Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2003 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Thanksgiving, updated for our timeshttp://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Thanksgiving used to be a day to thank the Creator for America's blessings, but we've gotten away from that. So let me take a stab at remembering some of the many reasons we have to be thankful.
Thank you, G-d, for letting us win life's lottery. Throughout history, people have fought valiantly for freedom, opportunity, the ability to chase their dreams. Lots of people are still fighting for these basic rights. All we had to do was be born here.
Thanks for NOT placing us in so many other countries. I can't imagine living in Afghanistan when the Taliban was in charge. Those boys made music illegal, kept girls out of school and made men wear beards. I don't look good in a beard, G-d. It grows in thick and red and I look like Kris Kringle, and that's no way to go through life.
Thanks for the American justice system. In a lot of countries you're guilty any time the government thinks you are. Here, we'd rather 10 OJ's go free than one innocent fellow be sent to prison. Sure, I know some worry about the Patriot Act, and we SHOULD worry about the balance between individual rights and government power, but look how reasonably we're treating the D.C. snipers. We're spending millions to ensure they get a proper defense, despite the horrors they inflicted on us.
Thanks for moving Madonna to Britain.
And thank you for American productivity. From the outset, American ingenuity and creativity has continually reinvented the way we do things. That's why we've got the largest economy on the planet. Despite the recent downturn, we're recovering and the next run of prosperity will likely put the last one to shame.
Thanks for our rich heritage. We're a hodgepodge of ideas and influences from most every place on earth, and therein lies our strength. Our mix of so many cultures and ideas has created a uniquely American spirit comprised of optimism, a strong sense of humor and an eagerness to face and resolve challenges, no matter what they are.
Thank you for our incredible bounty. Our many cultural influences has resulted in an incredibly wide choice of tasty dishes. I love them all but am really thankful for hot wings, ribs and thick, juicy steaks. And also for Dr. Atkins, who made it possible for us to eat these delicious treats again. Never did a man make a faster beeline from this earth to the heavens than he surely did.
Thanks for taking Barry Manilow off the charts.
Thank you for our homes. We have the highest home ownership of any country on earth, which gives us a stronger stake in our communities, our governments, our schools. Our civic pride is one of many reasons for our incredible stability, prosperity and success.
I know some worry about the apparent decay of basic values, but there is recent evidence we're doing better than we thought. Look at the thousands of young men and women who volunteered for military service. Despite the pain and suffering they've been through in Afghanistan and Iraq, you hardly ever hear them complain. Even those who have been badly wounded usually say the same thing: that they feel they let their troops down and wish they were back with them.
There have been thousands of heroic acts taking place every day in the battle zones. And when the heroes are given notice and recognition for risking their lives for others, they always say the same thing: that they were just doing their job and don't feel they deserve any special attention.
Goodness gracious, we know America isn't a perfect place and there are a lot of things that need improvement. The fact is there is a perpetual battle between good and evil in every place, and in every soul. A person would have to be a real cynic to not see that good wins out over evil in America more often than most places.
We have a ways to go, G-d, but it's worth thanking you for what is going right. That's what we should celebrate this Thanksgiving.
So thank you!
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11/14/03: Hang in there, tubby America, your day in the sun will come