Give thanks, think peace, not politics
Since we paused last Thanksgiving to ponder our many blessings and enjoy the good food and better time with our families, much of what we thought we knew about politics, government and our fellow Americans has been turned upside down.
No doubt that will be a topic of conversation at many tables today, as we catch up with friends and family we may see only rarely. A word to the wise, however: There is a reason politics often is banned as a topic at holiday gatherings.
What has happened during the past 12 months is simple: A very large number of people in our country have been reminded of just how unhappy we are with our government. That displeasure often stems from the economy. Many people are working more and enjoying it, financially at least, less. Many others cannot find good jobs at all. The future — that of our children and grandchildren — is more uncertain than many people can remember.
So they rebelled at the polls.
That rebellion made many other Americans very unhappy. Now they, too, wonder about the future.
In some ways, then, we Americans are a very unhappy people. What do we have to be grateful for, this Thanksgiving?
So much, really.
Our hand-wringing seems laughable to the vast majority of the 7.3 billion people on our planet.
Pause before you sit down at the table today, to think about it.
Financially, no other country’s residents are as prosperous and secure as ours. There is a reason we worry about illegal immigration. It is that millions of people come here because ours is a land of opportunity.
Overwhelmingly, we treat one another as we wish to be treated ourselves. Are there exceptions to that? Yes, but they are so rare that often, they make headlines. For billions of our neighbors, bigotry of one form or another isn’t news.
For all its flaws, our government is based on a one-word principle: liberty. In most other countries, it is just a word.
Perhaps the single most important aspect of being an American, as many foreign observers have noted for two centuries, is that we recognize our flaws and strive constantly to be better as a nation and as individual Americans.
Finally, ask yourself this: If in any way you found your back against the wall, what kind of people would you want with you?
Your fellow Americans, of course.
Yes, much has changed during the past year, but one thing has not: We remain blessed by a Creator who continues to be gracious to us. That is reason to bow our heads today in humble gratitude.