November 26, 2014
It looks today as if the only people with a reason to feel good this Thanksgiving are the approximately five million undocumented immigrants who will not be deported by the Obama administration. I can't remember a year that we have had more reasons to be dissatisfied with the way America is governed or, —more precisely—not governed. And where is our rebellion? It seems that we have already tacitly accepted that our grandchildren may represent the first generation to be worse off than their parents and grandparents. Where is our fighting spirit that says "Don't tread on me"? I find it more than a little depressing that the people show no sign of holding their elected representatives to account. Only one in every three of them turned out for the midterm election earlier this month. Former Senator Olympia Snow is right when she said "We are a great country and we should be governed as a great country." But good governance starts with the people being willing and able to govern themselves. How far have we strayed away from being the people who were so apt in governing and regulating themselves that Alexis de Tocqueville termed the American governance system "exceptional"?
What, I guess, we can be thankful for is that we have a strong and resilient economy with great human and natural resources, a favorable geography and an energetic and imaginative private sector so that our public sector failures have not put us—as of yet—at a global disadvantage. But let's heed Will Rodgers' warning that: "Even if you are on the right track, you still get run over if you just sit there."
I crave for a small but effective government that is not handcuffed by money interests nor held back by extreme polarization and purely partisan considerations. I crave for a government that sees its role more as an enabler than the perpetrator and the ultimate authority. And I crave for courageous leadership in the White House and Congress, guided by what needs to be done rather than by what assures re-election.
I give thanks regardless this Thursday. Because life and America have been good to me and I'm grateful for the blessings bestowed upon my children and grandchildren. It would feel better though if the blessings of America were more evenly bestowed upon all of its deserving people so that, as a nation, regardless of creed, color, social status or political conviction we could treat Thanksgiving not just as another day off, but as a moment to pause and reflect on how exceptionally privileged it is to live in America.