Be grateful, even for Congress

?On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment: halftime.? ?Author unknown

Surely, this is not the only memorable moment, nor the reason why Americans appreciate Thanksgiving, is it?

Nor should any other lighthearted declaration?at halftime or any other time of day?be taken seriously. An expression of gratitude for owning an Xbox 360, or the latest fashion wear from Abercrombie and Fitch is not really why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Not that one may not be thankful for the blessings of material success. It does, however, reveal our obsessive focus on less virtuous ideals.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best, ?Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.?

An expression of gratitude is not always a given response these days. As I look around my world, I find expressions that might give Ebeneezer Scrooge a real reason to smile. ?Ba! Humbug!? or a modernized version of it seems to be a fashionable statement these days.

In politics, it is not only fashionable, but if one does not encourage our peers to shout it out, then our peers might think we are one of those ?funny fellers??one of those left-leaning money suckers who want nothing more than to drain the rest of us dry.

If there is no more middle ground and no willingness to appreciate the role that a government ?of the people, for the people and by the people? does for us, that no government is preferable to a democratically elected citizenry?even an imperfect citizenry?then it is time for those people who are unappreciative of the benefits it brings, to cease and refrain from using the infrastructure that it created.

Stay off the highways and county roads. Pay back the CRP contract payments and farm program payments. Give back the crop insurance payments that paid the bills during the last round of droughts.

Do not call 911 when the house is burning down. If we find ourselves in a health crisis, the ambulance will not respond. When a criminal threatens our life, we do not call for help.

When we are laid off and find ourselves in the unemployment line?and yes, have no choice but to accept food stamps in order to keep our children fed?we should allow nature to take its course as severe malnourishment will determine who will survive and be able to function when times get better.

When charged with an alleged criminal act, the Constitutional guarantee of ?innocent until proven guilty? will leave us alone?literally?and anyone can become judge, jury and executioner.

Are we really willing to give this up?

Retired KSU Economist Barry Flinchbaugh is well-known for making a statement: There are two ways one can govern effectively; the first is through compromise in a democratic process, the other is from the barrel of a gun.

If we reject the first choice, we are headed for the second. And I do not believe we are as naive to think we can escape the second if we fail on the other.

That said, there are legitimate reasons for government, and we should be thankful for the strategic role it plays in our lives.

There are also legitimate reasons to debate the pros and cons of programs and tax policy. It is our civic duty to do so. But let?s stop the demonizing of those who have different opinions on how government should be run. Rather, let?s roll up our sleeves and take a seat at the table and get down to the business of governing our nation.

It?s not to say that everyone is competing for the humbug award. Amid all of the negative messaging that we see and hear, there are people that find themselves in the throes of immense tragedy, and yet find the strength to rejoice and be grateful for all the good they see in their lives.

A friend remains steadfast and upbeat, even though she has not only survived the onslaught of cancer, but two of her children are having a medical crisis of their own. They continually praise God for everything, even for the struggle to survive. It has made them to be who they are.

When I am not even close to experiencing a life-threatening event like that, how can I not be grateful and thankful for the blessings that I have received?

Rebecca Harding Davis wrote, ?For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet…. Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long??

May you have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.

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