Thank You!

Every year it seems that the ramp-up to the Christmas -- er, holiday season starts earlier and earlier. Summer ends, kids go back to school, the NFL gets started, and before you know it, it's Halloween. Once the candy is all but eaten and the pumpkins are rancid, the relentless holiday muzak pipes up in almost every retail outlet in America. We all get a steady diet of glossy TV commercials as sparkly decorations start springing up. Nowadays, it is not that uncommon to see Christmas lights before Thanksgiving. Twenty-five years ago, one would likely be made an outcast for such heresy...because no one did it.

Don't misunderstand me -- I love Christmas. But my issue is with the halfhearted drive-by Thanksgiving gets. Granted, Thanksgiving is not the Super Bowl of retail that Christmas is. Nor does it generate the hype and the proceeds of Halloween. And I do not for a second begrudge either of these real, organic economic stimuli for our private sector. But as a patriotic American holiday, Thanksgiving should rank a close second to Independence Day. Instead, Thanksgiving generates about as much buzz as a cup of decaf.

Red-blooded American male that I am, the thought of abundant, delicious food; plentiful drink; and nine hours of football naturally gets me on my feet. However, this holiday carries a much deeper meaning -- and I feel that now, more than at any other time in my life, that meaning needs to be trumpeted across the fruited plains. Give thanks for living in the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks for our forefathers' sacrifices to make this the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks that fate brought together brilliant minds and indomitable wills in Philadelphia 234 years ago to found the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks that America is (still) the last best hope on Earth! And of course, give thanks to God, of all faiths, as the pilgrims did almost four hundred years ago, for blessing us with this beautiful, bountiful, and free land.        

Amid the current push toward big-government socialism, the apology tours, and the attempted dismantling of our Constitution, it seems more important than ever for us to fully appreciate what this country has done and what it stands for. Make it a point to ensure that our children fully understand how lucky they are to live in this country -- a country whose path to greatness is fraught with blood and sacrifice. Make sure they know how more than half of the pilgrims died in that first harsh winter at Plymouth. How they fled Europe on a harrowing three-month journey to seek religious freedom on this untamed continent. How Governor William Bradford realized hundreds of years ago that socialism and communism did not work. Bradford's colony flourished only once a meritocracy was established -- a free market-based system which incentivized production through private ownership. This experiment in many ways provided the prototype for the greater experiment that would become the United States of America 150 years later.

Unfortunately, this is not in most textbooks, nor is it taught at most schools. This vital piece of American history has been rewritten into a tale of European imperialism and persecution of Native Americans (hat tip: Uncle Joe).

No, our country is not without flaws, our history not without missteps. But as man is inherently flawed, it stands to reason that a society for the people and by the people has flaws. To expect a pristine, utopian result from this bold experiment is dangerously naïve. Our founding fathers understood this 234 years ago. They recognized oppressive authoritarianism and all its defects. They fervently opposed big government and big taxes and put forth a vision that would change the world forever. Freedom and liberty are not rewards to be meted out by kings, czars, or presidents. They are bestowed on all humanity by its Creator.

Capitalism and democracy, when unleashed and executed properly, work...period. They've been wildly successful for over two hundred years. It is foolish, insane, or both to attempt to drastically alter what's proven to be the winningest formula in the history of humanity -- one that has blanketed much of the world in freedom, fed much of its starving masses, and been a leader in progress through unfettered innovation for more than a century. The founding principles of the United States of America will never be outdated and will never need to be reset.

Ronald Reagan once referred to America as "a shining city upon a hill." He took this phrase from a sermon by John Winthrop, one of the early pilgrims who journeyed here for freedom from the intrusive English government. The early settlers of this country and those who liberated it a century later had an unwavering vision for this country. They saw through the illusions of Europe 's monarchies and took a courageous leap of faith.

In its relatively short existence, America has sped by the rest of the world and become the richest and most powerful country in history. Nations in the Middle East are centuries behind, their corrupt tyrannies with their fanatical pawns laying the blame on us for everything terribly wrong in their society. Welfare states in Europe, stuck in self-inflicted economic purgatory, are now at their boiling point. Whom will they turn to for cash and protection when the U.S. becomes one of them?

America is a shining city upon a hill, and like any big city, it has its rats and its bad neighborhoods, its peaks and its valleys. But to think that this country needs to be torn down and reconstructed in order to right any perceived historical wrongs or to level the global playing field is very wrong, very diabolical, or worst of all, both. A weakened, weak-kneed United States puts the free world at great risk both economically and defensively.

So as the wonderful aromas of Thanksgiving kick-start your salivary glands and warm your soul, take heart -- not only in the wonderful feast, but also in the knowledge that you are fortunate enough to have been born or to live in the United States, a country like none that's ever existed. Where most of us take food, shelter, and liberty for granted; where the dreams of freedom and prosperity 390 years ago have come true beyond the wildest hopes of the pilgrims. Amid the din of cutlery, relatives, and football, take a moment to digest all of this and say, "Thank you."
Every year it seems that the ramp-up to the Christmas -- er, holiday season starts earlier and earlier. Summer ends, kids go back to school, the NFL gets started, and before you know it, it's Halloween. Once the candy is all but eaten and the pumpkins are rancid, the relentless holiday muzak pipes up in almost every retail outlet in America. We all get a steady diet of glossy TV commercials as sparkly decorations start springing up. Nowadays, it is not that uncommon to see Christmas lights before Thanksgiving. Twenty-five years ago, one would likely be made an outcast for such heresy...because no one did it.

Don't misunderstand me -- I love Christmas. But my issue is with the halfhearted drive-by Thanksgiving gets. Granted, Thanksgiving is not the Super Bowl of retail that Christmas is. Nor does it generate the hype and the proceeds of Halloween. And I do not for a second begrudge either of these real, organic economic stimuli for our private sector. But as a patriotic American holiday, Thanksgiving should rank a close second to Independence Day. Instead, Thanksgiving generates about as much buzz as a cup of decaf.

Red-blooded American male that I am, the thought of abundant, delicious food; plentiful drink; and nine hours of football naturally gets me on my feet. However, this holiday carries a much deeper meaning -- and I feel that now, more than at any other time in my life, that meaning needs to be trumpeted across the fruited plains. Give thanks for living in the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks for our forefathers' sacrifices to make this the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks that fate brought together brilliant minds and indomitable wills in Philadelphia 234 years ago to found the greatest country in the history of mankind! Give thanks that America is (still) the last best hope on Earth! And of course, give thanks to God, of all faiths, as the pilgrims did almost four hundred years ago, for blessing us with this beautiful, bountiful, and free land.        

Amid the current push toward big-government socialism, the apology tours, and the attempted dismantling of our Constitution, it seems more important than ever for us to fully appreciate what this country has done and what it stands for. Make it a point to ensure that our children fully understand how lucky they are to live in this country -- a country whose path to greatness is fraught with blood and sacrifice. Make sure they know how more than half of the pilgrims died in that first harsh winter at Plymouth. How they fled Europe on a harrowing three-month journey to seek religious freedom on this untamed continent. How Governor William Bradford realized hundreds of years ago that socialism and communism did not work. Bradford's colony flourished only once a meritocracy was established -- a free market-based system which incentivized production through private ownership. This experiment in many ways provided the prototype for the greater experiment that would become the United States of America 150 years later.

Unfortunately, this is not in most textbooks, nor is it taught at most schools. This vital piece of American history has been rewritten into a tale of European imperialism and persecution of Native Americans (hat tip: Uncle Joe).

No, our country is not without flaws, our history not without missteps. But as man is inherently flawed, it stands to reason that a society for the people and by the people has flaws. To expect a pristine, utopian result from this bold experiment is dangerously naïve. Our founding fathers understood this 234 years ago. They recognized oppressive authoritarianism and all its defects. They fervently opposed big government and big taxes and put forth a vision that would change the world forever. Freedom and liberty are not rewards to be meted out by kings, czars, or presidents. They are bestowed on all humanity by its Creator.

Capitalism and democracy, when unleashed and executed properly, work...period. They've been wildly successful for over two hundred years. It is foolish, insane, or both to attempt to drastically alter what's proven to be the winningest formula in the history of humanity -- one that has blanketed much of the world in freedom, fed much of its starving masses, and been a leader in progress through unfettered innovation for more than a century. The founding principles of the United States of America will never be outdated and will never need to be reset.

Ronald Reagan once referred to America as "a shining city upon a hill." He took this phrase from a sermon by John Winthrop, one of the early pilgrims who journeyed here for freedom from the intrusive English government. The early settlers of this country and those who liberated it a century later had an unwavering vision for this country. They saw through the illusions of Europe 's monarchies and took a courageous leap of faith.

In its relatively short existence, America has sped by the rest of the world and become the richest and most powerful country in history. Nations in the Middle East are centuries behind, their corrupt tyrannies with their fanatical pawns laying the blame on us for everything terribly wrong in their society. Welfare states in Europe, stuck in self-inflicted economic purgatory, are now at their boiling point. Whom will they turn to for cash and protection when the U.S. becomes one of them?

America is a shining city upon a hill, and like any big city, it has its rats and its bad neighborhoods, its peaks and its valleys. But to think that this country needs to be torn down and reconstructed in order to right any perceived historical wrongs or to level the global playing field is very wrong, very diabolical, or worst of all, both. A weakened, weak-kneed United States puts the free world at great risk both economically and defensively.

So as the wonderful aromas of Thanksgiving kick-start your salivary glands and warm your soul, take heart -- not only in the wonderful feast, but also in the knowledge that you are fortunate enough to have been born or to live in the United States, a country like none that's ever existed. Where most of us take food, shelter, and liberty for granted; where the dreams of freedom and prosperity 390 years ago have come true beyond the wildest hopes of the pilgrims. Amid the din of cutlery, relatives, and football, take a moment to digest all of this and say, "Thank you."