Pardoning a Turkey is a Difficult Cultural Tradition to Explain
Generally, you can explain away strange cultural artifacts by saying that they are traditions. When the President of the United States stands in front of a turkey and bows to it, or basically does nothing, explaining it as tradition doesn’t work. I’ve always thought that the practice of pardoning the turkey at Thanksgiving was a sort of bizaare act for the leader of the free world to be doing, but against the backdrop of an Azerbaijani holiday, and in the midst of a slew of Azerbaijani families, it is ridiculous.
My family and their friends asked me why Barack was bowing to a turkey. I had no answer. I don’t think it would hurt our standing in the world if we decided to put an end to pardoning the turkey.
(I couldn’t find a picture of Barack with his turkey, so the Daily Show is providing this nice shot of Bill doing his Thanksgiving duty)