Things to be Thankful for That the Left Barely Acknowledges.

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 StatesSadly, 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.

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On the necessity of teaching the Constitution, civics in school.

The Constitution
Happy Constitution Day! Keep the Constitution alive by learning about it and teaching it to your kids.

A generation ago, civics classes used to be ubiquitous in public schools.  Now, as more and more schools teach for standardized tests, the study of the government and the Constitution has fallen by the wayside.  Many Millenials don’t even have a basic knowledge of the Constitution or of civics.  Often when asked, they can’t even name the three branches of government. This is a dangerous trend in this democratic republic we call the USA. For a republic to properly function, it is essential that we the people are aware of our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

If you have school-age children, do you know if their school has any sort of civics curriculum?  Celebrating Constitution Day is a great time to think about such things and take action with your local school board to recommend bringing back civics if it’s not being taught.  If it is, please take time to praise them for supporting civics and Constitutional studies.  You may find that along with music, art, and physical education, that civics could be on the chopping block due to budget cuts or greater emphasis on teaching for standardized tests.  Your speaking up could help innoculate wavering school board members from pressure to cut such valuable programs now and in the future.

If you don’t have kids, take some time to read our important founding documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  You are in charge of your own civics education.  If you have never read them before, or haven’t since you took civics in school, you might be surprised and enlightened by what’s in them.  There is also something about reading the actual, unfiltered texts that you can’t get by reading a book or hearing about them on TV. (Of course, no harm in doing both!) Arming yourself with this knowledge will help you fight for and protect your most sacred rights as an American.

It’s OK to Love America

The Flag of the U.S.A.

A recent Gallup poll shows that only 47% of those polled were “extremely proud” of their country. This is disturbing, but not surprising, given that public schools, colleges, and political leaders constantly talk down America. Students today are fed a version of history that accentuates the negative while downplaying or completely ignoring the positive. The Left tells us that conservatives are fascists while shutting down the free speech of others they don’t agree with. They fear that if a majority of Supreme Court justices actually follow the Constitution as written, a whole host of “rights” will disappear into thin air. They are unaware apparently of the irony of what they say, as the Constitution was written precisely to codify into law our rights. We live in a country where laws are fine if enforced by one president, but not another. Most of the lack of pride in America stems from a very skewed version of history, the malleable definition of certain words like fascist, racist, sexist, etc., and a near zero knowledge of civics. There are plenty of things that Americans can be proud of, things that paint a better, and indeed, a more accurate picture of America. The fact is, that Americans have many reasons to love their country. Listed here are just a few:

We beat the most powerful empire at the time, Britain through a combination of sheer determination, imagination, and just plain luck. The courage, valor, and determination of the American patriots should not be overlooked. Our Revolution could have been lost in so many ways, yet we pulled off the upset of the century. Read just about any book on the American Revolution and you’ll see just how amazing and improbable our victory actually was. Some, such as George Washington have even attributed our nation’s birth to divine providence.

We freed the slaves. Yes, unfortunately, we had them in the first place, but the matter of slavery was a contentious one since the founding of our republic. Slavery was abolished in Pennsylvania even before the Battle of Yorktown was fought. Though slavery lost support in the North early, it was only ended in the rest of the country at tremendous cost. Imagine a war that was not only the bloodiest in the nation’s history but one where all of the casualties were citizens of the same country. Imagine a war fought not over territory or religion, but over the freedom of people.

We invented stuff, lots of cool stuff. We invented a lot of things the world would have a lot of trouble getting along without. Basic stuff, like light bulbs, the telephone, wireless communication, the internet, zippers, the airplane. Nothing too important.

Your map looks the way it does mainly due to America. Once there were two German states, we helped get that number down to one and a rather ugly wall was torn down in the process. There is a Russia, but not a U.S.S.R., again, mainly thanks to us. We had some help of course, from leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, but it was the visionary leadership of a certain American president named Reagan that finally broke the stalemate. There are two Korea’s, one we kept free, a few countries that used to comprise Yugoslavia, and a few more that were either Soviet republics or vassal states. America’s influence has literally been global.

We helped win two world wars and the Cold War. Countries once former enemies are now either allies or important trading partners, or both. Hundreds of millions of people are free due to our willingness to sacrifice for their freedom. Millions more have a chance if they can resist the temptation to revert back to authoritarianism.

We sent a man to the moon. In fact, several of them. To date, the only human beings to ever walk on the moon have been American. Every single human being to take a selfie on the moon has been an American. Every single human being to ever drive a cool dune buggy on the moon has been an American. Every single human being ever to drive a golf ball on the moon, you guessed it– has been an American.

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. Were also generous, The United States consistently 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.

To hear it from some people, you’d think that America was a terrible place with a terrible history with few redeeming qualities. Some of their points are valid, but they do not give a balanced perspective on our nation. Our Founding Fathers were men of wisdom and courage who sacrificed much and were prepared to give even more, even their lives if necessary for us to gain our independence. That spirit of sacrifice, of putting liberty and freedom above our own lives and fortunes carries on to this day. No country has done more to further the cause of liberty than the United States. Our influence is global, literally, we’ve helped rewrite atlases, we’ve helped oppressive countries disappear and be replaced with more liberal ones. From freeing black Americans from slavery to freeing other nations from tyranny and oppression, America has always taken a lead role. We make and do cool stuff, like build the Panama Canal and send cars into space. We help the less fortunate in our own county and across the globe. Even when it comes to countries that we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with politically, we offer them help in their time of need. In short, there is an awful lot to be proud of if you’re an American. That doesn’t mean we ignore the bad, or not continue to correct injustices, it means that our positive contributions and achievements far outweigh the negative, and for that, we should be proud.