It’s Thanksgiving time and the winter holidays are coming soon. It’s a time to be with friends and family and reflect on the things in our lives we have to be thankful for. At the same time, America is a nation deeply divided. It’s little wonder then that we don’t all agree on some things that we as a nation should have a sense of gratitude for. The left and the right value and therefore are thankful for different things. On the right, we get to celebrate the greatness and wisdom of the founders and the country they created. It’s unfortunate then that some of those things are not universally understood or held in high esteem by all Americans, some examples are worth mentioning, such as Freedom of the Press, whose demise has been greatly exaggerated, American Exceptionalism, the idea that America’s existence has been a net positive for the world, and the fact that we are a democratic republic, and not (so far) a banana republic.
Freedom of the Press. Contrary to what the left-leaning press would tell you, freedom of the press is alive and well. President Trump’s anti-press bluster is unrelenting, especially regarding his favorite targets, namely The New York Times and CNN. His issue with them is not the reporting of facts, but the reporting of opinion as fact or worse, false facts. Though there has been a steady stream of anti-Trump rhetoric coming from these outlets and others, and though Trump does not mince words when it comes to his contempt for the liberal bias in the press, no one has been hauled off and imprisoned. No left-wing reporters have been disappeared, no news offices have been raided by the Trump Gestapo that we’ve been told is just around the corner in black masks and red MAGA hats, you know, the one that Rachel Maddow has been warning us about since November of 2016. There is a black masked bunch of fascists running around violently attempting to destroy free speech, but that would be Antifa, the militant arm of the left, not anyone employed by the White House. Grandstanding correspondent Jim Acosta did briefly stage a takeover of the White House briefing room, ironically denying some actual journalists a chance to ask the President questions. He did this whilst acting like a schmuck to a female intern who tried in vain to take back the mic to give it to someone more deserving. As a result, Acosta had to turn in his White House pass. Apparently, there’s a little-known clause in the First Amendment that gives reporters the absolute right to enter White House grounds and co-opt the daily briefing into their own private news show. Acosta got his pass back. His professionalism and self-respect are apparently things he was more prepared to do without.
American Exceptionalism. Howard Zinn wrote an influential book, loosely based on American history called A People’s History of the United States. Sadly, it is still required reading in many schools, though to say it has a distorted, jaded view of American history would be somewhat of an understatement. It can come as no surprise then that younger Americans have a distorted, jaded view of this country. Thankfully, the truth is that the United States true history is a little more commendable and worth celebrating. Yes, Virginia, It’s OK to love America. For one thing, you may have read somewhere, the following from an excellent American writer who will remain me: “We help people. Anytime there is a major catastrophe anywhere in the world, America offers aid. Be it after an earthquake in Haiti, tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, or hurricanes in the Caribbean, or any number of other disasters you can name, America is always one of the first countries to offer humanitarian assistance. We are also generous, The United States constantly rates high among all nations in charitable giving, both in terms of total dollar amounts and dollars per capita. Just google: ‘charitable giving by country’ and you’ll see.” Besides that, we invent cool stuff, win wars to free other people, put people on the moon, and are a bastion for religious, economic, and political freedom.
A Democratic Republic. Democrats bemoan the fact that we’re not a direct democracy, subject to what Alexis de Tocqueville referred to as the “tyranny of the majority”. He knew that very simply, the majority could vote themselves your property, your money, even your freedom. The Founders deliberately decided to go in another direction, the democratic republic with representative democracy. Our president is decided not by the popular vote but by the electoral college. Liberals would love to have our presidential election decided solely by America’s urban centers, but that would deprive our rural areas (you know, where most of our food comes from?) of any meaningful say in determining the president and vice president. Despite all the misgivings of the left, the midterm elections of 2018 gave wins to both parties, the Democrats have taken the House, as is customary during midterm elections, and the Republicans won a net gain in the Senate. We can have recounts and runoffs in some states, get through them, and continue on as a nation. Not every country can do that, we should be thankful for that.
Conservatives hold immense gratitude for those things our Founding Fathers gave us, and successive generations fought for and continued to perfect. No badly skewed history book, no narrative pushed by a biased press, no dubious ballot counts can sway us from the understanding that an imperfect America is far, far better and more worth showing thanks for than many on the left would have us believe. We know that the press is free. (At least that part of it outside of social media.) The fear-mongering on the part of some that suggest that there will be a violent crackdown on or state takeover of the news media is as laughable as it is ironic. The same left wing that controls much of the media also permits the abridgment of free speech on social media and on the college campus. We believe in and are subsequently thankful to live in the greatest country in the history of countries. We are a functioning, maybe not always smoothly so, but functioning democratic republic that balances the needs of the many with the needs of the few. Unlike other countries, ours has largely avoided a lot of the violence that accompanies elections in many other countries. We can attribute that to luck, but more likely, the wisdom of our forefathers had something to do with that. We are lucky to be part of the greatest country in history, we should acknowledge and be thankful for that.