The tradition of presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardoning is an injustice towards the families of the victims of the turkey’s crimes. The pardoning power is relatively unchecked as outlined in the US Constitution. We propose a constitutional amendment to limit the President’s pardoning power to non-turkey peoples only.
Turkeys are aggressive animals. As many as 15 people are brutally murdered by turkeys each year, as evidenced in the ThanksKilling documentaries series (DeadMeat Wiki, n.d.). Aggressive behavior towards humans is a result of the turkey viewing people as subordinates to be dominated. Turkeys often view people as lesser-than on their social hierarchy, which leads to vicious turkey-on-person attacks and harassment (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2021). Just this spring there were reports of an aggressive turkey terrorizing people in Washington DC, with one person reporting “He almost clawed my face!” (Dolasia, 2022, Peoplemag, 2022). The DC turkey attacked resident of that area for months, until the city put an end to the harassment. The state of Massachusetts recommends using weapons to scare or threaten aggressive turkeys, although this strategy backfires in the event of turkey weapon thievery (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2021).
Wild turkey was an important source of food for the pioneers back in the 1600s. The turkey population declined steadily until near-extinction in 1937 (Earl & Kennamer, n.d.). Although the population of wild turkey is stable now, each year Americans enjoy roasted turkey for Thanksgiving. This holiday tradition stands to promote cultural gratitude, as well as to assert dominance over the turkey. Per tradition, the sitting American president pardons one turkey each year, which allows the turkey to bypass its Thanksgiving death penalty and live out its days roaming free (Klein, 2022). Turkey murder victims’ families are impacted by the pardoned turkey’s violent crimes, and the pardoning tradition threatens to cause further harm to the community.
Article II, Section 2 of the American Constitution authorizes the president’s pardoning power. As it stands today, there is no legal route to check or challenge a presidential pardon (Foster, 2020).
1. Status quo. The President of the United States pardons one or two turkeys each year. There is no legal recourse to challenge the presidential turkey pardon, even when it’s found guilty of mass murder. Evidence in the ThanksKilling series of documentaries suggests that upwards of 15 people are murdered by turkeys each year. The government’s failure to provide justice to the victims’ families threatens the mental health and well-being of the community, lowering economic output and undermining trust in the American institution
2. Amend the Constitution to include a legal mechanism that allows the community to contest presidential pardons. This route is time-intensive and may lead to legal battles extending past the turkey’s natural lifespan, robbing communities of restorative justice associated with the turkey’s death penalty.
3. Amend the American Constitution to limit presidential pardoning power to non-turkey humans only. This option effectively halts the turkey pardoning tradition and ensures that all turkeys pay the penalty for their crimes.
Option 3 is the most efficient solution. The presidential power to pardon is important and should remain impervious to challenge, but limiting that power to non-turkey persons is a simple and effective means to end the suffering of the families of victims of turkey-murder.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2021). Spring tips for aggressive turkeys. Mass.gov. https://www.mass.gov/news/spring-tips-for-aggressive-turkeys
Dolasia, K. (2022). Aggressive Wild Turkey Is Terrorizing Washington, DC, Residents. DOGOnews. https://www.dogonews.com/2022/5/4/aggressive-wild-turkey-is-terrorizing-washington-dc-residents
Earl, J., Kennamer, M. C. (n.d.). History of the Wild Turkey in North America. National Wild Turkey Federation Wildlife Bullitin No.15. Retrieved 11/26/2022 from https://www.mdwfp.com/media/4016/historywildturkeynorthamerica.pdf
Foster, M. A. (2020). Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues. Congressional Research Service [report]. Retrieved 11/26/2022 from https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R46179
Klein, C. (2022). A Brief History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-the-presidential-turkey-pardon
Peoplemag. (2022). Aggressive Turkey Is Attacking People on Popular D.C. Riverwalk: “He Almost Clawed My Face!” https://people.com/human-interest/aggressive-turkey-is-attacking-people-on-popular-d-c-riverwalk-he-almost-clawed-my-face/
ThanksKilling (2007) KILL COUNT | The Dead Meat Wiki | Fandom. (n.d.). The Dead Meat Wiki. https://the-dead-meat.fandom.com/wiki/ThanksKilling_(2007)_KILL_COUNT