph.D., former Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs, was formerly professor of international relations at the National Defense University, associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. Dr. Robbins is author of the recently released “This Time ...
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