All my life, I have always thought it was the coolest thing on planet Earth to be an American. I have been to at least 7different countries or political jurisdictions in the world, and whenever someone asks me, “Where are you from?” it is a special thrill to be able to answer, “America – I’m an American.”
Thanksgiving is the unique American holiday. We share Christmas and Easter with every other Christian nation. Most every country celebrates its Independence Day, and the birthdays of their founding heroes. Thanksgiving is ours, where we give our deepest thanks to Providence for the extraordinary gift of America to mankind.
Other countries have their special times to celebrate their uniqueness, when their citizens take justifiable pride in their country’s achievements, and all to the good. Thanksgiving is America’s Day, the time when all Americans – all – get to celebrate the achievements of the most successful society in human history.
Tragically, however, there is a group of Americans for whom Thanksgiving will be bleak. Pessimists.
The purpose of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for being American. Thankful with no buts. This is the day to celebrate the goodness of our country – the moral goodness, the moral decency of American institutions, American history, and the character of the American people.
No whining and moaning about what happened to the Indians, or about slavery and poverty and racism. No buts. Think that pessimists can do this? Let’s see. Ask any you might know to agree that:
- America is the least racist nation on earth (to disagree, another country must be named and knowledgeably described with less racial turmoil and animosity).
- Americans are the most charitable and generous people on our planet; no other people or country comes remotely close.
- America has more religious freedom than any other nation.
- American capitalism has created more wealth for more people than any economy in the world history.
- American soldiers have brought more freedom to more people throughout the world than those of any country in world history.
- Western Civilization, of which America is the pre-eminent example, has brought incalculable benefits to mankind, compared to which its blemishes seem negligible.
- I love being American. I am proud to be an American with no shame, embarrassment, or apology.
The terrible problem pessimists will have answering yes to any of these questions, and thus be thankful for America on Thanksgiving is that they can’t really celebrate being American, for they feel guilty and embarrassed about it.
Yet to truly celebrate Thanksgiving is not just to be thankful for America with no buts, but also to be thankful for America with no fear.
Yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, a Reuters-Zogby poll was released, claiming its results showed that:
“Americans enter the holiday season in a dark mood, with economic worries, security fears and a lack of confidence in government fueling growing pessimism.”
An inspiring antidote to this pessimism was provided last week (11/16) by Rudy Giuliani in his speech to the Federalist Society. I encourage you to read it entire. It’s funny and instructive. For example:
“I stand with Ronald Reagan. He was once accused of having a 19th century attitude on law and order. He responded that it was a false charge. He had an 18th century attitude.”
The antidote was provided at the end of his speech:
“I get very, very frustrated when I hear Americans talk about or hear certain Americans talk about how difficult the problems we face are, how overwhelming they are, what a dangerous era we live in. I think we’ve lost perspective. We’ve always had difficult problems, we’ve always had great challenges, and we’ve always lived in danger.
Do we think our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents didn’t live in danger and didn’t have difficult problems? Do we think the Second World War was less difficult that our struggle with Islamic terrorism? Do we think that the Great Depression was a less difficult economic struggle for people to face than the struggles we’re facing now?
Have we entirely lost perspective of the great challenges America has faced in the past and has been able to overcome and overcome brilliantly?”
He could also have used an instance when America was far, far more stuck at the bottom of the barrel than now – in 1980, at the close of the impossibly disastrous Carter presidency with unemployment, inflation, and interest rates staggeringly high and everyone from Henry Kissinger on down convinced we had lost the Cold War.
I want you to trust me on this. By next Thanksgiving, that Reuters-Zogby pessimism will be a distant memory. All the Democrats have to sell is fear, surrender, and taxes.
We, on the other hand, can celebrate Thanksgiving with no pessimistic fear, guilt, or embarrassment. We can revel in the fact that Americans have so impossibly much to celebrate on this day that, by comparison, our country’s flaws don’t matter. That America is the noblest nation in the history of humanity. That we are members of history’s greatest civilization at its prime.
Take the time to savor your presence in history, the incredible blessing Providence has bestowed upon you in being an American, on this day. Drain the goblet of gratitude while liberals and politicos quaff their cup of guilt. Gratitude to Providence for the existence of America, gratitude for the privilege of being American.
Giving such thanks for being American is a curiously humbling experience. Humbling in an Einsteinian sense. There’s a story about Albert Einstein attending a scientific conference with a friend, who points out a young promising physicist. “Professor Anderson,” Einstein’s friend comments in admiration, “is a very humble man.” Einstein looks at his friend with scorn, and replies derisively, “Humble?? He hasn’t done anything yet to be humble about!”
Just as Einstein had accomplished more to be humble about than any other scientist, so America has accomplished more to be humble about than any nation in the saga of civilization. It’s funny how real pride and real humility are two sides of the same coin.
So primarily, Thanksgiving is the opportunity to express our gratitude towards Providence for the humbling honor of participating in and contributing to a civilization that stands at the pinnacle of history, a civilization that the Greeks would have called makarios – blessed.
For me personally, it is an opportunity to thank all of you for being a part of my listening audience. Quite frankly, it is an honor to broadcast for you, for people whose values I share. Please accept my deepest wishes for the Happiest of Thanksgivings. On this day, every American has the opportunity to be thankful for America.