Sunday, November 18, 2007

For what should we be thankful?

By Carol Gee

Next Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday will find millions of families "saying the blessing" and sitting down to a special meal together. What is the reality behind the words of the blessing? The news is good. The news is bad. We have much for which to be thankful, or it's not looking so good. Which is it? And do I mean personally or nationally? In the case of today's post I mean national news (see headline references below). Personal news is far too individual for generalization.

Let's just lay it out. It has been difficult for me to write about politics recently because of the barrage of pundit opinion(1) regarding events in the news about which we Americans could be either optimistic or pessimistic. What does public opinion(2) hold right now? Are things going(3) well in Iraq or not? Is Congress succeeding or failing(4)? What about the upcoming election of a new president? The tenor of the news seems very mixed this week. It all makes me nervous as I read from my news aggregator "favorites" folder.

There seems to be too much riding on this election. Actually, it feels almost as if the future of the nation is on the line(5), as Senator Clinton claimed last night during the Las Vegas debate(6). There is a part of me that intellectually knows that is probably not true, but it feels true emotionally. Why does the situation seem so dire? There are two reasons.

Since 2000 -- The first reason is that the two terms of George W. Bush have been disastrous for the country. The lawlessness of the current Republican administration is very frightening. Guantanamo(7) is the perfect example. And then there is the aggressiveness -- very unsettling. And then there is the profligacy. You would think our current president (OCP) believes there is no tomorrow.

Since 2006 -- The second is that the 110th Congress has not done well this year, given Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate. OCP has mostly had his way since he was elected, first with his Republican majority and then with his veto pens. You would think that legislators care more about re-election than serving those who elect them, or upholding the Constitution(8).

For what should we be thankful? I will be joyful for family all together and for good food. I will be grateful for access to a variety of dependable news sources at my fingertips, the blogosphere, in particular. Despite it making us more unsettled, I will be thankful that more and more truths about the current administration ineptitude and misdeeds are being revealed by courageous people. I am delighted that we have such a good group of Democratic presidential candidates for whom to vote. I am cautiously optimistic that Congressional leaders may more frequently say "no" to the assaults of OCP on our constitution. I will be thankful when troops move out of Iraq -- and not into Iran. Though the amount is very scary, I am relieved to know more accurate war spending figures.

Personally, I will be thankful to be vertical, rather than horizontal. I am thankful I do not have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, and that I have Tylenol for my arthritic blogger's hands. And I will remain thankful to live with my dear "roommate, Seven-of-Eight" in this resilient United States of America.

References -- headlines linked:

  1. Karl Rove, Daily Kos join MSM - from
  2. How Do Americans View the World? by Steve Clemons at The Washington Note.
  3. Extreme makeover-Iraq occupation edition - at
  4. Democrats vote to curb Bush's warrantless spying- from Reuters.
  5. Democrats spar in heated debate - from
  6. The Democratic Debate seen from San Francisco, Boston and Des Moines - by Juan Cole at Informed Comment.
  7. Guantanamo by the numbers - New York Times Op-Ed by David Bowker and David Kaye.
  8. Important day for FISA and amnesty - by Glenn Greenwald at

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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