Six Reasons For Americans To Be Thankful on Thanksgiving Day

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Thanksgiving is not primarily about turkey, football, or even family. It’s primarily about giving thanks to God.

Two outstanding examples in American history show the way. In October 1621, after a winter when they had seen half their people die of starvation and disease, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bounteous harvest (helped by good advice from friendly Wampanoags) that meant they could eat until spring.

Two hundred forty-two years later, in October 1863, during a horrific civil war, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation pointing out to his fellow Americans that the country hadn’t been attacked by any foreign powers and had experienced social harmony and even population growth despite the carnage in battle and in army camps.

Just so, even though our present divisions and difficulties are sharper than usual, we Americans have much to be grateful for. Here are some of them:


1.  Abundance of Good Food

Almost all Americans have easy access to plenty of good food that they can afford to acquire.

A huge amount of good farm land, an at-least-somewhat free market, stability, and communities that care about their poor people ensure that few people go hungry unwillingly, unlike large portions of the world.

Like the Pilgrims of Plymouth in October 1621, we know we’re likely to make it through the winter.


2.  The Economy

Unemployment is currently at record lows and gross domestic product is growing briskly. But even when our economy is bad, it is better than the economy of the vast majority of countries in the world.

A poor man in America would be a rich man in most of the world. Since we all come into this world with nothing and leave it with nothing, we should be grateful for the superabundance that we have.


3.  Our Police Officers

Law and order is the rule in America, not the exception, which is why when it breaks down (temporarily) we are all shocked.

We have police officers to thank for it.

As in any line of work, police have some bad apples. And because police are so powerful, where they overreach they must be corrected and, in some cases, weeded out.

But those cases are fractional compared to the vast majority of police officers acting reasonably and with restraint and even with kindness while keeping the peace.

Much of the world suffers from chronically corrupt and lazy law enforcement officers. We don’t.


4.  Our Political System

The peaceful transfer of power over the executive branch of the federal government from one political party to another has occurred 23 times since the United States Constitution was ratified in 1787, without even a hint that whoever was in power might refuse to give it up.

Presidents have left the White House of their own volition 36 times since George Washington first took the oath of office in 1789, without ever a hint that even one of them they might not.

Two co-equal chambers of the federal government’s legislative branch vying with a co-equal president and occasionally checked by a co-equal court ensure that not too much ever gets done in Washington – which is exactly the way the founders brilliantly intended. The sovereignty of the states ensures that the federal government can’t always get its way. The abundance of local government ensures that the people usually have a say over their own lives.

The willingness of the American people to throw out political leaders when they fail ensures that failure is never permanent.

Many countries of the world suffer from governments that are too unencumbered. For gridlock, we should be grateful.


5.  Our Disagreements

One of the ways you know America is still alive, unlike many of the other industrialized countries of the world, is that we fight with vigor against ideas we disagree with and without fear of the government shutting us down when we do it.

At a time when free speech is undermined and even officially suppressed in many alleged democracies, free speech is alive in America. Even those who undermine it here, such as certain left-wing college administrators, cringe when they’re called out on it, because they know there is no widespread support in the country for shutting down the free expression of ideas.


6.  Religion

In some countries, people argue over whether to allow certain religions to be practiced. In our country, we don’t.

But we don’t just allow freedom to worship. Many Americans actually worship.

The country is not as religious as it once was, but it’s vastly more church-going than almost all other developed countries in the world.

Since religion is largely about praising and thanking God, and since we have so many people in this country practicing a religion, we should give thanks to God that so many people are willing to give thanks to God.


Happy Thanksgiving.