Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I have some reflections on this Thanksgiving holiday, both personal and borrowed, sensical and whimsical.

There is no family or personal crisis in our midst, and we are truly blest that despite whatever eccentricities and foibles can be found amongst us, we enjoy the bonds of a steady and healthy family.  Considering what I have seen elsewhere in my time, this is a true blessing indeed.

Both of my sons in the Army are stateside for the holiday.

Sadly, my sacred alma mater, Texas A&M, will play the last scheduled football match-up against Texas University [they just hate it when we use that syntax] after a series of games stretching back 118 years.  This is due to a shake-up of the Texas portion of what has been the Big 12 Conference, with one result being Texas A&M moving to the Southeast Conference next year.

Despite the still-stagnant economy and a bleak outlook for the near future, both here and abroad, I hold out hope for improvement in the next year beginning with the upcoming election.  (I work toward that goal as best I can, since Hope is not a course of action.)

George Will provides some observations, including:

The euro is unraveling and might dissolve the European Union, that product of transnational progressivism based on the belief that national sovereignty should be leached away to clever experts who, uninhibited by the consent of the governed, can create clever things like the euro.
No one saw the possible problem with the word “despite” in this headline: “Gun crime continues to decrease, despite increase in gun sales.”
In Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Maryland [and Oregon, he neglects to mention], lemonade stands run by scofflaw children were put out of business in a government crackdown against wee people who commit capitalism without getting the requisite bureaucratic permissions.
In a television commercial for Ameriprise Financial, actor Tommy Lee Jones says: “Helping generations through tough times, good times, never taking a bailout.”
When the Wisconsin Education Association Council, having spent liberally defending public-sector union privileges, announced it was laying off 40 percent of its staff, it was denounced by the National Staff Organization, a union for employees of education unions.
A market research firm found that people who buy the $43,000 Chevy Volt (seats four in space not taken by its 400-pound battery) or the $34,500 Nissan Leaf, and who get a $7,500 government bribe (a.k.a. tax credit) for doing so, have average annual incomes of $150,000, and half of the buyers own at least two other vehicles.
Under the Essential Air Service program — yes, essential — the federal government contributed $3,720 to subsidize the cost of flying each passenger between Denver and Ely, Nevada.
Cal Thomas has a more melancholy attitude:
I am thankful to live in a country that still rewards hard work, personal responsibility and accountability. But that country, which was my role model as a young man, is rapidly fading into history. Human nature is such that a substantial number of people can be addicted to a government check if they choose not to work. But many of our grandparents taught us by example that the pursuit of success was a noble quest. Parents once bragged about what their children had become.
How many parents are bragging about their kids occupying cities and universities . . . ?
Hugh Hewitt is thankful for the veterans in our midst and on duty guarding the wall that protects our national bastion, and draws our attention to truly worthy foundations such as the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, or the Fisher House, or the Soldier’s Angels, or the Wounded Warrior Project, or the Gary Sinese Foundation, and concludes with:
So on this Thanksgiving, when heads bow and prayers are said of genuine gratitude for the blessings we all enjoy because we are all Americans, add a prayer and a thought for the millions of men and women who are serving around the world, gathering in halls from Kosovo to Djibouti, from Kabul to Baghdad, from Fort Carson in the shadow of the Rockies to thousands of feet below the sea.
Keep at the front of the list those who are without their loved ones who are in the mansions of the Lord already and right behind them those who are recovering from wounds suffered for you and me.
And as you settle down to turkey-induced haze and football, perhaps visit one of these wonderful groups and make your first expenditure of the holiday season one that says Thank You to the guardians on the wall. 
Jackie Gingrich Cushman includes George Washington’s first presidential proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving:
It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.
Donald Lambro cites Abraham Lincoln in his proclamation of 1863, at the turning point of the darkest days of the War Between the States, calling for the people to be thankful "in the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity", and to call for the blessings of the Almighty to care for "all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged,"  Lambro then places it in perspective to our current plight:
We are in a great political struggle between two sharply competing philosophies. One wants to raise taxes in order to grow the government. The other wants to lower taxes to grow the economy and make this the land of opportunity again.
Unfortunately, we may not see the end to dysfunctional government until after the 2012 election when ace election tracker Charlie Cook says Republicans will likely take over the Senate and hold the House.
Nevertheless, despite our deep divisions and economic challenges, there's still very much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving.
We live in the freest, richest, most productive country on Earth, a nation that is still the shining beacon of liberty, security and hope in a very dangerous world.
As Lincoln said on October 3, 1863, it is fitting and proper that this day "should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people."
Alan Sears tells of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving of 1623, after the devastating results of the brutal three-year experiment in communal living, foreshadowing the imposition of European socialism years later, and quotes Governor William Bradford of that time:
In this instance, community of property…was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. . . . The failure of this experiment of communal service, which tried for several years, and by good and honest men proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times – that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.
(As a ardent student of history, I am compelled to point out that the Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims was not the first to be held in America, as it was predated by one in the doomed colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1609, and more accurately, by the first that was celebrated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado y Lujan at Palo Duro canyon in what is now the panhandle of Texas, in 1541.)

I hope these thoughts have proved beneficial to your day, and help turn your grace to your family and loved ones, hopefully nearby, or prayers for those far away.

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