Hey, 2010: We've made it this far, and that deserves a lot of thanksgiving.
Politics is part of how we got here. Part of the good. Part of the bad. Part of our American dream.
Part of politics we can be thankful for now is the SHUT UP factor.
Listen to your lives. Do you hear it?
Maybe not the sounds of silence
, because the shouting never stops in modern America. But now the volume of political shouting is dialed-down because our latest electoral brawl is over
-- except for random re-counts, court challenges, simple twists of fate
and Congress's "lame duck" soup
Now, driving home from work or to Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner -- "What do you mean there's no pumpkin pie?"
-- you can turn on your radio and go the whole ride without hearing VOTE FOR ME! or DON'T VOTE FOR HER! Maybe this holiday you'll hear that baby boomer tradition
called "Alice's Restaurant
" or that special football
And now after work -- if you're fortunate enough to have a job, let alone work that you love (Thank you! Thank you!
) -- after doing the dinner dishes and taking out the garbage and making sure the kids are alright
or at least as safe as you can steer them, if you've paid enough bills, you can stretch out on your bed or slump in your favorite chair, wand-on the TV without getting whacked by propaganda produced and paid for by phantoms who poured more than $100 million of "dark money"
into our recent election.
from those phantoms is something to be thankful for.
, that billionaire American icon out of Omaha who blows away clichés with his support of both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger
, grabbed headlines last week with his New York Times Thanksgiving essay
thanking "Uncle Sam" and the federal government, from President George W. Bush
to President Barack Obama
and from Congress to our bureaucrats for averting a catastrophic economic meltdown with bailouts and troubled assets relief programs, saying that "in this extraordinary emergency, you came through -- and the world would look far different now if you had not."
For the first time in almost 18 months -- since Uncle Sam spent $49.5 billion bailing out that crashing toward bankruptcy
iconic car company -- GM stock went on sale
and the company raised a record-breaking $20.1 billion. By selling about 43 percent of his GM salvation stock
-- stock the government bought to save the company from self-destruction -- Uncle Sam recovered around $11.8 billion for the U.S. Treasury. Uncle Sam's stock portfolio still holds about a third of GM's stock, but so far our investment payoff includes cash back. Thanks!
Admittedly, looking out the windows of your car, our American hometown still looks grim. There are fewer red-white-&-blue
draped coffins coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but one is too many. There are fewer terrorist attacks
in this land of ours, but one is too many. China and Walmart are vacuuming up dollars, but some Mom & Pop stores on Main Street are not whitewashing their windows or boarding-up their doors. There are a few more jobs than a while ago, but far fewer than we need tomorrow. Cholera jumped to Florida from Haiti, yet for all their costly problems, our government and medical infrastructures should keep us safe from a plague.
But don't let your holiday thanks be just a drive-by "it could be worse" sigh.
Be thankful for what "it" is.
We're still here.
Be thankful that Aung San Suu Kyi
can now take a walk outside her house in Burma, a victory of compassion and conviction that reminds all of us who believe in the politics of freedom that we walk in her footprints.
It's that belief muscle -- and how it moves our democracy -- that we should be thankful for this holiday. We should be thankful for the quiet acts of conscientious citizenship that bring life to "the American dream."
Our American dream is really millions of dreams from millions of us.
Dreams of walking with Aung, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, King. Dreams of being able to gather with more than four other people and not get an automatic Go to Jail card.
Dreams of being able to show the world what you can do, with laws there to help you knock it out of the park. Dreams spoken from your heart and your head without hearing the snap of handcuffs on your wrists.
Dreams of broken hearts and broken hopes but getting back up again.
Dreams of work you get and getting what you work for. Dreams of a roof over your head, lights that come on when the switch is thrown
, enough food, with a bite to spare, even if it's not a Thanksgiving feast as elaborate as many of us lucky ones will have: turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries -- and yes
, pumpkin pie.
America is dreams of having a doctor if Grandma undercooks the turkey.
Dreams of being able to walk down the street . . .
. . . without catching a bullet in your head.
Dreams of getting to hear great songs and read wild books and see blow your mind movies that aren't controlled by armies of scowling censors.
Dreams of laughing out loud and crying it out and keeping going.
Dreams of a fair chance.
Dreams of passionate kisses
and people who love us in spite of ourselves. Dreams of a good night's better sleep and a dawn worthy of a smile.
The dream is what keeps us going and lets us get anywhere worth being. The Semper fi
belief bought with blood, sweat and tears that out beyond our windshield, through the wasteland of existence, down that long lonesome road to history's horizon, this American dream might be The Promised Land
and just driving ever towards it means we're sort of there.
So say thanks today. Drive on. Drive safe, drive smart and true.
And thanks to you for being here.