An ambivalent journey down Thanksgiving lane

I’m thankful I live in a democracy, although I’m not too happy about how it’s going. Government should first and foremost be about protecting the poor and disenfranchised. Ours is about making the rich richer and hoping the poor disappear.

I’m thankful we have elections to choose our leaders. When a majority of people vote for you, you win. This is good. This is the will of the people. Let’s say we had a Presidential election, and 500,000 more people voted for one of the candidates over the other. That person would win, right? That’s how it’s happened 40 out of 42 times. I guess we should be thankful for that.

Freedom of religion. That’s something to be thankful for. You can be anything you want in this country. Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Wiccan. No one can hold it against you. Well, almost no one. A few people are ending up in jail nowadays, but it mainly has to do with them being foreigners. I’m thankful I’m white.

We should not be thankful for war, although some people seem to be. The defense industry makes billions; private companies, like Bechtel and Halliburton, get to rebuild entire countries; generals have an opportunity to earn additional stars; and our commander-in-chief gets to play soldier. And the public seems to love it all. At least that part of the public that doesn’t have to fight the war.

You can’t help but be thankful for the house you live in, the food you eat, the nice cashmere sweater you have to keep you warm, the Hummer you drive, the Rolex you wear, that trip to Rio. Thankfulness comes in many degrees.

I’m particularly thankful for turkeys. I like the smoked variety. I’ll never understand how they get them to stand around campfires for that long.

All things being equal, which of course they never are, Thanksgiving is a good time to stop and think about how grateful you should be. Hopefully, you’re not living in a cardboard box, over a storm sewer grate giving off a slight bit of heat, about ready to be beat by some cop whose orders are to get you out of sight so they can hold the Thanksgiving parade without having to see you on camera.

Now I know what you’re thinking: This guy can’t even let Thanksgiving alone. He has to Flub one of the nicest days of the year. I’m sorry to make you so uncomfortable, but this ain’t near as bad as you’re about to make yourself feel stuffing down all that food that could have been sent to some starving person in Bangladesh.