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Best of CoBiz: Eight reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving

John Heckers //November 26, 2013//

Best of CoBiz: Eight reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving

John Heckers //November 26, 2013//

It is once again the time of year when our minds and hearts turn toward the things for which we are grateful. In this economy, it is sometimes difficult to find those things. Here are a few of the things to be grateful for in today’s America.

1). Freedom of speech. Yes, there are many on the internet and in the media who use America’s freedom of speech to peddle lies. It’s getting so every time a politician opens his or her mouth, I have to hit Factcheck. They usually are lying about something. But this abuse is better than the other extreme, where a dictatorial government controls all discourse, and censors review all things. Certain political factions try to shout down messages from anyone with whom they do not agree. Fortunately, the American people see through this and tend to take a more moderate approach.

2). The mechanism for hope and change. We still have the mechanisms in place in this country to take our country back. Whether you’re a member of the Occupy Movement or the Tea Party, I think we can all agree that Washington and, very often, the state and municipal governments do NOT represent their people, but, rather, their own interests and those of their major campaign contributors. This need not be the case. We The People are the sovereign in this country, and we can do something about the corruption at all levels of our government.

3). The Social Safety Net. While some are trying to put holes in this net, it is still mostly intact. We do not have people starving in the streets (yet), as is the case in many other countries.

4). Generous and compassionate people. The vast majority of Americans want others taken care of and are willing to generously donate of time, treasures and talents to assure that happens. This holiday season, the only people who need go hungry are those who do not take advantage of the ubiquitous programs to make sure people are fed. I might also add that we who are blessed need to assure that these programs are well-endowed with food, in-kind donations, volunteers and money to keep up their essential work.

5). A free press. Reporters have the ability to ask politicians the hard questions and refuse to accept their “talking point” answers. We’ve seen a small amount of this in the recent Republican debates. We need much more of it. A free and probing press is the best guarantee we have that our Republic will continue to function, even with the widespread Washington and state corruption.

6). Freedom of religion. Both those who are religious and those who are not religious (and everyone in-between) are protected by the strong wall of the separation between Church and State. This separation is essential for both the religious and non-religious to avoid the persecutions and discriminations common in so many other countries.

7). Jobs. Though unemployment is still very high, there are jobs still being created out there. They may be harder to find and lower-paid, but they exist…albeit in insufficient quantity for everyone to obtain one. But it’s a start.

8). Our troops. Regardless of what you think of the various wars we are engaged in, we are blessed with brave men and women who have volunteered to put their lives and limbs on the line for us every day. No one drafted them. They knew the potential cost. We also can be thankful that they are under civilian and elected command. They are also, likely, the most honest and dedicated military force in the world. Thank you, America’s military, for being there for all of us.