Thursday. My self-assigned “post about world-building” day. It’s also Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday devoted to overeating, family strife, and promoting national mythology at the expense of historical fact. In recent years, consumer hysteria and socio-economic inequality have bubbled up into that poisonous mix.
Not that I have any personal issues with Thanksgiving or holidays in general. Oh, no.
I might as well keep to my schedule. After all, I have made up my own celebration of nationalism for the Restored United States. Before I made up Restoration Week I did a lot of historical and anthropological research on holidays, and I did a lot of deep pondering. There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to what we choose to celebrate, why and how.
Below is the excerpt on Restoration Week’s origins. It is included in Flight Plan, either as intro material or extras, depending on whether you have the current ebook or the print edition.
A short excerpt from Enduring Legacies: Twenty-first Century Institutions Old & New
The creation of Restoration Week and related civic holidays may prove to be the most enduring legacy of the New United Senate’s first session. Other laws proposed in that historic meeting are endlessly critiqued and questioned, but the national festivals were adopted with enthusiasm and gain in popularity every year.
The meanings assigned to each day of Restoration have drifted from the original definitions over the years, but taken as a whole, the event provides a regular infusion of nationalism. All the national holidays are periodic reminders to this splintered confederation that—despite all our many differences—we are all citizens of the same union, and we do hold crucial beliefs in common.
The importance of this shared experience cannot be overstated. In many ways, Restoration Week’s evolution and acceptance emphasizes how much deep, cultural change Restoration itself accomplished.
The visionaries who built the Restored United States government were idealists, but they were also practical. Their new nation was a splintered mess of polities as small as ten acres and as large as three fused “old states.” All agreed that continued infighting would lead only to eventual barbarism, but few were willing to give an inch on matters of local doctrine. Rather than leave the idea of the greater good to grow or die at the whim of regional opinion, the New Constitution’s writers etched pomp and circumstance into the new document along with stringent requirements for civic education. They deliberately promoted nationalism with the passionate fervor of true believers.
Reading the historical correspondence and memoranda reveals a delicious bit of irony: they never thought it would work. Never in their wildest hopes did they believe their cynical measures would become defining cultural touchstones. The record clearly shows that the nation’s commemorative legislation has far outperformed the expectations of its framers.
They had good reason to doubt their ideas would ever gain traction. Traditions glorifying the State seldom outlast the founding generation—even when they are required by governments that wield far more local power than the Restored Republic does. No previous regime in history had successfully established its own rituals of blatant aggrandizement and self-interest.
No one could have predicted that this time, a weary populace traumatized by decades of conflict would embrace any excuse for a party, nor that those adults would agree to their children being indoctrinated in ideologies that might someday lead them to question their own upbringing. And yet, observation of Restoration Week has grown from its original minimal, meditative focus to become an annual economic juggernaut with global impact.
The right ideas came along at the just right time, they were delivered with polish and skill, and all the stars aligned. Restoration Week reigns supreme in these United States, and its social influence shows no signs of fading.
Because it’s fun to talk about these things, I’ll do another post on the Days of Restoration Week and how I thought decades of observance might skew the original principles.