Every Thanksgiving, prior to digging into the turkey and all the tasty side dishes, I ask those sitting around the table to share what they are most grateful for. After all, the point of Thanksgiving is to remember and appreciate the blessings we have received in this great nation.
Following a hectic Thanksgiving week, I would like to reflect on some of the things that I am grateful for.
First, I am grateful for our nation’s Founding Fathers, who though they were imperfect men, had the wisdom and foresight to craft a Declaration of Independence that indicated that all men were created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Some Americans complain that not ALL men, nor women for that matter, were granted equal rights, thus rendering our Declaration of Independence a meaningless document. Rather than focusing on the good, they stress the negative. Remember, I noted that our Founding Fathers were imperfect men, but none the less possessed tremendous wisdom in creating our Republic.
This leads to the second thing I am grateful for; our Constitution. Since this glorious document was finalized in 1787, it has been amended 27 times. The threshold for an amendment to pass is for two thirds of both the House of Representatives and Senate to approve the amendment, and then three quarters of the states to approve as well.
Many of the things that some Americans complain about (lack of equality) were addressed in ensuing amendments to the Constitution. Thus, our nation has proved itself capable of correcting past wrongs. Sadly, our nation has too many whiners who never get around to acknowledging this progress.
A third thing I am grateful for is our nation’s system of checks and balances. The Legislative Branch serves as a check on the Executive Branch, preventing an imperial presidency. While some presidents (of both political parties) have pushed the envelope on this issue, most of the time Congress has fought to protect its role in the governing process.
The Judiciary serves to assure that legislation is constitutional. Through the years, some judicial activists have rendered decisions that attempt to create laws that would never have the remotest chance of being approved legislatively. This “legislating from the bench” is a perversion of the judicial process. We must be vigilant in protecting the checks and balances system and ridding ourselves of judicial activists.
A fourth thing I am grateful for is the Bill of Rights, which include the first ten constitutional amendments. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, religion, and the press. This freedom remains strong yet is being challenged by politically correct speech codes on many college campuses. There appears to be an intolerance of diverse views, thus repressing dialogue as opposed to promoting it.
What is forgotten by some is that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by Puritans who came to America to seek the religious freedom they did not have in England. The first amendment gives all Americans the right to worship as they please. Note, this precludes a state sponsored religion as was the case in England. It also means freedom of religion, not freedom from religion as many atheist and secularists seek.
While many radicals today seek a more Socialistic style of governance, it is interesting to note that the Puritans themselves learned the value of private property. Following a period of low food production due a communal agricultural process, the Puritans adopted private property, where after food production soared, and famines were avoided. Perhaps if today’s radicals took the time to learn our history, instead of reflexively condemning America, they would know this.
Though I have lived in Texas longer than anywhere else, I have had the opportunity to live in a variety of states across our great nation. In addition to having a wonderful family, great friends, and good health, I am grateful to live in one the most beautiful towns in what I believe to be the greatest state in the most incredible nation in the only world that we know of.
This year marked the 398th Thanksgiving that was celebrated in America. If you agree that there is much to be grateful for in our nation, please share these thoughts with a friend or anyone you meet; it’s always beneficial to receive a good word of encouragement.
Written by Rich Sena