Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Every Thanksgiving, I like to reflect and give a list of things that I am thankful for. This being a political blog, the list is principally about our nation and its government.

(1) I'm thankful that we live in a country that has peaceful transfers of power between democratically elected officials. There hasn't even been a serious attempt on the life of the leader of our country for 30 years and there hasn't been a successful one for almost 45. Whatever your political beliefs, it's hard to argue that government and politics works better when we aren't shooting at our opponents.

(2) I'm thankful to live in the most prosperous nation in world history. The Roman and British Empires were bigger, at least as a percentage of world population at the time, but no other country has created so much wealth for so many people.

(3) I'm thankful that the economy didn't sink into depression in the past 3 years. While I've been critical of policy specifics, I'm thankful for the courage of men like President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, who broke with their core conservative ideology in a moment of need to do what was right for their country. You no doubt know I'm no great fan of Bush, but this the financial crisis was a true moment of leadership.

(4) I'm thankful for a new generation that continues to progress civil rights in important ways. It is heartening to see statistics such as inter racial marriages being at an all time high, 70% of the public supporting allowing gays to openly serve in the military (and 75% of the enlisted), as well as the assent of women and minorities to positions of leadership in both politics and in the corporate world. Let's never forget that there is still work to do.

(5) I'm thankful in the unity of this country. We have political schisms, to be sure, but this is a deeply patriotic country. Let's never forget that almost all of the left and the right are true believers in their country, even if we sometimes disagree on the best course.

(6) I'm thankful for free speech. This uniquely American freedom, and it is uniquely American, enshrined in our BIll of Rights, often gets criticized as it protects racists, pornographers and idiots along with the rest of us. But the powerful principle that government has no right to tell anyone what they can or can't stay, full stop, is an enduring, powerful and profoundly moral value.

(7) I am, of course, thankful for my family and friends, of all political stripes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope that you are able to enjoy it with loved ones. We'll take a quick break from politics.

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