Everyone is living a stolen life.

The history of the human species is defined by millennia after millennia of genocides, and displacements of people.

This country, that Americans are so thankful for, is a stolen one. It was stolen for them by their great-grandparents. The labor that built it was also stolen. Somehow this doesn’t really dull the taste, though. People are perfectly happy to inherit stolen goods, a stolen country, and a stolen life. And I’m not sure it’s reasonable to demand anything else.

I think it is too much to ask, really. Can you expect an entire people to honestly grapple with any suggestion they they should not exist? That’s an absurd thing to expect. You should not expect a child born of rape to be sorry for being alive – it would be cruel to expect this, yet everyone living today, not just in the United States but in the whole world, is the inheritor of the legacy of human history itself. It is largely a legacy of murder, and rape, thievery, and genocide.

Neanderthals were murdered, or otherwise driven away so that Europe could be settled. Other waves of migration and displacement followed. The people who painted the caves of Lascaux are not the same as the present day French, but were some ancients extirpated long before written history. I can’t recall ever hearing of a people whose origin story begins with a genocide of other people, but this must have been a common origin for cultures that appeared after the first waves out of Africa.

The pilgrims, too, of course, preferred to delude themselves with the idea that god had made a “new world” for them. And of course the people who were there already were a non-entity. God had seen to it that diseases would destroy them and make way for their Manifest Destiny. The history was written by the people left alive, and the crimes were made righteous.

It leaves us here, living naively on the graves of dead cultures and people. To give thanks and be grateful for the lives that were stolen for us, because some truths about our condition are just too terrible.