In a stunning development yesterday, President Barack Obama has declined to grant clemency to Tom Turkey. The White House press secretary read a written statement which said in part, "I know this decision is going to make me unpopular, but there simply isn't enough evidence to warrant a stay of execution. If I granted Tom clemency, I'd have to grant it to all the turkeys, and then where would Thanksgiving be? Where would the turkey industry be? To say nothing of the unfair favoritism I would be giving the tofurkey industry. And if I grant clemency to all the turkeys, how do I justify not pardoning all the pigs? It's a political can of worms."
The announcement came two months after the Supreme Court refused to hear Tom's appeal of the Circuit Court of Tulsa's decision upholding the Ada, Oklahoma, jury conviction of Tom for capital excessive gobbling. The attorney who argued Tom's appeal, Horace Feathers of the firm Feepadding Feathers Arness, held a press conference, saying, "The family of Tom Turkey regrets this short-sighted decision on the part of President Obama. This is just another continuation of the long history of prejudice against and persecution of turkeys stretching back to the Pilgrims."
The decision sent shockwaves throughout the turkey community. Turkey Lurkey declined to be interviewed for this article, but Henny Penny told the Herald-Picayune, "You would think President Obama of all people would understand how our culture marginalizes turkeys with harmful phrases like 'jive turkey' and 'turkey shoot'. The Lurkey family has been just devastated by this turn of events."
The Sierra Club issued the following statement: "This controversy once again casts a harsh light on the persistent misunderstanding surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. The fact is the main dish at the so-called 'First Thanksgiving' was deer, and it was provided by the Wampanoag Indians, not the Pilgrims. If President Obama really wants to do the country a favor, he should declare a moratorium on deer hunting."
The anti-capital-punishment group Citizens Against Punishment of Undeserving Turkeys (CAPUT) said through a spokesperson, "This is a very enlightened stand on the part of the President. For years, the cause of capital punishment has been trivialized by the Annual Turkey Pardoning. Capital punishment is something that should never be made light of. This may seem like an odd stance on the part of our organization, but the hypocrisy of pardoning one turkey while slaughtering millions does our cause more harm than good."
In an overnight Gallup Poll, the President's approval rating plummeted from 72% to 55%. Protesters gathered in front of Federal buildings around the country carrying signs like "Turkeys are People and People are Turkeys." Ironically, the National Association of Meatpackers reported that sales of fresh and frozen whole turkeys are projected to reach an all-time high this year. Foghorn Leghorn, one of the protesters in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, told this reporter, "Ah say ah say the only thing that's going to make a dent in this problem is a worldwide boycott of turkey. And that's never going to happen until Thanksgiving stops being a Federal holiday. Let's call a spade a spade. It's government-sanctioned bird murder."
Tweety Bird, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and Toucan Sam also contributed to this article.
© 2011 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. Please share this on the web by means of a link back to this page, but please do not copy.