Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude: who has it and who doesn’t

A not-so-sappy Thanksgiving message

I realize that Thanksgiving Day is nearly over and that, for many, the Black Friday shopping has already begun. But even though the people and not the birds are the ones now stuffed, I don’t think it is too late for a few Thanksgiving thoughts. Besides, it gives me some room to fire off a rather harsher message than the more cheerful and reverent holiday messages that seem to come earlier while the big parade is still on.

Gratitude. That’s the point of Thanksgiving, isn’t it? Not just feeling it, but showing it, too. Now, I don’t care whether you use the day to give thanks to God or your forefathers, your fellow man or to fate, or if you just want to share in a general, overall attitude of appreciation. It’s not my business to tell anyone where to direct his or her thanks. But it should go without saying that in order to show thankfulness, first you have to be thankful.

Now it’s about to get gritty:

The expression “Gratitude is an Attitude” was probably coined for a motivational poster, no doubt hung in countless public school rooms across the USA. So it should come as no surprise that that gratitude has become more like a platitude these days. Just look around, a shining example is that of the Occupy movement with its hypocritical disdain for the very system that afforded them the technology, gadgetry, and publicity to tweet their ungratefulness to the world.

With that still fresh in my mind, it makes it hard to believe that the political left in America can truly join in the Thanksgiving holiday, not in spirit anyway. Sure, they can munch turkey and watch football as well as anyone. But the attitude of the left is not one of gratitude.

How can it be when their political aims involve tearing down the hard-working and successful?

How can it be when their reaction to the bounty and success of this nation is to prickle with guilt? 
How can it be when they regard our pristine and guarded wildernesses as polluted and threatened? 
How can it be when they covetously long to import the failed social structures of Europe? 
When every utterance and expression from the left is critical of everything around in some fashion or another, how can they be at all grateful? And how can a day of cranberries and pumpkin pie offset that?

I’m not saying that the United States is perfect. Gratitude isn’t a state of delusion. But one would think that, even from a leftist perspective, some gratitude could be mustered up. This is the nation that has brought more diverse people together than any other. Together we have overcome slavery, racism, persecution and injustices of all kinds. In America, even the poorest enjoy a level of comfort afforded only by the richest in other lands. Only here is the beauty of nature treasured and preserved to such an extent.

And yet it is left to me, a conservative, to express gratitude at living in this liberal dreamland.

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