Monday, November 23, 2009

"We Give Thanks"
by John Alexander Madison
November 23, 2009

“The First Thanksgiving”

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

Historians have also recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia. At this site near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record. Whether at Plymouth, Berkeley Plantation, or throughout the Americas, celebrations of thanks have held great meaning and importance over time. The legacy of thanks, and particularly of the feast, have survived the centuries as people throughout the United States gather family, friends, and enormous amounts of food for their yearly Thanksgiving meal.

Recent writings in this column have included explaining basic economics to the Governor of Colorado in “It’s Quite Simple, Governor, Really,” Nov. 16, 2009; “The Difference Between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil,” November 9, 2009; “Who Do You Trust, (Congress or God)” October 26, 2009; exposing the White House for its shameless and historically unprecedented attacks on the only remaining objective television news outlet in the nation (“Inexcusable,” October 19, 2009); and a tribute to a truly deserving Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug (sorry, Kool-Aid drinkers not the 2009 winner Barrack Hussein Obama) in “The Real Thing,” October 12, 2009.

However, in the spirit of continuing cooperation and interaction, it seems more appropriate this week to put all political commentary aside and focus on what really matters and what really matters is everything we should be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day.

Those who are blessed with good health, a loving, caring family (including grandchildren,) shelter, food, clothing, an ongoing source of revenue, many friends and our faith certainly have much to be thankful for. And aren’t we all thankful the laws of nature, for the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunities we have as Americans (while we still have them). Most non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, residing in America are undoubtedly thankful as well for the many benefits and privileges bestowed upon them by an increasingly tolerant, sympathetic and generous government.

While we give thanks for all the blessings in our lives as we enjoy our holiday turkey with all the trimmings (stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, or raison pie, and more) we will also remember those who are less fortunate. And most of all, we can be thankful for God’s love for us all.

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” Edward Sandford Martin

"Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns."

Earlier, I pledged to put politics aside this week. Therefore, it is important to also be thankful for our nation’s leadership, including President Barrack Hussein Obama (D), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D, NV), Senators Charles Schumer (D, NY) and Christopher Dodd (D, CT) and former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel.

Why? Because these folks and their disciples have, in ten short months, reminded us that socialism has never worked and never will. They have reminded us that no nation has ever spent its way to economic recovery. They have reminded us that arrogance is not a quality we admire in our elected leaders. They have reminded us that even if there is some improvement in our economy or improvement in unemployment numbers during the next twelve months, the national debt they have accumulated will take generations to resolve, and for those reminders we are truly thankful.

They have also reminded us that we should be thankful that the next Congressional elections are less than one year away and that Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Dodd and the like will be ending their political careers when the 112th session of Congress begins in January 2011. For that, too, we should all give thanks.

Politics aside, we should be thankful for all of God’s graces and all that is good in this world.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing..." Edmund Burke

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