Let’s Get It RIGHT This Thanksgiving America
It is Thanksgiving 2011. What do you have to be thankful for on this most American holiday? I’ll bet few people will answer that question with anything having to do with money. Material wealth creates choices, can make for comfortable misery, but does not bring happiness. We all eat food one forkful at a time and receive the same 86,400 seconds of life each day. After we meet our basic needs for sustenance and shelter, what enriches those seconds becomes paramount.
I am thankful for the things that enrich and have enriched my life. First, above all, these are my family, my wife and my three wonderful children. We scrap and fuss from time to time, but these scraps are mostly because love binds us together with commitments and obligations that also enrich and reward.
I am thankful for my parents. My parents, loving, educated Americans, instilled in me the peculiarly American values of egalitarianism, fairness, tolerance, and equality before the law. They taught me the importance of learning, that learning would expand my understanding and allow me to see more, experience more in each moment of my life.
I am thankful for my country, this messy democratic, capitalist state our founding fathers tore from mother England and molded into a shining example for the rest of the world. America is rich in natural resources, but her greatest strength is in her people and her values. Americans are like a family, bound together by obligations and commitments. We fuss and scrap to find the right balance between personal freedom and government intrusion. We don’t always get the balance right the first time, but we have faith in our processes and institutions to get it RIGHT eventually.
By RIGHT I don’t necessarily mean my own conservative, gun-toting, military-supporting, pro-business, pro-energy-independence, anti-socialist, pro-small-government form of RIGHT (and I fall on those sides of most issues). I mean the RIGHT that is the consensus of all Americans, the RIGHT that results from millions of free people making free individual choices, whether or not this ethic and process results in my way. I have sworn to uphold and defend this ethic, this process. This America is the country for which I am thankful.
The economic juggernaut that is China demonstrates clearly that a totalitarian, planned economy can be ruthlessly efficient. In the end, however, a people, responsible for themselves, free to pursue their individual interests, produces a richer, more efficient society. For this too, I am thankful.
Did I mention God yet? Thanks for all existence is something too grand, too special to reserve for one day a year. My sainted grandmother taught me not to expect any favoritism from God. She beat into my skull the adage, “The good Lord helps those who help themselves.” So I wake up every day, not just this day, looking for the inspiration and opportunities His magnificence presents. They are there all around us, in nature, in family, in people, in our country, reflecting His light.
I wish a Happy Thanksgiving for you and yours. Cheers, Pete