2003-11-27 / This Week's Attitude

This Week’s

By Neil S. Friedman
This Week’s Attitude By Neil S. Friedman There’s Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

There’s Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

As Americans partake in the traditional Thanksgiving repast today with family and friends, how many of us think about how thankful they should be as they watch the gala Macy’s parade or one of the televised football games before sitting down for the meal?

This is a reminder of some things — great and small — for which to be thankful.

• We live in a country where freedoms are almost boundless. Despite recent restrictions — appropriate in most instances — launched after 9/11, we can still go almost anywhere, anytime we choose and with anyone we want.

• Though fewer than half of eligible voters participate in national elections, be thankful for that exceptional opportunity, which is not available to almost everyone else around the world. Though our system has its flaws, obvious after the last presidential election, next year there will be many important issues at stake. More Americans should engage in the process, so we don’t end up with a president chosen by the court instead of the people.

• Even when we disagree with government decisions or elected leaders, we essentially have the right to criticize and not be afraid of being harassed, jailed, tortured or killed for our opinion.

• When you awake to greet a new day, be thankful you and your loved ones have a roof over your head, ample food and employment to maintain those essential needs.

• Family and friends who love us and care enough to offer advice and comfort, especially in times of crisis, but share in times of joy.

• Good health and positive, regular check ups.

• An adequate number of volunteers in the armed forces to prevent initiating a new military draft that would alter the lives of millions of young men currently pursuing personal goals.

And here are several things I’d like to be thankful for a year from now.

• The discombobulated Democratic Party will emerge from next year’s primaries and convention with a candidate and an agenda that can sway voters to make George W. Bush a one-term president, like his daddy.

• The situation in Iraq, which is worse than it was last spring when President Bush prematurely de-clared the "mission accomplished," will be less perilous for American soldiers, as well as the population that lived for so long in fear under the ruthless Saddam Hussein.

• Worldwide terrorism will be less intimidating and not endanger commonplace events, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

• The federal government will ration homeland security funds more logically than the current one in which New York gets about $5 per person, while Wyoming’s share is $35 per person. When was the last time terrorists targeted that western state?

• The wealthiest country on Earth will somehow find a way to initiate national health insurance, which already exists in every other civilized nation.

• American politics will be less influenced by special interests and big business.

• Fans of the New York Yankees will still be celebrating the team’s latest World Series victory while other local professional sports teams will start looking like contenders rather than pathetic also-rans.

• Young, attractive pop stars will find wardrobes that don’t expose more skin than is necessary when they’re not performing.

• Justice, not public opinion or celebrity status, will prevail for alleged victims of Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson and Phil Spector.

• Major league baseball will apply suitable suspensions for ball players who test positive for steroid use, so those going to the pharmacist, instead of the gym, will not further contaminate established, hard-earned, well-deserved records.

• Reality television shows will have dwindled to a precious few and be replaced by programs that entertain, and occasionally illuminate, rather than give attractive, untalented wannabes — and even "Average Joes" — a chance to publicly make fools of themselves.

• That I’ll still have the ability to continue writing this column and there’ll be readers still looking forward to it each week.

A happy and a healthy Thanksgiving to all!

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